City Seeks Applicants for City Poet Laureate
The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division is accepting nominations from qualified applicants to become the City’s next West Hollywood City Poet Laureate. The poet selected for this distinction will hold the position from October 2020 to October 2022. This term will immediately follow the two-year term served by Charles Flowers.
The West Hollywood City Poet Laureate serves as the official ambassador of West Hollywood’s vibrant literary culture and leads the promotion of poetry in the City, including the City’s annual celebration of National Poetry Month. During the term, the City Poet Laureate will also create a new poem each year that commemorates the diversity and dynamism of West Hollywood. Interested poets are asked to self-nominate no later than 12 p.m., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Applications may be submitted here: https://form.jotform.com/200505601594953
Charles Flowers, West Hollywood’s current City Poet Laureate (serving since 2018) says: “What I have enjoyed most about being the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate is the opportunity to connect people with poetry, everyday people who don’t consider themselves poets or frequent readers of poetry. During this period of anxiety and fear (pandemic, racial injustice), poetry does provide solace, courage, and wisdom — pointing toward a path forward to a better future. I remain forever grateful that the City of West Hollywood provides such access to the arts, whether poetry, public art, or performances.”
During his term as West Hollywood City Poet Laureate, Flowers wrote poems that were included in the City’s annual holiday card and organized a WeHo Reads event celebrating poets from five different nations during National Poetry Month. Flowers also recorded short videos of himself reading poems that were posted on the City’s @WeHoArts social media channels as part of the City’s online #artfuldistancing presence during the Safer At Home COVID-19 order from Los Angeles County.
Kim Dower, the City of West Hollywood’s poet laureate prior to Charles Flowers (2016-2018) solicited lines from hundreds of West Hollywood’s community members and weaved those words together into two citywide collaborative poems: “West Hollywood is for Dreamers” and “I Sing The Body West Hollywood.” The latter poem was later turned into a five-minute animated video which incorporates the poem as narrated by Kim Dower; artwork by local artist Miguel Andrisani; and music from Derek Monteiro, Audiomoe, and Aaron Colbert. The video can be seen on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel at https://youtu.be/TP0aC2lvhPA.
Steven Reigns, West Hollywood’s inaugural City Poet Laureate (2014-2016) says: “I’m pleased to have been the very first poet laureate for the City, and happy to now be a part of the committee that will select the next. It’s a position that requires one to have a deep understanding of poetry and the ability to convey its importance. West Hollywood honors diversity, especially in its arts programming, and I look forward to seeing the ways in which the next City Poet Laureate will continue this tradition.”
The City Poet Laureate program is managed by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division, and the selection process is overseen by the interagency West Hollywood Library Cultural Programming Committee. Candidates wishing to apply should demonstrate excellence in artistic work and notable public recognition of such, as well as have significant ties to the West Hollywood community. The position includes an annual honorarium, and the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate is expected to:
- Enhance the presence and appreciation of poetry and the literary arts in the City of West Hollywood;
- Each year, create an original poem celebrating West Hollywood;
- Contribute to the annual West Hollywood National Poetry Month program by selecting two new poets to be honored on street pole banners;
- Organize a yearly panel discussion/reading/writing workshop as part of the City’s WeHo Reads program; and
- Present two additional writing workshops or poetry readings, which may be presented at a West Hollywood school, the West Hollywood Library, a City Council Meeting, or another City-sponsored event, such as the Russian Cultural Festival, the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, Women’s History Month, Disabilities Awareness Month, Black History Month, or any of the numerous other events that take place in the City each year. These programs would be pre-approved by the City’s Arts Division and may be presented online based on social (physical) distancing recommendations.
All requirements, criteria, and details regarding the City Poet Laureate position and application process are available by visiting https://form.jotform.com/200505601594953.
For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s City Poet Laureate program, please visit http://www.weho.org/residents/arts-and-culture/literary-arts/city-poet.
For more information about the City’s Poet Laureate program, please contact Mike Che, Arts Coordinator for the City of West Hollywood, at email@example.com or (323) 848-6377.
For reporters and members of the media seeking additional information about the City of West Hollywood, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Public Information Officer, Sheri A. Lunn, at (323) 848-6391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.