Pride Poets returning for fifth year

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The Pride Poets group is set to celebrate its fifth anniversary by returning to West Hollywood Pride, where artists will capture community stories through personalized poetry typed out on vintage typewriters.

This unique initiative not only champions the voices of LGBTQ+ writers by facilitating direct dialogue with the community but also combats the nationwide surge in book bans and censorship.

“Pride Poets gives the community a chance to connect and support these writers, and for the writers to serve their community directly and hear their stories,” said a group spokesperson.

Lambda Literary Award-winner Victor Yates, who first experienced Pride Poets as a participant, shared his transformative encounter with the group. “I stumbled across Pride Poets in 2019 and was blown away. It was this moment of literature, and honestly a break, in the middle of the Pride to get to sit down with a poet and have your own life turned into a poem and given back to you – I knew I had to be part of it the next year,” Yates said.

Since its inception, Pride Poets has involved over 200 poets who have crafted more than 3,000 poems. The initiative expanded its reach during the pandemic through a hotline, which provided a poetic touchpoint for over 500 callers during Pride weekend alone. Emotional reactions are a common response, with about one in every ten recipients moved to tears by the personalized verses.

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The project, originated by Brian Sonia-Wallace, who also founded the typewriter poetry company RENT Poet, has significantly impacted the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. Sonia-Wallace, a recent recipient of the 2024 Rainbow Key Award by the City of West Hollywood for his efforts, emphasizes the importance of this practice. “We write at a lot of straight weddings and corporate events,” Sonia-Wallace said, “so it’s been meaningful to bring this transformative practice back to my community.”

Pride Poets not only showcases established LGBTQ+ writers but also serves as an incubator for emerging talent, supporting their development in the literary and public spheres. The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Coordinator Mike Che commented on the program’s impact: “It’s rare that governmental art funders get to see firsthand the emotional impact of the projects they help bring to life. Throughout the last five years I’ve been blessed to have seen countless tears, hugs, and genuine smiles as a direct result of the amazing work of Pride Poets.”

The confirmed poets for the 2024 event include Priya Chatwani, Syd, Catherine Gewertz, Victor Yates, Jen Cheng, Jay Baldwin, Alexia Jasmene, Michael Narkunski, Timothy Nang, Tee, DW, Valerie, José Rios, Jeffrey McCray, Jair Bula, and Hank Henderson.

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BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
23 days ago

Read that billboard three times. Makes zero sense. If that’s what passes for poetry, more power to ya. Or should I say:
Power be to get beauty in life squirrels belong may the force be with apricots grow thinly scrumptious?

Nepotism alert
Nepotism alert
23 days ago

Erickson’s boyfriend might just as well be his speech writer. Word salad buffet, and we all pay for this.

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
24 days ago

Read that billboard three times. Makes zero sense. If that’s what passes for poetry, more power to ya. Or should I say:

Power be to get beauty in life squirrels belong may the force be with apricots grow thinly scrumptious?

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