Lawrence Welsh


El Paso, TX 79902

Author's Bio


            Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Lawrence Welsh lives in El Paso, Texas. A first generation Irish American and award-winning journalist and essayist, Welsh has published 12 books of poetry, including Begging for Vultures: New and Selected Poems, 1994-2009 (University of New Mexico Press).  Now in a second printing, this collection won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award.  It was also named a Notable Book by Southwest Books of the Year and a finalist for both the PEN Southwest Book Award and the Writers’ League of Texas Book Award.  In 2018, the University of New Mexico Press published Cutting the Wire: Photographs and Poetry from the U.S.-Mexico Border, a collaboration with Ray Gonzalez and Bruce Berman. This book was named a Southwest Book of the Year by the Pima County Library system in Arizona.     

            A winner of the Bardsong Press Celtic Voice Writing Award in Poetry and the 2017 Pen World magazine Montegrappa essay competition, Welsh is an English professor at El Paso Community College.  He’s also lectured, read and taught at a wide range of universities and institutions, including UCLA, New Mexico State University, the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Murray State University and the University College Cork in Ireland.  His journalism awards include the Society of Professional Journalists Bill Farr Reporting Award, the Copley Los Angeles Newspapers Award, The Jessie Steensma Endowment Scholarship, and the Women in Communications Endowment Award. 

            In 2011, Irish America magazine in New York City named him one of the “Top 100 Irish Americans” of the year.  In 1987, he received The Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi Outstanding Graduating Journalist Award from California State University, Long Beach.  In 1979, he co-founded The Alcoholics, the L.A. punk rock band.  As part of its Punk Archive Series, Sahlugg records of Los Angeles in 2017 released East of Sepulveda: 1979-1982, a retrospective of the band’s studio and live cuts.     


            Lawrence Welsh’s poetry, fiction, reviews, essays, as well as journalistic writings, have appeared in more than 200 national and regional magazines, journals, newspapers and anthologies, including Puerto del Sol, Hawaii Review, The Louisiana Review, Rio Grande Review, The Texas Observer, The Santa Fe New Mexican, The Irish Echo, Irish America, New Madrid Review, The Wormwood Review, Onthebus, Pearl, Poetry Now, Big Bridge, The Café Review, Nexus, Chiron Review, Poetry Motel, Main Street Rag, The Raven Chronicles, The Powhatan Review, Pitchfork and the Los Angeles Daily Breeze, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper where he spent five years as a reporter and staff writer in the 1980s.


Cutting the Wire: Photographs and Poetry from the U.S.-Mexico Border (with Ray Gonzalez and Bruce Berman) University of New Mexico Press, 2018

Pachuco Skull with Sombrero: Los Angeles, 1970, Unlikely Books, 2018

The Ballad of Slim Angel, Mouthfeel Press, 2017

Blood in the Mix (with John Macker), Lummox Press, 2015

Begging for Vultures: New and Selected Poems, 1994-2009, University of New Mexico Press, 2011 (second printing)

Lawrence Welsh Reads, Vox Audio, 2011 (CD)  

Carney Takedown, Unlikely Books, 2010

Todd Moore and Lawrence Welsh Read at Acequia Booksellers, Vox Audio, 2009 (CD)

Skull Highway, La Alameda Press, 2008

Walking Backwards to Santa Fe, Pitchfork Press, 2007

Believing in Bonfires, Pitchfork Press, 2003

New Shouts at Broken Dreams, Lummox Press, 2001

Rusted Steel and Bordertown Starts, Sundance Press, 1999

Lenny Bruce in El Paso, Non Compos Mentis Press, 1997   






Publications & Prizes

Begging for Vultures: New and Selected Poems (University of New Mexico Press, 2011)
Prizes won: 

New Mexico-Arizona Book Award,

Southwest Book of the Year Award,

PEN-Southwest Book Award Finalist,

Writers' League of Texas Book Award Finalist 

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Irish American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Los Angeles, CA
Raised in: 
Los Angeles, CA
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Jul 12, 2019