Kentucky Avenue, Photo courtesy of James O’Gara

PAL’s Call for Poetry: The Results Are In

Arya Anoush Balian, “Notice Me”

Earlier this year, Performing Arts Luray issued a call for poetry. Each poem was sent to a panel of Page County residents as part of a blind judging. The first selection is “Notice Me” by 17-year-old Arya Anoush Balian In addition to writing poetry, Ms. Balian has been cast in nine operas with the Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Arya has sung in five languages (Armenian, English, French, German, and Italian) at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Sydney Opera House. She has also performed for PBS TV and Armenian Public TV and has sung the national anthem for the Washington Wizards, the Baltimore Orioles, and virtually for the New York Mets. Her goal is to make the arts accessible to her peers, so she serves as a student advisor on the Kennedy Center Youth Council and as Co-President of the National Opera Teens Advisory Committee. She is active in her Armenian community and feels strongly that even a single voice can make
a difference.

(Above) Arya Balian reads “Notice Me.” Her poem was selected by a panel of local judges, including Britnie Fitzwater, Audre King, Layne Vickers, and Alex White.

Watch for additional selections to be uploaded soon! To learn more about PAL’s call for poetry, including the other poets who were chosen as well as information about the judges, click here

(Above) Marina Stevenson reads “The Patron Saint of Bees.” 

Marina Stevenson, “The Patron Saint of Bees”

Marina Stevenson is a writer, educator, and naturalist with degrees from Brown University (Geology-Biology) and the University of Idaho (M.Ed., Environmental Education). Her writing spans multiple genres of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, but her first and most abiding literary love is epic fantasy. She was awarded the Francis Mason Harris ’26 Prize in Literary Arts for best novel, first place for micro-fiction from the Gotham Writers Workshop, and a gold key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, among other accolades. Her formal studies in science and environmental education, and her deep love of the natural world, inform her literary work. She is a citizen of the Appalachian bioregion.

(Above) Joy Lorien reads “My Heart’s Return.”

Joy Lorien moved to Page County in the 1970s. She lived in Jewell Hollow and raised three children in Ida.  She has published poetry in the chapbook Poetry from the Valley of Virginia. She considers poetry that universal medicine and a philosopher’s stone that transcends and transmutes. Poetry is her life’s most present companion. 

Kentucky Avenue, PAL Plaza, April 17:

Be There!

Kentucky Avenue will be jammin’ on the PAL Plaza on Saturday, April 17, so mark your calendars now! Tickets go on sale in March. Taking cues from the likes of Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Jack White, June Carter, and Johnny Cash, Kentucky Avenue wrangles the best that precedent can offer while weaving their own tapestry of Americana and alt-country threads. 

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