The City Poet Laureate highlights the City of West Hollywood through the literary arts and, over a period of time, creates a new body of literary work that commemorates the diversity and vibrancy of the City. She serves as an official ambassador of West Hollywood’s vibrant literary culture, promoting poetry in West Hollywood, stimulating the transformative impact of poetry in the local community, and creating excitement about the written word.
Kim Dower's term as City Poet Laureate will last for two years from October 2016 to 2018. Upcoming West Hollywood activities:
- Kim will read a new poem and be officially inaugurated on October 17 at 6:30pm at the City Council Meeting.
- Kim is creating a collaborative poem called I Sing The Body West Hollywood by soliciting lines from people in West Hollywood. You can encounter her at various locations around West Hollywood, or visit West Hollywood City Hall lobby or the main desk of the West Hollywood Library to participate.
- April 6, 7 pm, West Hollywood Library: As Far as You Can See... Sunset Strip through the Eyes of Poets is part of 'There's Something Happening Here...Sunset Strip 1966' (a celebration of the golden anniversary of the Sunset Strip riots and the era of the late 60s).
For questions about the City Poet Laureate program, please contact the program administrator, Mike Che, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim's Poetry Samples, as featured on the Writer's Almanac:
Ode to West Hollywood
La Brea pumped and loaded stretches its arms
across Route 66 its finger tips reaching into Beverly Hills
Because the Italian Cypress trees poke holes into the sky
and the flags are waving Eight Miles High
in the Hollywood Hills a man steps onto his balcony
looks out at the galaxy of lights jewels scattered below
like smiles on fire Ode to West Hollywood because
the boys on Santa Monica kiss with their mouths open
walk arm in arm wave at passing cars make us all feel alive
because the crosswalks may kill us yet because even when it sleeps
the Blue Whale is watching because we eat at Barney’s
because it’s there it’s where Jim Morrison’s throw up graces the bar
because the Whiskey is always the Whiskey the Roxy still rocks
Sunset Strip doesn’t care if we live or die Book Soup
gives us a place to hide the tattooed goddesses slow grind
inside The Palms where bougainvillea blooms into a fuchsia blaze
without asking questions and gas lamps line the streets whispering
our names so all us misfits can finally feel sane because grandmothers
at Plummer Park remind us of our own remind us of what we miss
back home because the city is young but has lived many lives
because “every single day someone tells us we have the best burgers in town,”
because my mother thought the firemen were hot because at dawn
everything can be forgot High in the Hollywood Hills a man embraces
our city his arms stretched pumped loaded the lights below
a feast of life dissolving the night and when he awakens
he hasn’t a clue why there are rose petals in his pocket.
City Poet Laureate, West Hollywood
Kim Dower, photographed by Mary Ann Halpin.
Kim (Freilich) Dower, a West Hollywood resident for over 30 years, was born and raised in New York City and received a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she also taught. Her first collection of poetry, Air Kissing on Mars, (Red Hen Press, 2010) was on the Poetry Foundation’s Contemporary Best Sellers list, and was described by the Los Angeles Times as, “sensual and evocative . . . seamlessly combining humor and heartache.” Slice of Moon, her second collection, (Red Hen Press, 2013), nominated for a Pushcart, was called, “unexpected and sublime,” by “O” magazine, and her third collection, Last Train to the Missing Planet (Red Hen Press, 2016) has been praised by our Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco, as well as by Garrison Keillor, who has featured her work several 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. Her poems are included in several anthologies including, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, published by The Pacific Coast Poetry Series, an imprint of Beyond Baroque Books and Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts in Los Angeles, published by Tia Chucha Press. She teaches workshops called Poetry and Dreaming and Poetry and Memory in the B.A. Program of Antioch University, Los Angeles. Kim is also a literary publicist whose company, Kim-from-L.A. Literary and Media Services, creates media campaigns for authors and publishers. www.kimdowerpoetry.com.