Throughout April, the City of West Hollywood will celebrate National Poetry Month with banners, events and a citywide collaborative poem weaved together West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Kim Dower from lines submitted by over 100 residents and visitors.
Beginning April 1 and continuing through the end of the month, there will be lamppost poetry banners on Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard. Two will feature lines of verse selected by Dower from celebrated authors Erica Jong and Richard Blanco (who was selected by President Barack Obama in 2012 to serve as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, joining the ranks of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, among others.) These banners will join a selection of poets honored in previous years by former West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Steven Reigns.
National Poetry Month Proclamation
Monday, April 3, 6:30pm
West Hollywood City Council Chambers
625 N. San Vicente Ave.
The occasion also marks the official release of the collaborative poem “I Sing the Body West Hollywood,” which Dower will read. She created the work by collecting lines from residents and visitors all around West Hollywood, in person at events and by pulling verse ideas dropped in suggestion boxes at City Hall and the West Hollywood Library. Woven together, the lines evoke West Hollywood’s landscape, landmarks, people, and joie de vivre, in an homage to Walt Whitman’s classic epic poem “I Sing the Body Electric.” Posters with the full text of “I Sing the Body West Hollywood” will be hung all over the City and distributed for free at the West Hollywood Library, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Book Soup, and City Hall.
"Sunset Strip Through the Eyes of Poets"
Thursday April 6, 7PM
West Hollywood Library
625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
Organized by Dower, the event is part of the City’s WeHo Arts programming “There’s Something Happening Here…On The Sunset Strip 1966,” marking the 50th anniversary of the Sunset Strip riots, and spotlighting the enduring influence of the music, culture, and activism, and revolution that shaped a generation. It will feature readings of both original poems and works by poets who wrote during a time that still captures our imagination. The line-up of prominent and award winning poets includes Laurel Ann Bogen, Elena Karina Byrne, Brendan Constantine, Yvonne Estrada, Bill Mohr, and Lynne Thompson. Guests may come early and a photography exhibit of music icons by legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz installed in the library (for more info: www.bit.ly/SunsetStrip66). Admission is free; please RSVP at: www.bit.ly/April6SunsetPoets.
1st Annual LA Get Down Festival: A Celebration of Hip Hop and Spoken Word
(Formerly known as InkSlam)
Tuesday, April 18 through Sunday, April 30
A new highlight of National Poetry Month is The First Annual LA Get Down Festival (formerly InkSlam), a celebration of Hip Hop and spoken word, sponsored by the City of West Hollywood through WeHo Arts. Presented by Greenway Arts Alliance in association with Da Poetry Lounge, it will take place April 18-30. For information on festival events and to purchase tickets: https://greenwayartsalliance.secure.force.com/ticket.
Kim Dower is West Hollywood’s second City Poet Laureate. Her tenure began in October 2016, and continues through October 2018. A West Hollywood resident for more than 30 years, she was born and raised in New York City and received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she has also taught. Her first collection of poetry, Air Kissing on Mars (Red Hen Press, 2010) was described by the Los Angeles Times as, “sensual and evocative . . . seamlessly combining humor and heartache.” The Pushcart-nominated Slice of Moon (Red Hen Press 2013), her second collection, was called, “unexpected and sublime,” by “O” magazine. Her third collection, Last Train to the Missing Planet (Red Hen Press, 2016) has been praised by Garrison Keillor, who’s featured her work multiple times on “The Writer’s Almanac.” Kim’s work has also appeared in Ted Kooser's “American Life in Poetry,” Barrow Street, Eclipse, Los Angeles Review, Ploughshares, and Rattle. She teaches workshops in the B.A. Program of Antioch University, Los Angeles.
For more info on the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate program, managed through the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts, please visit: http://bit.ly/wehocitypoet. If you have questions about the City Poet program or National Poetry Month in West Hollywood contact the program manager, Mike Che, at firstname.lastname@example.org.