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City Celebrates National Poetry Month in April

Post Date:March 20, 2019 4:26 PM

poetryThe City of West Hollywood will celebrate National Poetry Month in April with a variety of events and exhibitions honoring poets and poetry.

Throughout the month of April, the City of West Hollywood will honor living poets by featuring selections of their poetry on street pole banners along Santa Monica Boulevard. Currently there are 36 poets honored, and each year, the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate selects two additional poets to honor. This year’s honorees are Garrett Hongo and Robin Coste Lewis.

On Monday, April 1, 2019 at 6:30 p.m., the City Council of the City of West Hollywood will, at its regular meeting, issue a commemorative National Poetry Month proclamation, which will be received by West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Charles Flowers. The presentation will take place at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 7 p.m., as part of the City’s WeHo Reads series, there will be a poetry reading and conversation between Inaugural Poet for President Barack Obama Richard Blanco and former West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Kim Dower in the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The event celebrates the launch of two new poetry collections: Richard Blanco’s How to Love a Country and Kim Dower’s Sunbathing on Tyrone Power’s Grave. Richard Blanco is the youngest and the only openly gay and Latino poet to have read at a presidential inauguration. Kim Dower, who has been a West Hollywood resident for more than 30 years, was the City’s second City Poet Laureate and has published four poetry collections. Following the conversation, there will be a book-signing with books available for sale by Book Soup, and a reception hosted by the Friends of the West Hollywood Library. Admission is free. For more information and to RSVP: www.weho.org/wehoreads.

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 7 p.m., as part of the City’s WeHo Reads series, there will be a poetry reading entitled Lingua Franca in the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Inspired by Adrienne Rich’s Dream of a Common Language, West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Charles Flowers has curated a reading of international poetry by poets from Belgium, India, Iran, and Poland, among other countries. The event features poets Kazim Ali, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Elena Karina Byrne, Blas Falconer, Piotr Florczyck, and Vandana Khanna. Admission is free. Free parking is available in the adjacent five-story structure with validation at the event. A small reception will follow the event. Books by the poets will also be available for purchase. For more information and to RSVP: www.weho.org/wehoreads.

Also on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 7 p.m., in the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, the monthly Lambda Lit Book Club will read and discuss Midnight in a Perfect World by Collin Kelley. The book club is moderated by Steven Reigns, inaugural City of West Hollywood Poet Laureate. The West Hollywood Library is located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. Admission is free. For more information please visit www.lambdaliterary.org/book-clubs/lambda-lit-book-club.

With the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division, Greenway Arts Alliance will present the annual L.A. Get Down Festival on Fridays and Saturdays through the month of April. The festival is a celebration of hip hop and spoken word, presented in association with Da Poetry Lounge.  Most events are $10.  For tickets and more information, please visit http://greenwaycourttheatre.org/lagetdown2019.

The City of West Hollywood began its City Poet Laureate program in 2014, with each poet serving for two years. The City Poet Laureate serves as an ambassador of West Hollywood’s vibrant literary culture and leads the promotion of poetry in the City, including its annual celebration of National Poetry Month.             The City’s current City Poet Laureate, Charles Flowers, has lived in West Hollywood since 2010. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University, where he took his first poetry workshop with Mark Jarman and won the Academy of American Poets College Prize. He later worked with Garrett Hongo to receive his MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon. His poems have appeared in Puerto Del Sol, Barrow Street, Indiana Review, and Assaracus. He was the founder and editor of BLOOM, a journal for LGBT poetry, prose, and art, which Edmund White called “the most exciting new queer literary publication to emerge in years.” Over the course of ten issues, BLOOM published such poets as Adrienne Rich, Reginald Shepherd, Eileen Myles, Rafael Campo, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Mark Doty, and more than 150 other poets. Flowers has served as Associate Director of the Academy of American Poets, Executive Director of the Lambda Literary Foundation, Deputy Development Director at the ACLU of Southern California, and most recently as Deputy Director of Arts for LA, the regional arts advocacy organization. He resides in West Hollywood with his husband Konstantine and two literary dogs, Mr. Darcy and Ariel.

For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s National Poetry Month activities, please contact Mike Che, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, at (323) 848-6377 or mche@weho.org, or visit www.weho.org/arts. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496. For up-to-date news and events, follow the City of West Hollywood on social media @WeHoCity and sign up for news updates at www.weho.org/email.

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