Saturday, October 24, 2020

Յովհաննէս Ասպետ: ՀԱՅ ԶԻՆՈՒՈՐԻՆ ՆԱՄԱԿԸ

Սգաւոր այրին, իր փոքր երախան գրկին, 
սեւ զգեստներուն մէջ կու լար իր սիրականին, 
որ զոհաբերած էր իր կեանքը հայրենիքին։ 
Երախտապարտութիւն՝ ամեն մի հայի պարտքն է, 
պատերազմի դաշտին վրայ ինկող ամէն մի հայ զինուորին առջեւ։
Յովհաննէս Ասպետ



ՀԱՅ ԶԻՆՈՒՈՐԻՆ ՆԱՄԱԿԸ

Հայրենիքի զինուորին մաղթանքն էր.
Սիրելի՛ս մեր սիրոյ օճախը ջերմ պահէ,
Հպա՛րտ եղիր այս փաոաւոր օրերուն։
Մենք բերինք յաղթանակ ու փառք՝
Մեր կեանքի զոհաբերումով,
Մեր ազգի պատիւը փրկելով։
Կռուի դաշտին վրայ մենք ինկանք գետին 
Մահացու վէրքերով.
Մենք կամաւոր եկանք կռուելու,
Երկինք ինձ կանչեց իր մօտ՝ 
Դեռ չապրած նուիրեալ ապագաև։
Կենաց մահու պայքարին մէջ,
Նուիրեցինք մեր անձը՝ նահատակ,
Քեզի՝ մեր անմահ հայրենիք,
Մենք որ արհամարհեցինք մահը 
Վասն հայրենիքի սիրոյն,
Դո՛ւք, մեր ընկերներ, ամո՛ւր պահեցէք մեր դիրքերը։

Մնա՛ք բարով, սիրելի՛ք, մենք կ՛երթանք անդարձ,
Իսկ դուք ապրեցէ՛ք պանծալի կեանք։
Մեր արիւնոտ պատմութեան էջերուն,
Մեր ինկած ընկերներու անունները՝ 
Կրանիտէ քարի վրայ պիտի գրանցուին.
Մեր գոյատեւման պայքարին,
Մենք բերինք մեր բաժինը՝ յաղթապանծ.
Զմեզ միշտ պիտի ռգեկոչեն 
Սերունդներ շարունակ։
Ո՜վ իմ սգաւոր սիրելիս, մի տխրիր 
Առանձնութեան օրերուդ մէջ.
Մեր սիրոյ երախան պահէ՛ ջերմասուն.
Մեր հայերինքը թող ապրի դարէ դար,
Մեր փառք ու պատիւը պահէ յաղթահար։

Յովհաննէս Ասպետ

Սոյն բանաստեղծութիւնը քաղուած է «Կրակ ու Մոխիր-ի» գրկոյքի էջերէն

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Don't Look Away: A Literary Series for Artsakh continues Saturday October 17, 2020

Please join the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA) on Saturday, October 17th at 3:00 PM Eastern for the next installment of Don't Look Away, a literary series raising awareness and funds for #Artsakh, featuring Arthur Kayzakian, Lola Koundakjian, Mashinka F. Hakopian, Armen Davoudian, Nairi Hakhverdi, Alene Terzian and Alan Semerdjian.

Click here to register: http://bit.ly/ArtsakhSeries2






Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Don't Look Away: A Literary Series for Artsakh




Dear friends and colleagues,

On September 27th, Azerbaijan, directly aided by Turkey, launched a massive assault on Nagorno Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian territory known to Armenians as Artsakh. Since then, both Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia have been under attack. Artsakh’s capital, Stepanakert, has been relentlessly bombarded by drones, missile strikes and military aircraft. Azerbaijan is targeting not only military forces but also the civilian population and vital infrastructure like hospitals and schools, and evidence shows they have used lethal cluster munitions, which can wreak havoc for decades. In July, Erdogan promised ‘to fulfill the mission our grandfathers have carried out for centuries in the Caucasus,’ a statement with clear echoes of the Armenian Genocide. Armenians fear this assault is an attack on our existence as a people, and we need your help.

On behalf of the International Armenian Literary Alliance, I invite you to the first reading in our series, Don't Look Away, which will raise funds and awareness for Artsakh. The reading will provide context on the conflict and feature award-winning authors Peter Balakian, Carolyn Forché, Nancy Kricorian, Anna Turcotte and Lory Bedikian.


When: Saturday, October 10th at 3 pm Eastern
Click here to join us on Zoom (Password: IALA2020)


Click here to donate to the cause.


Thank you for your support.--

Olivia Katrandjian
www.oliviakatrandjian.com

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Վաչէ Տէմիրճեան։ Մեր աշունը

աշուն է Փարիզ

աշուն է հոգիս
ոսկեգոյն տերեւներ
հանդարտ կը ծփծփան
կը թափին
ասդին անդին
մայթերը ծածկելով
աշնանային գոյներով
անարեւ երկինքէն
անձրեւը կը մաղի կաթիլ կաթիլ
ուշադիր նետէ քայլերդ
որպէսզի չսահիս
աշուն է Արցախ
աշուն է հոգիս
մետաղեայ տերեւներ
վայրագ կը թրթռան
ու կը տեղան
ամէն կողմէ
մայթերը ծակծկելով
կարմիր վէրքերով
անարեւ երկինքէն
ռումբերը կը տեղան անդադար
ուշադիր նետէ քայլերդ
որպէսզի չի փլուզուիս
աշուն է Արցախ
աշուն է հոգիս
մուս-մութ է
ամէն կողմ
աջ ու ձախ
կրակ ու բոց
շուներ կատղած
հասան սարէն ու ձորէն
ռումբերուն ձայներուն հետ
կը ոռնան մինչեւ ուշ գիշեր
աշուն է հոգիս
գիշերները քուն չունիս
մառանի մէջ պահուըտած
անօթի ծարաւ կը մնաս
սառած բայց ոչ մարած
դուն քեզի կը փսփսաս
մոմի լոյսին տակ կ՛աղօթես
մութին մէջ Աստուած կը փնտռես
աշուն է Արցախ
վա՜խ Աստուած վա՜խ
շուները հաչելով
պոչերն կախ ի վերջոյ կը փախին
վերադառձան ճեհենեմ
փա՜ռք Աստուծոյ
ամէն
վաչէ
2/10/20
սէն-մորիս
չի-մեռնիս

Monday, October 05, 2020

Alan Whitehorn: The Battle of Vank

 

May 24 - August 22, 2005


The Battle of Vank

Well off the main highway travelling North in Nagorno Karabagh,
on the way to the monastery at Gandzasar,
we travel a country dirt road for many miles.
In contrast, the fields are lush green,
with grazing sheep, horses and foals.
We admire the mountain view.
We pass the occasional hut but little else.
Suddenly, I observe the sight of rusted metal.
We quickly pass by four destroyed armored personnel vehicles.
They have formed a column of death.
It is a grim reminder of the bitter war for independence.
The hydro sub-station, now intact,
was no doubt the primary target a decade ago.
I did not dare take a photo.
This a regime under siege and martial law.
And I am a civilian foreigner,
just passing through.
But what happened to the crew?
Someone surely knew.
Many probably died that day,
 that is all I can say.

I am a civilian foreigner,
just passing through.
Many probably died that day,
 that is all I can say

I am a civilian foreigner,
just passing through.


The poem was appears in Ancestral Voices: Identity, Ethnic Roots and a Genocide Remembered (Winnipeg, Hybrid Publishing, 2007).

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Gregory Djanikian reads from his work (via Zoom) October 4, 2020 POSTPONED

Due to technical issues, this reading was postponed. 













Gregory Djanikian, poet and professor, will be reading from his new book, Sojourners of the In-Between, sponsored by the Katonah Poetry Series, on Sunday, October, 4th, 4:00 PM. with a special introduction by former U. S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins

Here is the link: http://katonahpoetry.com

Of Djanikian's most recent book, Sojourners of the In-Between, Lawrence Raab writes: "One of the most striking features of Djanikian's lithe and vigorous poems is their refusal to be glum. They don't ignore grief, they just keep surprising themselves into wonder, then praise - how grateful we might feel for 'this everything / of being alive together.' Funny, sad, lyrical, meditative - sometimes all at once - these poems happily reveal the many different kinds of truths the world offers."

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, of Armenian parentage, Djanikian came to the US at the age of eight after his family's livelihood was lost in the tumult of political change. A graduate of the Syracuse University writing program, Djanikian was the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Pennsylvania for many years. In honor of his dedication to his students, the Gregory Djanikian Scholars Program has been established in his name. Djianikian lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife, artist Alysa Bennett.

In his recent interview with KPS's Ann van Buren, Djanikian expresses the hope that people "find the sense of joy about life that the poems present." Djanikian is the author of seven collections of poetry and is the recipient of many awards and prizes. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The American Scholar, Boulevard, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies.

Zoom will open at 3:45 p.m. for the reading, which begins at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 4th, 2020. An audience Q&A follows. The Zoom link is posted here: https://tinyurl.com/djanikian.

Suggested donation is $5 for adults, students free. We appreciate your donations of any amount; they enable us to pay our poets as they deserve.

You can donate via PayPal: http://katonahpoetry.com/donations/ See Less

There are no winners in war and no losers in peace

Lola Koundakjian, Curator and Producer, of the Armenian Poetry Project , sent a message to various international poetry festivals including Casa della poesia (Italy), The International Poetry Festival (Medellin, Colombia), FESTIVAL MUNDIAL DE LA PALABRA Worldfest, Poesía en la Escuela (Argentina), Internationales Literaturfestival (Berlin, Germany) and World Poetry Movement, condemning the war against Armenia. 


Dear Friends in Poetry:


It saddens me to share these news, yet there is no escape from political reality.

I call onto you, to share with our community of poet friends and colleagues a call of action, protests and readings to bring to the world's attention this unjust war.

I share below the press statement of Garo Paylan, a Member of the Turkish parliament. There are no winners in war and no losers in peace, a moto we can cherish for years to come.

Many thanks

Lola Koundakjian, New York, NY





Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Thursday, September 10, 2020

ԼՕԼԱ ԳՈՒՆՏԱՔՃԵԱՆ։ Նիւ Եորքի փապուղիները

Click here for the audio clip

Բոլո՛րս, ամե՛ն կենդանի էութիւն, միմիայն ոգիներ, ոչինչի ստուերներ չե՞նք:
Ոդիսեւս
(Սոփոկլես, «Այաքս»)

Երկար են Նիւ Եորքի փապուղիները,
Երկար են ու աղմկոտ,
Երբ ամեն առտու, երբեմն ամեն իրիկուն,
Կը քալեմ իր ստորերկրեայ շաւիղներէն։
Աղմկոտ են Նիւ Եորքի փապուղիները,
Աղմկոտ են ու գարշահոտ,
Բայց ամեն առտու, երբեմն ամեն իրիկուն,
Կը քալեմ ոլորուած ուղիներէն։
Ո՞ւր են գաղտնի անցքերը,
Սենեակներն ու խուցերը։
Ո՞ւր են հսկայական միջանցքները,
Անհաւանական անկիւններն ու թակարդները։
Միմիայն երեւակայութեանս մէ՞ջ։
Հոս կը տեսնեմ տասնեակ մը
անտունիներ՝
Ձմեռը աւելի։
Հոն կը բարեւեմ կայարանին աշխատաւորները,
Գնացքները ու գետինը աւլողները,
Մէզի հոտերը ու փսխունքները սրբողները
Ձմե՛ռը շա՜տ աւելի.
Հոս կը մտածեմ թէ օր մը
պիտի հանդիպի՞մ Օրփէոսին եւ Էվրիդիկէին
Ու կը փնտրեմ զիրենք
Ամեն եկող-գացողներուն մէջ,
Ամեն առտու, երբեմն ամեն իրիկուն։
Կ՚երեւակայեմ թէ այս անգամ
Էվրիդիկէ օթոյի արկածով մահացած
Օրփէոս՝ անհեթեթ
աշխարհի մէջ կը փնտռէ իր սիրելին,
ու ինծի պէս կը քալէ
Նիւ Եորքի փապուղիներուն մէջ,
կոյրի մը պէս, ճերմակ գաւազանի մը հետ
զննելով ամեն գաղտնի ուղիները,
սենեակներն ու խուցերը։
Յուսալով թէ կա՛ն հսկայական միջանցքներ,
անհաւանական անկիւններ բայց քիչ թակարդներ։
Օրփէոս միմիայն իր յոյսերուն մէջ,
կրկին կը տեսնէ Էվրիդիկէն
հարսի հագուստը հագած
հեռուէն մօտենալը
հարսանեկան փունջ մը ծաղիկը
ու ժպիտը։
Բայց այսօր՝ առանձին եմ
Նիւ Եորքի փապուղիներուն մէջ
ինչպէս ամեն առտու,
երբեմն ալ ամեն իրիկուն։


ԼՕԼԱ ԳՈՒՆՏԱՔՃԵԱՆ
Նիւ Եորք


Լոյս տեսած է Հորիզոն գրական թերթին մէջ։ 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

ALAN SEMERDJIAN: THE POLITICS

So many voices in the room
all missing each other

like a laser beam circus
or the part in the movie

where the thief needs
to infiltrate the stash’s safe

or get the remaining pearls
but the zig zag of red

lines is in the way (he mustn’t
touch the line in his routine

or else all hell will break
loose in the form of sirens

and bells, cutaways and fades
to possibly a sprinkler

system about to go off as well);
we are those obliqued lines

in hot pursuit of anything
but each other, too electric

to touch or embrace for long
or extend the figure of a

shoulder out for a head to lay
on, to cry on, and/or while

the thief steps over us—too
easily, now that we think about

it—and gets to what he must,
inevitably, get to, which is,

of course, whatever is behind
that goddamn unforsaken door.


From As It Ought to Be online magazine


About the Author: Award-winning writer, musician, and educator Alan Semerdjian’s writing has appeared in several notable print and online publications and anthologies over the years including Adbusters, The Brooklyn Rail, and Diagram. He released a chapbook of poems called An Improvised Device (Lock n Load Press) in 2005 and his first full-length book In the Architecture of Bone (GenPop Books) in 2009, which Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Balakian called “well worth your reading.” His most recent work, The Serpent and the Crane, which is a collaboration of poetry and music focused on The Armenian Genocide with guitarist/composer Aram Bajakian, was released this past April.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Shmavon Azatyan: Dolphins In The Bay


I see it on the TV screen -
a bar graph that goes higher every day.
On the radio, I hear a few hundred thousand people fell.
The beaches and docklands are closed down.
Through the window I watch
skiffs and boats idle at the wharf.

I buy grocery and stuff,
stock my cabinet, then wait,
locked-in,
in my apartment.

On the phone, a friend warns me she might consume my lungs,
and that I will succumb to her fierce advances,
if I have the conditions.
My relations
report the emergency on the phone:
He is deadly.

I eat and sleep, and days go by;
I listen to more talk about the damage, and with each death toll
the infectious agent seems to stick faster to my brain.
Outside my window, the palm tree waltzes to the wind,
unawares of the killer.

When the restrictions are lifted,
I venture out for consequences
and find shells –
the old town, the business district, the shopping centers…
and find crustaceans – 
people in masks and gloves and goggles…

Despaired and uncertain, I walk back
when I happen on
a snake on the footy ground,
rats and mice hanging out at the bust stop,
ravens and magpies ransacking the bazaar.

Each find quakes something loose inside,
until

on the bridge, I lean on the railing
wondering
if this creature has come to stay,
when suddenly – Good Lord!
dolphins cruise in the bay.




This poem appeared in CreativeArmenia.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Brian Postalian: Covid Confession

When I was a kid, I used to think my nose was a mountain.
I’d squish it against the mirror, the pillow, these fingers, the wall,
to rid myself of that figure,
and become who I was meant to be.

I’m waiting to reinvent myself;
take apart the parts defective and find something finer.
I’m playing persistent catch up;
two years behind, one career slow.

Finally, the world is moving at my pace,
and I can’t move.

The space between before and then,
stretched along a long rubber band
ready to snap, fold in half, and break apart.
Scatter itself into the corners of my room.

Dust collects upon my skin,
like a fucking magnet.
I’m a walking
metaphor of shortcomings.
Except I’m not walking anymore.

​I’m myself from last Tuesday,
awake and perfectly still
in scattered sheets and dirty underwear.
Like a composition from an Xavier Dolan film.
A lost love’s chest covered in come.

In dreams my naked body walks across cold sand,
slowly treading my feet closer to the sea.
Beyond the cargo ships in the distance,
day breaks, beckoning me to follow.
To sink myself in order to swim.

I’m amiss of mid-somethings.
A breath of fog, hovering above my flesh,
ready to jump and slip into my Sunday best ...
instead of resting.

My body resists becoming what I’d like to be.

I’m waiting to just arrive,
   the way flowers do in the spring.
     The way you don’t notice,
           until one day
                 they do.


This poem appeared in CreativeArmenia's website.

Monday, August 24, 2020

ԻԳՆԱ ՍԱՐԸԱՍԼԱՆ:Ա՜խ Կէտիկփաշա

1940ական թուականներն էին
Կէտիկփաշայի նոր սերունդը
Ամէն առտու
Չարշըգաբուի կայանէն
Հանրակառք կը նստէր ու դպրոց կ՝երթար
Մանչերը Կեդրոնական կամ Մխիթարեան
Աղջիկները էսաեան

Հանրակառքին մէջ
Նոր մտերմութիւններ կր հաստատուէին

Մանչերը աղջիկներուն աչք կը քթթէին --  կր ժպտէին 
Ընկերութիւն կ՝առաջարկէին 
Եւ հետեւեալ երկու բառերով հարց կուտային 
«Դրակա՞ն թէ՞ ժխտական»
Աղջիկները ապշահար կր ջանային լուծել  հանելուկը 
Չենք գիտեր թէ քանիներ դրական պատասխանեցին 
Քանիներ ընկերութիւններ մշակեցին 
Միասնութիւններ կազմեցին

Այսօր երբ
Պէյազըտի հրապարակէն յառաջանալով
Եէնիչէրիլէր պողոտայէն մուտք կր գործեմ
Դէպի Կէտիկփաշա պողոտայ
Այդ աղմկալից - այդ երփներանգ ճամբան
Բաղնիքի փողոցին անկիւնը պահ մը կր կանգնիմ
Կը կանգնիմ վարանած
Ո՞ւր է Պօնմարշէն

Ո՞ր փողոցէն դէպի վար– դէպի Գումգաբու քալեմ
Կէտիկփաշա պողոտա՞ն շարունակեմ
Թէ ոչ Պալի Փաշայի զառիվարը ընտրեմ
Կամ թէ Բաղնիքի փողոցէն քիչ մր յառաջանամ
Եւ աջին Նէվիյէ փողոցէն ղէպի վար
Փողոցներու խառնարանէն անցնելով
Յիշատակներու ծովերուն մէջ լողալով
Հին Կէտիկփաշան– Հին կէտիկփաշացիները փնտռեմ
Հակառակ որ գիտեմ - գիտեմ թէ 
Եթէ չկան հին կէտիկփաշացիները 
Չկայ նաեւ հին Կէտիկփաշան

Կը քալեմ
Կը քալեմ ու մէկ առ մէկ կը դիտեմ հին տուները
Այսօր այլափոխուած կամ այլասերած այդ շէնքերը
Եւ ի զուր կը փնտռեմ զաւակներն ու թոռները
Այն մայրերուն որոնք օր մը
Առաւօտեան հանրակառքի մը մէջ
Դէպի դպրոց ուղեւորութեան ընթացքին
Հարցումի մը «դրական» պատասխան տուին։




21.7.2020

Այս բանաստեղծութիւնը լոյս տեսած է ՄԱՐՄԱՐԱ թերթին մէջ։






Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Celebrating Shushanik Kurghinian's birthday

On this day - Aug. 18, 1876: Socialist and feminist poetry trailblazer Shushanik Kurghinian was born


https://www.h-pem.com/en/Stories/2020/08/18/on-this-day-aug-18-shushanik-kurghinian/83

Համո Սահեան։ Կգամ

Click here to hear it recited by Marina Hovhannisyan

Եթե մինչև անգամ
Լսած լինես, թե ես այս աշխարհում չկամ,
Միևնույն է, կգամ, ինչ էլ լինի, կգամ,
Ուր էլ լինեմ, կգամ:
Եթե մինչև անգամ ես կուրացած լինեմ,
Եթե մինչև անգամ լույսդ մարած լինի,
Վերջին հույսդ քամին առած-տարած լինի,
Առանց լույսի կգամ, ես այս անգամ կգամ
Մենության մեջ լացող երգիդ վրա:

Եթե մինչև անգամ
Քո հավատի հանդեպ դու մեղք արած լինես
Եվ համարած լինես, որ աշխարհում չկամ,
Եթե մինչև անգամ հողս մաղած լինես,
Եթե մինչև անգամ մտքով թաղած լինես,
Եթե մինչև անգամ ինձ վտարած լինես,
Վերհուշերիդ վերջին խոնավ քարանձավից,
Միևնույն է, կգամ, ինչ էլ լինի, կգամ,
Եվ կճչաս հանկարծ տարօրինակ ցավից…
Կգամ, գլուխ-գլխի ու ձեռք-ձեռքի կտանք,
Լաց կլինենք մեռած մեղքիդ վրա:

Եթե մինչև անգամ հազար սարի ետև
Հազար կապով կապված, խաչով խաչված լինեմ,
Տքնած-տանջված լինեմ, միևնույն է, կգամ,
Ինչ էլ լինի, կգամ, չկանչես էլ, կգամ,
Եվ կբերեմ ես քեզ ուրախություն մի մեծ
Անակնկալ դարձիս իրողությամբ—
Քո տան ու քո հոգու տարողությամբ,
Երազներիդ, կյանքիդ տևողությամբ:
Կգամ և կդառնամ գտած բախտի ժպիտ
Եվ հավատի ժպիտ` տառապանքից մաշված,
Արտասուքից խաշված դեմքիդ վրա:

Եթե մինչև անգամ մեջքս ծալված լինի,
Եթե մինչև անգամ ոտքս վառված լինի,
Եվ ճակատիս հազար հողմի հարված լինի,
Միևնույն է, կգամ, ուր էլ լինեմ, կգամ:
Գետնի տակից կգամ,
Մի հեռավոր, անհայտ մոլորակից կգամ,
Կգամ ու թափ կտամ
Հարդագողի փոշին շեմքիդ վրա:

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Khatchik Derghoukassian: LEFTOVER

To the city of all the sorrows, to Beirut.


You walked away from the city
with no sorrow
deep enough
to burry
all the fallen gods.
Though you still remember
from time to time
someone you lost,
some unborn love,
or some hope they burned
in the streets of nowhere;
you learned also to live
and feel no pain
for the wasted time.
So now you know
that back there,
in that landscape of absolute madness
all the wars of the future were fought.
Life is but a leftover
of which no one really cares much.

Khatchik Derghoukassian

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Call for Poetry for Children in the times of Covid

The virus that causes Covid-19 is still spreading around the world and humanity is suffering

We, at the Armenian Poetry Project, believe poetry has a unique role in these times, when the soul is drowning in news and apathy

APP would like to hear from you, poets young and old, and, poetry readers

Send us your poems for a younger audience and their families,
so that they may deal with this issue, and we will publish them



This call for poems is open to our Armenian readers worldwide

APP holds the right to select or reject poems

Send to ArmenianPoetryProject[at]gmail[dot]com
 your original work, or the work by an Armenian author you admire

Subject line should be CHILDREN'S POETRY

In the body of the email: your full name, city, state, country 

Your original poem (in Armenian, French, English) 
OR, the work you selected by an Armenian poet, TYPED, with poet's name and if applicable the translation and translator's full name

Poems should NOT be excerpts and please check your spelling 


Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2020



Thank you,

Lola Koundakjian
Curator and Producer of The Armenian Poetry Project
ArmenianPoetryProject[at]gmail[dot]com

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Jacob Minasian: Twentieth of March

The equinox will end with a snow
storm, eighty percent by ten
in the evening at thirty seven
degrees. Through the night
it will continue to deconstruct
specific colors, all into one,
and by eleven the next
morning there will be
feet to march through.
Even now, the gray
squirrels disappear, the
geese are abruptly gone.
Roots scramble
around their trunks
like some warming
self-embrace against
the ever-dropping air.
Institutions will close,
postponing, perhaps
preventing tragedy
similar to the one
in the news today.




From American Lit (Finishing Line Press, 2020). All rights reserved.

This poem was featured in Poetry Society of America

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

NC resident Melanie Tafejian wins the William Matthews Poetry Prize

Poet Melanie Tafejian was recently awarded second place in the William Matthews Poetry Prize hosted by The Asheville Poetry Review. The final judge was Ilya Kaminsky. Melanie will receive $250 and her poem "On Occupation" will be published in The Asheville Poetry Review (Vol. 26-27, Issue 30, 2020) which will be released in December 2020. 

Melanie Tafejian is a poet and educator based in Raleigh, NC. She recently graduated from North Carolina State University with an MFA in Creative Writing. Melanie is at work on her first book manuscript. In addition to her first book, she is working to translating the poems of her great-great-grandfather, Armenag Arekian, who was a survivor of the Armenian genocide and also a poet.

More can be found at melanietafejian.com.

CONGRATULATIONS Melanie!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Shahé Mankerian's recites his poem

Click here to view the author's video

This poem appears in the FOOD Anthology available here: https://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk/... Poet Bio: Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena and the poetry co-director at Rockvale Review. His manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at the Bibby First Book Competition, the Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition, the Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award, and the White Pine Press Poetry Prize.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Katherine A. Hagopian Berry: Springback



It is the nature of crisis to pivot,
like a magnet seeking iron.
I start sewing by hand
you buy your first pair of work gloves
trade suits for pants with hammer straps
briefcase shoulder creased and faded, edging past forty
you leave it the trunk of our old jeep,
drive past derelict farms, scaled and fullered camp roads.
Your gloves are new, smooth like bright bar stock
pale wood of your handle, tongs you borrow.
I watch sparks like geese returning
on the sharp March wind
they settle on leather, feather ruffle, and fade.
You learn to roll axial, extrude backward
the breakdown, the buckle, the harden, the quench.
Inexorably, we become used to it
burns overtake the virgin brown
you search for anvils on the internet
I tell you I am drawn to one with runes and stars
the whole world open to making yourself
like nails you forge and forge again
it takes two hundred, you say, to get it right
round the heads from unsteady cubes,
the stalks from jagged twigs
into something that can hold us all together.


Katherine A. Hagopian Berry’s poems have appeared in The Café Review, “Balancing Act II: An Anthology of Poetry by Fifty Maine Women, Glass: Poets Resist,” and “A Dangerous New World: Maine Voices on the Climate Crisis.” Her collection “Mast Year” is forthcoming this spring from Littoral Books.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sotère Torregian: MANIFESTO (AGAINST) AN (ARTS) FESTIVAL, QUEBEC

for Lola Koundakjian

en ce chant de trop téméraire s’ accomplit
- Aimé Césaire, Ferrements

The oysters of housewives a hostesse agency
that assesses your celebration a work
without end
my decathlon prawls in your direction - LOOK!
Arriving at an appropriate
time of the journey I don’t know
when the hour my head lets go a charge
the Blank Page of Mallarmé goes forth with its main-sail
toward the demolition of all poetics!
GREETINGS FROM THE SWAMP BANTUSTAN
OF OKEFENOKEE HOME OF POGO AND ALBERT THE
ALLIGATOR
RATHER A BUSY CARAVANSERIE!
As I am no longer the voyager there

GOO’DAY
O MY LITTLE SCHOLARS PLACED IN ESCROW
A never-ending pioneering

AND WHEN I hear the lullaby of lumberjacks
“If you find your nose bruised as you slide into home-plate”
It’s surely the fault of an overhead cloud of enormous size
After-effects of a series of sayonaras.





AMALGAM, © Sotère Torregian, 2019, Ugly Duckling Presse

Monday, June 22, 2020

Shahé Mankerian: Blindfold

Mother, cover your eyes. No need to see
the man pressed against the bleeding tar

of the asphalt. Ignore the satin moth
trapped inside the empty jar of tarragon.

The helicopter with the quivering nostrils
will hover over the burning cemetery.

The man with the wheezing esophagus
is not a dragon. Don’t look. I’ll force

open the lid of the empty jar. The rotor
blades of the helicopter will drown

his unnecessary plea: “I can’t breathe.
I can’t—” Mother, cover your eyes.

I will smother the embers with my boots
and gift the unmarked grave to the man.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Ռ. Խաժակ: (ներ)շնչում (ա-բ-գ-դ)

ա.

«չեմ կրնար շնչել,
այ մարդ.
հաճիս.
չեմ կրնար շնչել:
հաճիս, ծունկը վիզիս մէջ,
չեմ կրնար շնչել...
զիս պիտի սպանեն,
մի սպաներ զիս:
մամա... մամա՜...
չեմ կրնար շնչել.
չեմ կրնար շնչել.»

բ.

չենք կրնար շնչել,
այ մարդ
հաճիս.
չենք կրնար շնչել:
հսկայ ծունկը մխրճած մեր հաւաքական վիզին մէջ
չենք կրնար շնչել...
մեզի պիտի սպանեն,
մի սպաներ մեզի:
մամա... մամա՜...
չենք կրնար շնչել.
չենք կրնար շնչել:

գ.

չե՛նք կրնար շնչել.
մարդ, լա՛ւ լսէ,
ալ «հաճիս» չմնաց.
չե՛նք կրնար շնչել:
մխրճած ծունկդ վերցուր մեր վիզէն
չե՛նք կրնար շնչել...
մեզի պիտի սպանէ՞,
թող փորձուի՛
մամա, պապա չմնաց.
չենք կրնար շնչել.
չե՞նք կրնար շնչել:


դ.

պիտի շնչե՜նք.
ուզես,
չուզես
պիտի շնչե՛նք:
որովհետեւ ծունկդ հսկայ
պիտի իյնայ վիզիդ վրայ.
եւ պիտի մեռնիս, ո՜վ անարդարութիւն,
քու ծունկիդ ճնշման տակ՝
քու շունչդ է, որ պիտի կտրուի.
մենք պիտի շնչենք.


պիտի շնչենք մենք,
հիմա եւ միշտ...


Ռ. Խաժակ
2020, Թորոնթօ




Այս կտորը Ճորճ Ֆլոյտի անարդար սպանութեան համար արդարութեան պահանջքի կոչ մըն է: Որպէս ցեղասպանութենէ վերապրած ժողովուրդի մը ժառանգներ, մեր լրութիւնը Ամերիկայի սեւ բնակչութեան եւ բոլոր այլ ճնշուած ժողովուրդներու դատին նկատմամբ անընդունելի է:


«Որեւէ տեղ գործուած անարդարութիւն՝ սպառնալիք մըն է արդարութեան դէմ, ամէնո՛ւր»:
- Մարթին Լութըր Քինկ Կրտսեր


Այս բանաստեղծութիւնը արտատպուած է ՀԱՅՐԵՆԻՔ շաբաթաթերթէն  https://hairenikweekly.com/2020/06/03/43101

Saturday, June 20, 2020

And our epidemic series grande finale: poems written by 8th Grade Students, St. Gregory Hovsepian School, Pasadena California

The Armenian Poetry Project thanks longtime contributor and friend, Shahé Mankerian, principal of the St. Gregory Hovsepian School, Pasadena California. We thank the principal and all the students who participated in this project.



EPISTLE POETRY IN TIME OF QUARANTINE
Inspired by “A Letter” by Langston Hughes

The Fifth Season

Dear Daydreamer,

I walk through the rows of roses admiring their beauty.
The clouds are swirled into a series of perfect wisps.
The birds have taken it upon themselves to make music;
I tip my gold Crown as a greeting when I pass by each of my people,
Ignoring the hissing Serpentine hiding in the bushes.

It’s Spring. At least I think so.

I wave to the bees in the buttercups.
The soothing sound of the Golden Streams lull me to sleep.
The sun kisses my skin with soft, warm lips.
Life feels like nothing more than a lucid dream.
I search for shade, but that’s where the Demons hide.

It’s Summer. At least I think so.

The sky bleeds a beautiful orange,
Even the slightest breeze gives a shower of brown leaves.
We sit around the campfire watching the smoke float up.
The harvest is bountiful this time around.
I disregard the dancing shadows peeking from underneath the pile of leaves.

It’s Fall. At least I think so.

I skip through the paths of perfectly shoveled snow.
I spot every animal’s burrow,
Each unique snowflake, handcrafted and carved by taloned hands.
The last Unworthy Rose pokes its head out the snow,
But before it can see the light of day, the phantoms snatch it from its roots.

It’s Winter. At least I think so.

The once perfect utopia is shattered.
The patchy cardboard buildings collapse to ruin,
Leaving dents in the ruler’s mind.
Her Crown can’t protect her anymore, for paper is no match for rain.

It was Gold. At least I think so.

The Serpentine have poked holes in her bubble with their venomous fangs.
It’s on the verge of bursting; no dream is strong enough.
She runs until her legs can carry her no more,
And karma is right at her tail.

You’re okay. At least I think so.

I hear a distant popping noise, and I’m awoken from my dreams,
But I’m still trapped.
The wolf wore the sheep clothing as a perfect disguise.
The dream wore reality as a perfect imperfect disguise.
There was no one to abandon me, so I abandoned myself.

Sugar and Salt. At least I think so.

The Serpent is strangely quiet, but never silenced.
The Demons wait for the chance to unsheathe.
The Shadows lurk in the woods, hiding between the pines.
The Phantoms sit on a brick wall, watching me with crooked smiles.
I sit among my throne, a Grave of Dreams.

It was inevitable. At least I think so.

For even the last Unworthy Rose needs both sunlight and rain to bloom,
But I only received heavy showers.

Sincerely, Sophie Shahinian… At least I think so. 


Dear Baron Shahé,

I no longer have the freedom that I used to have.
I am now trapped within four walls.
If I attempt to escape, it can result in sickness and death.
I have to wear gloves and mask to keep myself protected.
I have not seen anybody in months. It is scary out there.
It is unbelievable how a simple situation can escalate.

                                                                        --Berlyn Kendirian

P.S. Shipping may be delayed due to Covid-19.


Dear Father of the School I Attend,

I found a bomb in my yard a few years back.
I found it while I was digging to plant flowers
and while watching two white doves create their nests
on the tall tree, in the corner, left on the street I was living on.

The bomb—covered with white, flowered lace—
was beautiful and unique. It was nothing compared
to other bombs. In the middle, there were two
large white roses, poking out from the inside.

The bomb had water in it, keeping the flowers
hydrated and alive. Captivated by its beauty, I took it
home and used it as a decorative piece.
I added it to the shelf where I keep my Swarovski.

As time went on, like all flowers, I witnessed the shedding
of petals and leaves. The top of the bomb stayed barren
during this period. Nonetheless, the flowers growing
from the inside still had strong and healthy roots.

The barren pistils didn’t make a difference
to the beauty of the bomb. The petals always grew back
when spring came along. Besides, I cleaned up the mess
on my shelf with two swipes.

One time, I forgot to fill the bomb up with water.
Naturally, the petals wilted away. The stems, though dry,
stood still. The roots turned to vulnerable dust.
The fallen petals and pollen turned the dainty lace dirty.

I tried to clean the lace—stained by the pigments—
in my yard, as I watched the neighbors have a barbeque.
I saw a small burnt paper fly through the wind.
If only the lace wasn’t dirty, I could’ve joined the fun.

I spent my day washing a bomb.
I miss you greatly.

Sincerely,

Ellen Vartanyan


Web of Emotions
by Levon Shenian

As the days go by, my body begins to weaken.
I stay inside all day, away from illnesses
without realizing what is ahead of me.

My heart crumbles when I think of my friends,
knowing we will be separated for a while.
Yet I feel a new side of me spring forth from the back of my brain.

It’s a sign of independence and maturity.
I understand what the real world is like.
It’s not everything we dreamed of as kids.

It’s scary, a bit harder than we think.
This is quarantine. A lot harder than I thought.
I will be ready to move on and start a new chapter.


Dear Baron Shahé

            By the end of the day, my phone’s and computer’s batteries are dead and I end up with an immense headache. I am now well acquainted with the Amazon delivery guy, and my bookshelf has exploded. The crow that always flies over our house, when this little bird sits on the powerline and chirps, is named Treasure Hunt, and the little bird, Ex. Ex marks the spot. I thought it was amusing, but my sister is now worried for my sanity. I blame it on being cooped up all day. To entertain myself I get a bag of M&M’s and microwave them. Then, I get one in my left hand and one in my right, and hold them up with my fingers. Then, it becomes a competition as I squish them to see which one cracks first. The uncracked champion versus the next M&M in line, and so on and so forth, until the last M&M standing. You may find my champion M&M in the envelope I mailed you. Please forward my champion to the M&M headquarters for breeding purposes.

                                                                                                            Thank you,
                                                                                                            Aleen Kojikian


Dear Baron,

I’m a bowl of soggy organic wheat waffles cereal from Whole Foods. It was the only option available; it’s quite good actually. Cultural and societal standards seep into every crevice. They ponder; they revile my appearance. Before they consumed me, they were just thoughts.

            “Friends” treat my loyalty like the bowl, an outsider. They think if you break it, you can just buy a new one, a replacement; cleaner than before, unused, untouched, stable. Do they realize a new one is a backstab? Lingering is a backstab.

            Almond milk is my heart, vegan. I miss someone I’ve never met. I love someone I’ve never met. How did I establish that relationship in my head when they don’t even know I exist? Their acting gave it all away, so profound, so emotionally abusive. Its familiarity is making it addictive. No matter the warp it puts me in, I crave it. It’s dominant, but it was a joke from the start. It broke the internet.

            I placed a spoon in the fridge the night before. Why? I knew when I woke up my eyes would have the reminisces from the hours of leftover curdled water I had shed until 3:36 a.m. Double the size, size 24 to be precise; font Arial not Times New Roman, and not double spaced. They were single-spaced, thin lining, red. Minus the subduing of outside forces I have repressed myself from those whom I thought I knew. They did it first. “A relationship isn’t about one person trying to force a connection. If It’s not reciprocated, move on.”

                                                                                                            --Natalia Agadjian


Dear Baron Shahé,

I sit here in my home surrounded
by four thick walls. The local newspaper
is filled with dullness. The VHS tapes
have been worn out and stopped working.
The orange tree, that produces those bright,
juicy oranges, has stopped giving fruits.
I used to pick and squeeze them. The neighbor
next door finally moved out after she saved
enough money. She always wanted to move.
I send much love and hope all is well.
Say hello to your daughter from me.

                                    --Emily Markarian



Dear Baron Shahé

            Quarantine is like being a fish in the ocean,
scared and vulnerable, not knowing what’s out there.
Covid-19 is the shark that’s chasing after all of us.
The school of fish means more food for the shark.
The ones that stay away, have a better chance to survive.
I’m one of those fish, scared of the world, not wanting
to leave my home because the predator is ready to attack
at any moment. I live in fear, not wanting to be hit
by the monster that is out there killing people one by one,
not wanting to be a part of those numbers, not wanting
to be the one who dies. It’s a scary world we live in.
We never know what will come next.
                       
                                                            Best regards,
                                                            Claudine Azilazian


Dear Baron Shahé,

I wake up every morning
to a beautiful sunrise. I eat breakfast
with my eyes barely open. I begin
my schoolwork until I go outside  
for a break. I watch the birds fly
from left to right, chirping to each other.
Then, at lunchtime, I eat. I finish
my schoolwork until night. I realize
my days are about eating and doing
homework. I need better days than these.
I wake up the next day. The cycle continues…

                                    Your student with gratitude,
                                    Anthony Keshishian


Dear Baron Shahé

I’m hoping this letter finds you in great spirits.
All thoughts, emotions, and mental expectations
Have been halted due to this shelter in place order.
All forms of communication, social interaction
with friends and family seems a thing of distant past.
Oh, when will we ever experience normalcy or even
breathe freely without restrictions or lockdowns?
Spending countless hours thinking how someone’s
lack of responsibility placed the entire world
into this position of uncertainty.        
                       
                                                Best regards,
                                                Alique Klahejian


Dear Baron,

As time flies and walks, I’m still stuck
in a cage, stuck in a prison, frozen in a game.
This life is broken, but I still find a way
to strive through it. I look into the future,
and I don’t remember the past.
I feel as if I’m controlled,
and the only time I’m in control is at night.
My brain feels like a boat;
the more it tilts the more I lose.

                                                Yours truly,
                                                            Your student,
                                                                        Alex Kassardjian


Dear Baron,

            I’ve been doing nothing
but watch Netflix and complete
my online school assignments.
I wake up, stay home all day,
and go back to sleep. There’s no
graduation or nothing in general.
Honestly, I’m in a pointless cycle.
I can’t wait till all of this is over
so that I can finally be free.

                        Respectfully,
                        Cynthia Vanesian



Darkness

Dear Baron Shahé

My thoughts are everywhere. I look
at my right. I see a blue sky covering
people’s struggles. I look at my left.
I see a dark sky pulling people into sadness.
I get called by two of them,
yet they still feel the same.

                                    Respectfully,
                                    Natel Artin


How Do I Survive?
by Hagop Latchinian

            The lockdown has happened.
Being at home all day, every day, feels
overwhelming. I read the memo that
our school is cancelled. I freak out
slightly until I understand. My parents
give me facts. They are not worried
that we’ll contract the virus, but
they are concerned about the economy.
I am beginning to hate schedules.
I’m trying to be active. I watch videos
On YouTube for yoga. We are taking
Walks when weather permits.

                         
Dear Baron Shahé

Where did the years go?
It only seems like yesterday…
So many fond memories to cherish.
The day we separated is the day we stopped…
The day we meet again is the day we rejoice.

                                    With gratitude,
                                    Mihran Simonian