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 was inaugurated on October 17, 2016 at 6:30pm at the City Council Meeting and her term as City Poet Laureate will last for two years until October, 2018. She curates the City's celebration of National Poetry Month in April:

  • Kim created a collaborative poem called I Sing The Body West Hollywood by soliciting lines from people in West Hollywood. The finished poster is available here and printed versions are available for free at the West Hollywood Library, Plummer Park, West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and City Hall.

If you have questions about the West Hollywood City Poet program, you may contact the program manager, Mike Che at mche@weho.org.

Upcoming Program:

11-14-17 WeHo Reads Eventbrite (2) 

November 14, 2017, 7:00PM to 9:00PM:

WeHo Reads: Chris Kraus (I Love Dick, After Kathy Acker) and Kim Dower (West Hollywood City Poet Laureate)

625 N. San Vicente Blvd, 90069 (West Hollywood City Council Chambers) 

Join the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Reads program for an in-conversation event with Chris Kraus, acclaimed author of the best-selling novel, I Love Dick, and the intense, riveting biography, After Kathy Acker. Kraus joins West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Kim Dower, author of three collections of poetry, to discuss the influence poetry has had on her work, and how love, longing, and obsession continue to ignite her themes and interests. A peek-into-the-heart-view of being a writer and a part of a writing community, this lively, intimate, and candid conversation will fascinate readers and writers alike.  Bring your most gut-wrenching questions! The event will be followed by a book signing with books available for purchase onsite by Book Soup. Free admission, RSVP at: https://wehoreads-chriskraus.eventbrite.com

 

Past Programs:

April 6 Flyer_Page_1

For questions about the City Poet Laureate program, please contact the program administrator, Mike Che, mche@weho.org.

Kim's Poetry Samples, as featured on the Writer's Almanac: 

Learn more about Kim Dower in West Hollywood Magazine!

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.

Kim Dower

City Poet Laureate, West Hollywood

 Kim Dower - photo by Mary Ann Halpin

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.