When Lory Bedikian was a girl, she sat under her parents’ orange tree in the backyard and collected flowers and took the leaves and blossoms and rolled them up like a poem. 

Poetry has been in her life since she was 8 and when she stepped in front of an audience for the first time, she was exhilarated.

“Any time I read, I’m exhilarated,” she said. “It’s my elixir. Any time I read, and I have people listening, I’m excited. I’m not being selfish with my words. I’m using it in service to something.”

An award-winning poet, Bedikian will perform as part of the Red Hen Press Poetry Hour, part of The Broad Stage at Home series on Facebook Live, “Finding Truths and Creating Art in Exile” at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 16. Visit facebook.com/thebroadstage and thebroadstage.org/athome for on-demand viewing.

“It’s fun and it’s going to be strange,” Bedikian said. “I’m going to be watching myself. My part is going to be prerecorded. They have the host and then people who are reading live and the video guests.”

This poetry hour will feature Iranian Award-winning playwrights Sholeh Wolpé and Nassim Soleimanpour, whose most recent play “NASSIM” will be performed in The Broad Stage 2020-21 season in April 2021, and acclaimed guest the French American Nathalie Handal born in Haiti to a Palestinian family from Lebanon.

The Armenian Bedikian will share readings and conversations on bridging the gap between perceptions and reality of cultural norms.

Bedikian earned her Bachelor of Arts from UCLA with an emphasis in creative writing and poetry. During her time at UCLA, she was twice nominated for the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Prize in poetry. She earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon, where she received the Dan Kimble First Year Teaching Award for poetry. Her manuscript has been selected several times as a finalist in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition and in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Competition. She has received grants from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial fund and from AFFMA: Arpa Film Foundation for Music & Art. She teaches poetry workshops in Los Angeles.

Her “The Book of Lamenting” won the 2010 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry. Her poems have been published in the Connecticut Review, Portland Review, Poetry International, Poet Lore and Heliotrope among other journals and have been included in “Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets.” Poets & Writers chose her work as a finalist for the 2010 California Writers Exchange Award.

Wolpé is the recipient of a 2014 PEN Heim, 2013 Midwest Book Award and 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation prize, as well as artist fellowship and residencies in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Australia and Switzerland. Her plays have been finalists and semifinalists at Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Centenary Stage Women Playwrights and Ashland New Plays Festival.

Wolpé was born in Tehran, Iran, and spent most of her teen years in Trinidad and the United Kingdom before settling in the United States.

Handal is the editor of the classic “The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology,” winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, and named one of the top 10 Feminist Books by The Guardian; and co-editor of the W.W. Norton anthology “Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond.”

Multidisciplinary theater maker Soleimanpour has seen his plays translated into 20 languages. Best known for “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” written to travel the world when he couldn’t, his work has been awarded the Dublin Fringe Festival Best New Performance, Summerworks Outstanding New Performance Text Award and The Arches Brick Award (Edinburgh Fringe) as well as picking up nominations for a Total Theatre and Brighton Fringe Pick of Edinburgh Award.

Red Hen Poetry Hour, part of The Broad Stage at Home series; “Finding Truths and Creating Art in Exile”
6 p.m. Thursday, July 16
thebroadstage.org/athome for on-demand viewing