|Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, CA
In 2021, Brian Sonia-Wallace was named an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. The fellowship will support the ongoing Pride Poets project from a small ensemble, which has created custom poems for the public at Pride celebrations for the past two years, to a year-round platform for the LGBTQIA+ literary community. Based in West Hollywood, Pride Poets will invite the community globally by treating poetry as the new gay bar—a community watering hole and space for connection and activism. This decentralized, virtual model places poetry at the center of community-building and includes a slate of digital-writing workshops, community events, advocacy and youth projects, conceptualized like nights at a gay bar to cater to different sub-communities and to foster connections within and between intersecting LGBTQIA+ identities. Using West Hollywood’s name recognition in the community, this project seeks to establish poetry as a way for the LGBTQIA+ community to connect virtually in quarantine and beyond.