May 21, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

West Hollywood Celebrates National Poetry Month with Vibrant Events

Tributes to Poetry and Events to Honor Poets Taking Place This Month

The City of West Hollywood is gearing up to celebrate National Poetry Month in April with an array of innovative events aimed at honoring poets and the art of poetry.

Throughout the month, West Hollywood will pay tribute to living poets by showcasing selections of their work on street pole banners along Santa Monica Boulevard. Currently, 49 poets are honored in this manner, with two additional poets selected each year by the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate. This year’s honorees are Shonda Buchanan and Mariano Zaro.

Shonda Buchanan, a distinguished author and scholar, boasts an impressive list of accolades, including a Pushcart Prize nomination and a fellowship from the USC Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. Her award-winning memoir, “Black Indian,” has garnered widespread acclaim for its exploration of identity and family history.

Mariano Zaro, author of six books of poetry, is renowned for his evocative verses that delve into themes of identity and belonging. In addition to his literary pursuits, Zaro has also made significant contributions to the promotion of poetry through his involvement in various projects and initiatives.

To kick off the month-long celebration, the City Council of West Hollywood issued a commemorative proclamation for National Poetry Month on Monday, April 1. This proclamation was presented to West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng during a City Council meeting, which will be broadcast on the City’s WeHoTV YouTube Channel.

In addition to the proclamation, several events are scheduled throughout April to engage the community in celebrating poetry. These include a book release party hosted by Women Who Submit, a Poetry Spa event at the West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center, and the WeHo Reads literary series, featuring a diverse lineup of poets and authors.

The WeHo Reads: Poetry Spa event promises to be a unique and immersive experience. Attendees will indulge in poetic “spa stations” such as Feng Shui Poetry and Poemaroma. The event will culminate in a sunset poetry reading featuring contributions from various poets, including West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Jen Cheng.

Furthermore, the community is invited to explore the Poetry Walk, a public art installation located on Santa Monica Boulevard. This temporary exhibit features poetry excerpts that reflect themes of absence and longing, inviting viewers to contemplate the unseen aspects of life.

National Poetry Month in West Hollywood serves as a testament to the city’s commitment to fostering a vibrant literary culture and promoting the arts within the community. For more information about National Poetry Month activities, interested individuals can contact Mike Che, the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator, at mche@weho.org or at (323) 848-6377.

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