GLENDALE—Glendale Library, Arts & Culture and the City of Glendale invite community members 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. The event will be held at the Brand Library Recital Hall on Saturday, July 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 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 the website or emailing email@example.com.
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.
Known as the “Jewel City,” Glendale is the fourth largest city of Los Angeles County. With a population of more than 200,000, Glendale is a thriving cosmopolitan city that is rich in history, culturally diverse, and offers nearly 50 public parks, and easy access to a municipal airport. It is the home to a vibrant business community, with major companies in healthcare, entertainment, manufacturing, retail, and banking.
Founded in 1907, the Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Department includes eight neighborhood libraries including the Brand Library & Art Center, a regional visual arts and music library and performance venue housed in the historic 1904 mansion of Glendale pioneer Leslie C. Brand, and the Central Library, a 93,000 square foot center for individuals and groups to convene, collaborate and create. The department also serves as the chief liaison to the Glendale Arts and Culture Commission which works to continually transform Glendale into an ever-evolving arts destination. Glendale Library Arts & Culture is supported in part through the efforts of the Glendale Library Arts & Culture Trust. For more information visit the website, or contact Library, Arts & Culture at 818-548-2021 or via email at LibraryInfo@glendaleca.gov.