collaboration IALA X h-pem | THE 2022 Young Armenian Poets Awards: Building Bridges “We all need a destination in which we might envision our work living.” In these words, Alan Semerdjian, Founder and Director of Young Armenian Poets Awards once again turns to h-pem to find an “authentic audience” for IALA’s (International Armenian Literary Alliance) annual awards. These are turbulent times! While the soul of our nation is in turmoil, IALA taps into young talent and invites them to self-reflect by posing existential questions that beg for answers: How can poetry serve as a bridge between Armenia and the over five million persons of full or partial Armenian ancestry living outside it today? What kinds of conversations might be necessary between Armenians and the world or across the diaspora itself? Straight insights are not easy to come by. Yet, it’s fascinating to see how the young awardees dig deep into the topic and bring their own unique perspectives laced with symbolism, fantasy, and elegy. Fraught with the conflicts we all mediate internally, they guide us with empathy, love, and the hope of renewal. Check out Semerdjian's whirling introduction to the 2022 YAPA below. Follow the links in the article for a hauntingly beautiful poetic conversation we would all desire, especially during this critical and somber time in our history.
feature Celebrating Armenian culture at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2018 has been the year to be Armenian. From a political revolution in April/May to a full Armenian village in the middle of the U.S. capital in June/July, to the upcoming Metropolitan Museum of Art’s (Met) exhibition on Armenian art in September, Armenianness has never been more in the spotlight. As the political discussion around immigrants grows increasingly hostile here, at home, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s decision to shine a light on Armenian heritage and culture this summer in our nation’s capital is a proud occasion for our community to showcase, as the President of Armenia calls it, “the cradle of civilization—after Africa.”