Biography of Leo Briones
Poet biography- Leo Victor Briones
Leo Victor Briones was born in El Paso, Texas in 1963. His father came from a family of “mueblerias” or furniture makers who fled the Mexican Revolution for border town of El Paso. His mother’s family, first generation immigrants, but well established in the social circles of Northern Mexico, West Texas, and New Mexico. His grandmother’s second cousin was the lauded Mexican muralist, David Alfaro Siqueiros. Briones credits his blending of art and with social justice to this family lineage. “Siqueiros believed that any form of art should be available to all people — even the desperately poor. And that art should have a social conscience. I too believe that art should have a purpose whether for social change or spiritual transcendence, ” reflects Briones.
Briones was profoundly affected by the tumult into which he was born: the assassinations of the John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and the Vietnam War. His early intellectual influences were not writers but musicians: Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Neil Young and other socially conscious artists.
In high school, Briones met Walter Kelly, his English teacher who would become his lifelong mentor and editor. Through Kelly, he was introduced to the poetry of Dylan Thomas, T.S. Elliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda, Carl Sandburg, and Robinson Jeffers. These poets inspired Briones to begin writing at the age of fifteen. He wrote sporadically until he was in his early thirties. Then Briones wrote no poetry for nearly eight years.
In 2005 his best friend, actor, playwright, and community activist Quentin Drew passed away a victim of kidney cancer. The painful consequences of Drew’s illness and death awakened Briones once more to his love of verse. Mr. Briones reflects, “Q believed that everyone should pursue their art. Whether it was acting, theater, raising a family, or being a poet. Every time I write I do so in honor of his life and in that spirit.”
Today Mr. Briones studies under the tutelage of prominent poet and writing teacher Cathy Colman. Colman known by many as “the Muse”, for her celebrity client list, is the winner of the prestigious Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry,2001.
Mr. Briones’ debut book The Poet Remains was published in October of 2006. The Poet Remains a mixture of meditations, love poems and Beat poetry was well received and was highlighted at The Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word in Memphis, Tennessee. Subsequently Mr. Briones was invited to a poetry reading series across several states including venues in Columbia and Charleston, SC; and Savannah and Atlanta, GA. Leo Victor Briones has been honored as the featured poet at the famous Beyond Baroque in Venice California as well as other Spoken Word venues in the Los Angeles area.
Recently, Mr. Briones finished the manuscript for his second book of poems Postcards from the Apocalypse. The work deals with issues of the post, post, post Modern world from love to war and everything in-between.
Leo Victor Briones owns his own communications firm in Los Angeles, California. A single father he has two curious, engaging and strictly high maintenance sons; Andres 14 and Diego 11.
Leo Briones's Works:
The Poet Remains, EP Publishing 2007
Leo Briones Poems
The Church Of The Valentine
I. From the very distance of my soul fathomless like the sea but sad like the dry creek embedded between the desert's rolling dunes, I have risen here to place my light upon the bright and shining hill of the fertile peace and noble solitude of my finest days. And, here I stand.
To Think Of God
We have seen the potter’s tale hidden in the ashes of dying stars, dreamed of snow and sky and a land where the great scale pan
I Am China
I am the forty-two year father of five from Raleigh, North Carolina. I stand in the unemployment line in denim overalls and a white t-shirt—shrimp and grits dripping from textile free chin. I am Mao Zedong huddled among the farmers gathering wheat and rice as an act of vengeance. I descend from the well ridge of Jinggang Mountains one-million strong…over the hill and through the marble foyer of bourgeois arrogance, I have come to claim my ancient inheritance.
The Truth About Rock And Roll
I purposely slip into the state I call cave dwelling. Simplify by hiding behind the blue speaker on my desk. I conjure my inner renegades— The Who screams, “We won’t get fooled again.”
Darkness courts the moon and the day adores the sun. But the sound of the mad bard is a lunatic’s clamor in the wind
Elegy To A Kurdish Father
Elegy to a Kurdish father for Ekim Erdogan Alone in a green meadow I pray,
The Kingdom Of Heaven
You kept looking— at the coffee shop next to your cinnamon mocha, behind the flashing red light on your Blackberry, perhaps hidden in magic ink on one of your latest diplomas.
Weird Weather In Watts
You always said being poor was just a different way of looking at things— that the white libs and the red necks just never really understood— like the first time I asked,
I was born with a propensity to confess. I always felt
I cleaned until the windows sparkled, now everyone can see how blue the ocean is at Crystal Cove. I made sure the jardinero cut
A Blessing For Baby Love
She is the girl with hair two shades redder than a pecan pie. She is the girl with whom I want to yarn a twisting reverie of a lazy southern moon, slung flush on the horizon like a long and rising sun. It is late summer and the air is still sticky as an old swamp ghost. Frogs and crickets
La Passion De L'Apocalypse
"When you expect the world to end at any moment, you know there is no need to hurry. You take your time, you do your work well." ― Thomas Merton And then quick silver in the sky— he walked before those clouds. He could not catch them
Ode To Contradictions
The passion of nothingness, the mad convulsion of the first kiss, the fleece touch of making love, the chaos of peace,
Radio Free Russia
If there is such a thing as Glasnost for fingers pecking a column left headline or Perestroika for the beet farmer
The Kingdom Of Heaven
You kept looking—
at the coffee shop next to your cinnamon mocha,
behind the flashing red light on your Blackberry,
perhaps hidden in magic ink on one of your latest diplomas.
You asked Father about this mystery.
He grabbed your index finger and placed in the Eucharist chalice.
You got startled by the sensation of the cold red wine,
frustrated when Father wouldn’t tell you what it meant.