Inspiration Through Verse

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp

Alan Semerdjian Named County’s 9th Poet Laureate

Being a poet laureate is a profound honor, a recognition of one’s contribution to the world of poetry. It involves promoting the art form, engaging the public with poetry, and often composing works for special occasions. The role bridges tradition and contemporary culture, celebrating the power of words to inspire and unite.

Alan Semerdjian (Rob Goldman)

Nassau County Poet Laureate Society recently installed writer/musician/educator Alan Semerdjian as its ninth poet laureate in a fitting ceremony and poetry reading at Farmingdale Public Library.

“It is an honor to serve and follow in a line of great poet laureates in the county,” Semerdjian said. “My hope is to use my experiences and connections as an educator to become a conduit between the various thriving poetry communities in the region and the students and teachers working with poetry in our schools.”

The poet laureate society does a lot of literary work throughout the county, running poetry contests for schools, doing poetry readings, teaching workshops about writing poetry.

Poetry captures the essence of human experience, expressing emotions and ideas that transcend time and place. Poetry fosters empathy, provokes thought, and offers solace. It celebrates language’s beauty and power, connecting us to our shared humanity and enriching our understanding of the world and ourselves.

“Our Nassau County poetry community is lucky to have such an innovative interdisciplinary artist affirmed as our next laureate,” Paula Curci, who has been serving as the Nassau County Poet Laureate for the past two years said. “I am so excited for Alan, and look forward to his tenure.”

Alan Semerdjian (Melissa Menake)

Semerdjian is an Armenian-American writer, a musician, and an educator.

“There is a close connection between songwriting and music and poetry,” he said. “I am learning that there are all of these terrific, small literary communities all over Nassau County; they are everywhere, it is interesting to see writing groups are thriving.”

Semerdjian’s recognitions include two Pushcart Prize nominations; a Frontier New Poets Award; poems in Poetry International, The Brooklyn Rail, Fence, Hanging Loose, and Mizna (forthcoming); and a tweet from Kim Kardashian that made his 2020 spoken word album The Serpent and The Crane (with guitarist/composer Aram Bajakian) viral for a day.

His poem “The Writing About It Again” was part of a short, animated film (An Armenian Triptych: Retracing Our Steps, made in collaboration with Bajakian and international visual artist Kevork Mourad) that won honors in several film festivals. Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Balakian has called his first full-length poetry collection, In the Architecture of Bone (GenPop Books, 2009), “well worth your reading.”

“I am going to try to make it a mission of mine, to connect the dots in the communities and bring people together through writing, to bring the writing work happening in the local communities to our schools,” Semerdjian said. “Poetry is everywhere, not just in academics, bring taught in schools and written professionally, there is amazing spoken word poetry being done in the streets.”

He said, poetry doesn’t have a demographic, but it does have a stereotype. People sometimes think of a poet as someone who is academic, bookish. People think a poem must rhyme or be created by someone who is academic or bookish. Everyone is a poet.

“Poetry means different things for different people; it is not just poetry written on a page, it can be hip hop, slang, inventive language,” Semerdjian said. “Poetry is a deeper conversation.”

Semerdjian has been teaching English in public schools for more than 25 years winning awards for his commitment to education while recording, releasing, and touring in support of several critically acclaimed collections of music across a range of genres. He is on the advisory board for the International Armenian Literary Alliance, through which he founded
and directs the Young Armenian Poets Awards.

Semerdjian lives in New Hyde Park with his partner and their son, Nico, and teaches English at Herricks High School.

His tenure as Nassau County’s 9th Poet Laureate lasts two years.

Visit www.ncplsociety.com to learn more about Nassau County Poet Laureate Society.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Recent News

Editor's Pick

x