The city of West Hollywood is celebrating National Poetry Month throughout April and honoring living poets by displaying street pole banners along Santa Monica Boulevard, which will feature selections of their poetry. Currently there are 17 poets honored. The West Hollywood City Poet Laureate selects two additional poets to honor each year. This year’s new honorees are Kate Gale and Elena Karina Byrne.
Also, during the entire month of April, the marquee of the Coast Playhouse will feature poetry from City Poet Laureate Kim Dower.
City Council of the City of West Hollywood issued a commemorative National Poetry Month proclamation at a city council meeting on Monday, April 2.
West Hollywood City Poet Laureate, Kim Dower, read the new poem West Hollywood is for Dreamers:
West Hollywood is for Dreamers
West Hollywood is a rainbow octopus that knows how to sneak
out of its tank, a hummingbird beating its wings in our hearts,
a chartreuse polka dot gorilla, posh pink poodle in a diamond collar,
a lilac cloud filled with electric energy, an eagle, Arabian horse, coyote.
She dreamed she saw a ladybug walking a parrot, he dreamed he saw
a parade of love on the street in West Hollywood.
West Hollywood vibrates orange, gold, black, white, silver, grey,
turquoise jelly thigh raccoon’s belly, red-crowned rooster, ballerina,
rainbow squirrel, Chihuahua, collie in ruby heels, kaleidoscope,
chameleon changing through the years, she dreamed she saw a princess
rescued from a pirate ship, he once saw a chain-smoking angel
on the street in West Hollywood.
Once he dreamed the world was yellow, he was a million miles tall.
She dreamed she was in a flock of birds embracing the sky, a ship on the ocean,
living in a world without guns, a black jaguar with bright green eyes decked out
in leather and spikes – beautiful by day – fantastic by night, a peacock whose tail
unfurled in the light. We once saw a vampire driving a Cadillac on the street in West Hollywood.
West Hollywood is a French bulldog on a Broadway stage, a peasant, porn star, panther,
sunset strip haze, an alien in a red hoodie, three-legged jabberwocky, she dreamed
she was someone else on the street in West Hollywood. He dreamed of a man
in a pink tutu riding his bike, saw an orange fox escape out of sight, sperm whale,
hysterical giraffe, vermillion cockapoo, fabulous mixed-breed rainbow colored rescue.
We see everything on the street in West Hollywood.
He dreamed of spear fishing on a reef in Tonga, dreamed he awoke in a car
that no one was driving, she dreamed of a rainbow hugging the sky, watched it touch
down, melt in her eye, we dreamed we saw a genie granting wishes for those in need,
in our city where more life matters, where they say we are dreamers
but we’re not the only ones – look there! – it’s your soul mate
on the street in West Hollywood.
As part of the City’s annual Poetry Month commemoration, Dower collected answers to prompts from 88 community members in West Hollywood; from this she weaved together a collaborative poem. The poem is available online. Printed posters are available by contacting the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, Mike Che, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year’s Kim Dower poem, I Sing the Body West Hollywood, was the inspiration for a public art project I SEE YOU WeHo by West Hollywood artist Miguel Andrisani, also known as Migs. He illustrated three large banners with imagery from that poem. The triptych has recently been installed and is now on display at the West Hollywood City Hall Community Plaza, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard.
The Greenway Arts Alliance, in association with Da Poetry Lounge, will present L.A. Get Down Festival, a celebration of hip-hop and the spoken word. The festival is supported by a grant from the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts program. There will be programming every weekend in April. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Greenway Court Theatre website.
On Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 7 p.m., in the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, the monthly Lambda Lit Book Club will read and discuss David Trinidad’s Notes on a Past Life. The book club is moderated by Steven Reigns, former 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 the Lambda Literary Book Club website.
On Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 7 p.m., as part of the City’s WeHo Reads series, there will be a poetry reading of Route 66 Through the Eyes of Poets at the West Hollywood Library. Participating poets include Laurel Ann Bogen, Elena Karina Byrne, Brendan Constantine, Yvonne Estrada, Bill Mohr, and Lynne Thompson. Admission is free. For more information and to RSVP please visit the WeHo Reads web page at www.weho.org/wehoreads.
The City of West Hollywood began its City Poet Laureate program in 2014. The City’s current Poet Laureate, Kim Dower, has been a West Hollywood resident for more than 30 years. She received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she also taught. She has published three poetry collections (Ren Hen Press): Air Kissing on Mars (2010); Slice of Moon (2013); and Last Train to the Missing Planet (2016); and her poems are included in several anthologies. She teaches workshops called Poetry and Dreaming and Poetry and Memory in the B.A. Program at Antioch University in Los Angeles.
For additional information, please visit the City of West Hollywood’s City Poet Laureate program web page. weho.org/residents/weho-arts-and-culture/literary-arts/city-poet/city-poet-kim-dower