GLENDALE  — Glendale Library, Arts & Culture and the City of Glendale invite you to join Glendale’s Poet Laureate, Raffi Joe Wartanian at his first of four community poetry workshops. The first workshop and reading, title, “Unearthing Roots: the heritages we herald and hide “, is free and open to all levels, it will be held at the Brand Library Recital Hall on Saturday, July 22nd from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. The workshop will feature Lynne Thompson (Los Angeles Poet Laureate) & Linda Ravenswood (The Los Angeles Press), and activities will include writing, reading, workshopping, performance, and discovery, light refreshments.

Additional poetry workshops and readings will be held quarterly around Glendale throughout the year. If you have poetry or creative collaboration ideas that you would like to submit to Glendale’s Poet Laureate, you can do so by visiting or emailing [email protected].

Raffi Joe Wartanian is the City of Glendale’s first Poet Laureate. The position serves as an ambassador for Glendale’s rich culture and diversity, promoting the art of poetry. As Poet Laureate, Wartanian will develop a project that engages community members of all ages in poetry writing, performance, and poetry appreciation; write a poem that celebrates Glendale’s rich culture and diversity; and read poetry aloud at special events throughout the City.

Following a grassroots call from a citizen of Glendale, the request of Mayor Ardy Kassakhian, and the approval of the City Council, Glendale Library, Arts & Culture created the City’s first Poet Laureate program and requested applications from resident poets. The selection panel was comprised of Arts & Culture Commissioner Sevana Zadorian, Los Angeles Poet Laureate Lynne Thompson, Poet and Founder of The Los Angeles Press Linda Ravenswood, and Poet and Instructor at Glendale Community College Julie Gamberg.

Raffi Joe Wartanian was selected as Glendale’s first Poet Laureate in recognition of his accomplishments in poetry and his vision for the “Glendale Poet Laureate as someone who can utilize writing to promote self-expression, find common ground across communities, and foster solidarity that celebrates diversity while embracing individuality.” His poems have appeared in No Dear Magazine, h-pem, Ararat Magazine, Armenian Poetry Project, and The Armenian Weekly and performed live with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and International Armenian Literary Alliance. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Outside Magazine, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Baltimore Sun, Miami Herald, and elsewhere. His hybrid piece “A Letter to My Great-Grandson” is forthcoming in the anthology “We Are All Armenian: Voices from the Diaspora” (University of Texas Press, March 2023). Raffi currently teaches writing with UCLA Writing Programs, and his work has received grant and fellowship support from the Fulbright Program, Humanity in Action, and the Eurasia Partnership Foundation. In 2017, Raffi collaborated with Abril Books, the Lakota People’s Law Project, and In His Shoes to launch Days of Solidarity: Celebrating Armenian and Native American Survival, a multi-day performance and workshop that united Armenians and indigenous American tribes in Glendale. Raffi currently serves on the advisory board of the International Armenian Literary Alliance and advises the Tumanyan International Storytelling Festival.

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