Local News West Hollywood

City taking applications for next poet laureate

WEST HOLLYWOOD — The city’s arts division is accepting nominations from qualified applicants to become the city’s next poet laureate. 

The poet selected for this distinction will hold the position for two years starting in October. The new poet laureate will follow Charles Flowers. 

The West Hollywood poet laureate serves as the official ambassador of West Hollywood’s 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 poet laureate will create a new poem each year that commemorates the diversity and dynamism of the city. Interested poets are asked to submit applications by noon July 14 at https://form.jotform.com/200505601594953 

“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,” said Flowers, who has served in his capacity since October 2018. “During this period of anxiety and fear, poetry does provide solace, courage, and wisdom — pointing toward a path forward to a better future.”

During his term, 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 social media channels as part of the City’s online presence during the Safer At Home COVID-19 order from Los Angeles County.   

Kim Dower, the city poet laureate prior to 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 Dower with artwork by local artist Miguel Andrisani; and music from Derek Monteiro, Audiomoe, and Aaron Colbert.

The poet laureate 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.

For more information, contact Mike Che, city arts coordinator, at (323) 848-6377. 

Independent Staff Report