Monday, June 27, 2022

Սիամանթո։ Ափ մը մոխիր՝ Հայրենի տուն

ԱԿՆԱՅ ՅԻՇԱՏԱԿԻՆ


Ա

Աւա՜ղ, ապարանքի մը պէս մեծ էիր եւ շքեղ,
Ու ես երդիքներուդ սպիտակ կատարէն,
Աստղածորան գիշերներու յոյսին հետ,
Վարէն, ահեղավազ Եփրատին կ'ունկնդրէի...։

Բ

Արցունքո՜վ, արցունքո՜վ լսեցի որ աւերակ առ աւերակ,
Քու լայնանիստ պատերդ իրարու վրայ կործանեցին,
Սարսափի օր մը, կոտորածի օր մը, օր մը արիւնի...
Զքեզ եզերող պարտէզիդ ծաղկըներուն վրայ։

Գ

Ու մոխրացա՜ւ այն սենեակը կապոյտ,
Որուն որմերուն ետեւ եւ գորգերուն վրայ,
Իմ երջանիկ մանկութիւնս կը հրճուէր,
Եւ կեանքս կ'աճէր եւ հոգիս իր թեւերը կ'առնէր...

Դ

Փշրեցա՞ւ, ուրե՛մն, այն հայելին ոսկեծիր,
Որուն եթերային խորութեանը մէջ,
Երազներս, յոյսերս, սէրերս եւ կամքս կարմիր,
Տարիներով, մտածումիս հետ, ցոլացին...

Ե

Ու բակին մէջ երգող աղբիւրը մեռա՞ւ,
Ու կոտրտեցա՞ն պարտէզիս ուռին եւ թթենին.
Եւ այն առուակը որ ծառերուն մէջէն կը հոսէր,
Ցամքեցա՞ւ, ըսէ՛, ո՞ւր է, ցամքեցա՞ւ, ցամքեցա՞ւ...

Զ

Օ՜, այն վանդակին կ'երազեմ յաճախ,
Որուն մէջ գորշագոյն կաքաւս, առաւօտուն,
Արեւածագին հետ եւ վարդի թուփերուն դիմաց,
Զարթումի Ժամուս ՝ յստակօրէն կը կարկրչէր...։

Է

Հայրենի՜ տուն, հաւատա՜ որ մահէս յետոյ
Քու աւերակներուդ սեւին վրայ՝ իմ հոգիս,
Պիտի գայ, որպէս տատրակ մը տարագիր,
Իր դԺբախտի երգն ու արցունքը լալու...

Ը

Բայց ո՜վ պիտի բերէ, ո՜վ պիտի բերէ, ըսէ՛,
Քու սրբազան մոխիրէդ ափ մը մոխիր,
Մահուանս օրը, իմ տրտում դագաղիս մէջ՝
Հայրենիքս երգողի իմ աճիւնին խառնելու...։

Թ

Ափ մը մոխի՜ր աճիւնիս հետ, Հայրենի տուն,
Ափ մը մոխի՜ր քու մոխիրէդ, ո՞վ պիտի բերէ,
Քու յիշատակէդ, քու ցաւէդ, քու անցեալէդ,
Ափ մը մոխիր... իմ սրտիս վրան ցանելու...։










Sunday, June 26, 2022

Nueva York Poetry Review launches a series of translated poems by Armenian authors

 Nueva York Poetry Review, established in New York and led by Marisa Russo, just launched a curated series of poems by Armenian authors translated into Spanish.


The inaugural poet is LA based Shahé Mankerian. His poems may be accessed here


APP welcomes this collaboration, with many thanks to the editorial team and the translators. 



Լօլա Գունտաքճեան/Lola Koundakjian
Curator and Producer,
ArmenianPoetryProject[at]gmail[dom]com





Thursday, April 28, 2022

Aida Zilelian: Arshile


PictureLast Painting (The Black Monk), by Arshile Gorky (USA, b.Vilayet of Van, Armenia, Ottoman Empire) 1948. Oil on canvas. 78.6 x 101.5 cm, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Inv. no. 564 (1978.72)

Arshile jan[1],
if we had been friends
I would have smoked cigarettes with you
until my throat was raw and made you listen
to Billie Holiday (did you know “Strange Fruit”?) while
nursing vodka (I would have hated but conceded to) just for you.
I read you loved vodka.

Arshile,
you could have rung my apartment bell
at any hour of the night
and I would have let you in, cradled your face in my hands,
consumed by your wild, vacant eyes
and said nothing.

Love could not transcend the
shadow of ghosts that claimed you long before you escaped,
fled the shores of Lake Van,
your mother’s bosom cold from death –
a body that could no longer soak up your child tears.
This is not why I love you.

Arshile,
I would never have been so star-struck
that your death could have surprised me,
but I would never have forgiven myself
for not deciphering the suicide note
in the slants of your abstractions
and unsettling hues of teal, magenta,
annihilated by frenzied strokes of black.[2]
They incriminate you but,
I would not have seen.

All I know is that your face,
your dark moustache, the grace of your troubled eyes and swept back hair
leave me to think that I could not have saved you, and
loved you nonetheless.

Aida Zilelian



[1] An abbreviation of the Armenian word ‘janig’ (a term of endearment – i.e. darling, love
[2] Arshile Gorky’s last painting, Last Painting (The Black Monk) 1948


Aida Zilelian is a first generation American-Armenian writer and educator from Queens, NY. Her fiction explores the depths of love and family relationships, culture and the connections between characters that transcend time and circumstance. Her first novel (unpublished) The Hollowing Moon, was one of the top three finalists of the Anderbo Novel Contest. The sequel The Legacy of Lost Things was published in 2015 (Bleeding Heart Publications) and was the recipient of the 2014 Tölölyan Literary Award. Aida has been featured on NPR, The Huffington Post, Kirkus Reviews, Poets & Writers, the New York Times, and various reading series throughout Queens and Manhattan. Her short story collection These Hills Were Meant for You was shortlisted for the 2018 Katherine Anne Porter Award.

Originally published in The Ekphrasic Review

Monday, April 25, 2022

Գիրք մը - հեղինակ մը՝ Զահրատ ԲԱՐԻ ԵՐԿԻՆՔ

Չար բաներ


Գացէք ըսէք չար բաներուն որ չըլլան
Որ չըլլայ թէ պատահին
Կամ երբ ըլլան հեռու մնան մեր այս պզտիկ աշխարհէն
Համն ու հոտը խաթարելու չհասնին

Չար բաներուն բարև ըսէք մեր կողմէն

Ըսէք գիտենք թէ անոնք կան ու միշտ կրնան պատահիլ
Ըսէք գիտենք թէ կրնան
Օր ցերեկով մութ գիշերով յանկարծակի գալ մեզի

Բայց դուք ըսէք չար բաներուն որ չըլլան
Որ չըլլայ թէ պատահին
Կամ երբ ըլլան հեռու մնան մեր այս պզտիկ աշխարհէն

Քանի որ դուք չէք գիտեր ինչ
Քանի անոնք չեն գիտեր ինչ
Սէր ու սիրով
— Մերթ կենսուրախ — շաղ ու շողով
— Մերթ յուսաբեկ—ահ ու դողով —
Շիւղ շիւղի

Շիներ ենք մենք մեր աշխարհը լոյս օրերու հիւրընկալ —
—Պզտիկ աշխարհ մը որ հազիւ հազ կրցեր է պարտկել
Մեր պզտիկ կեանքն ու մեր անդորրը ջերմիկ—

Այս բոլորը գացէք ըսէք չար բաներուն — և ըսէք
Որ չըլլայ թէ պատահին —
Երբ պատահին հեռու մնան մեր այս տաքուկ երդիկէն
Համն ու հոտը խաթարելու չհասնին


Զահրատ «Բարի Երկինք», Իսթանպուլ 1971




Saturday, April 23, 2022

ԱՇՈՒՂ ՇԵՐԱՄ։ ՊԱՐՏԷԶՈՒՄ ՎԱՐԴԵՐ ԲԱՑՈՒԱԾ

Click here to hear the song


Պարտէզում վարդեր բացուած`
Կը սպասեն սոխակի,
Առանց սոխակ թառամած,
Կարօտ են պսակի:
Արդեօք ո՞վ է, դուռն է թակում,
Ա՛խ սիրտս կը դողայ,
Իմ սիրուհիս, ո՞ւր է գնում,
Ա՛խ, սիրտս կը խաղայ:
Գետակի ալիքները
Գնում են խայտալով,
Սիրահարի աչերից
Արտասուք թափելով:
Սիրուհին տանը նստած`
Սպասում է եարին,
Քնարը ձեռքին բռնած
Նուագում լալագին:
Թիթեռը ճրագի մօտ
Շրջում է անդադար,
Մինչ իր վերջ սիրակարօտ
Չունի նա օր, դադար:
Սիրուհին տանը նստած`
Գրում է նամակներ,
Խիստ տրտում կ'անցկացնէ
Իր գեղեցիկ օրեր:




ԱՇՈՒՂ ՇԵՐԱՄ




Sheram (born Grigor Talian, 20 March 1857, Alexandropol – died 7 March 1938, Yerevan) was an Armenian composer, poet-musician (gusan), and folk musician (ashug).



Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Our inspirations: Daniel Varoujan 20 April 1884 – 26 August 1915 and his spouse Araksi, circa 1913



















We honor his memory on his birthday. Varoujan perished during the Armenian Genocide. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Theadora Siranian: Belle Reprieve

In upstate New York you wake
every morning to a field blue with frost.

Every day is perfected: not a blade of grass moves.
This is the world you need; we always knew this.

Even in that January, endless month,
cutting through the air a gyre of possibilities,

touchless. Huddled together in empty
store doorfronts, such tender animals,

feather and oil, pinions holding palms to mouths,
whispering secrets the wind ripped away,

fragile words flung into the well of winter.

A nanosecond’s grace unraveling, just another
tiny spool of thread lost to the universe,

bodies breaking against air sharp
enough to crack skin, and even now,

in the recesses, the locked corridors
of admission, it still exists: the endurance of the desire

to know nothing better than the shape of your face.


Originally published in Amethyst Arsenic, Winter 2014

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Theadora Siranian: Pepper’s Ghost

Before night swarms across the sky—brief slash
of winter citrus at the horizon, then evicted
by darkness. I’m in love again with the idea

of being beautiful, spying my mirrored self
in the dusky half-light. As if only at day’s end
may I be content with my own physicality.

But what I see darts past, sidles in and out,
is vague, porous, not to be trusted. In sleep
I find an egg cratered as the moon floating

in my palm. Obsidian carapace hovering,
murmuring, cracking open to reveal a yolk black
and dense as an animal’s pupil. Limitless

universe, starless galaxy. Midmornings as
a child I watched my mother pray, crouching
in the bedroom doorway, myself supplicant.

Other language, other voice, her face bathed
in tears. Her words like slivered grafts of light
spilling into her steepled hands. The earth

pushing itself round with ancient, fatal patience.
The day swelling, the cicadas beginning
their metal-thresh hum. Always inexplicable:

the cheap plastic statue of the Virgin
on the nightstand—how she kept her face
placid while the arch of one foot remained

planted firmly on the snake’s back. Once,
a neighbor set her house on fire, running
toward us across the field cradling a honey

jar filled with bees, the flames behind her
framing her hair like a halo. I hear
the nothing whisper, palpable as the blood

moving beneath my skin. I break the egg,
lean forward, openmouthed. I am godless.




Originally published in Chicago Quarterly Review (Vol. 27, 2018)

Monday, March 21, 2022

Theadora Siranian: The Unguarded


for A.B.


Even in sleep, past the road’s soft shoulder,
you are the dark circus tent sitting at the edge

of town, your memory emitting whispered
threats into the landscape. In the stumbling

dark I design highway markers: this is the night,
the early morning, the moon a thin wafer of light.

This is my skin slick with the sweat of dreams,
the exertion of finding my way back to the body.

Athena was hammered from the head of Zeus,
sprang battleborn and screaming. Before

there was conflict, there was the anticipation
of violence. You are the ghost, the penny dropped

down into the dry well. Lying awake I see
you, bent toward the counter, whittling away

at your teeth with the blade of a kitchen knife
and a glass of bourbon. Determined sufferer,

unlucky caulbearer. The stars are wounds
carved from the sky, interminable, accusing.

We weren’t always such poison. Once, we were
as if lovers, closer than lovers, closer than sex,

each scar and ritual of the other better memorized
than the folds of a spouse’s body. What they call

abandonment was escape—our own design. We’d been
planning it for years. Temptation made the sky throb.

Our parents’ violence may have become our own
but we cast ourselves into the darkness. In truth,

we never planned on finding our way back from
the forest. Some myths say Athena had a sibling

or friend, Pallas, whom she accidentally killed.

Heartbroken, Athena took her name.

In some they were opponents in battle.



Originally published in Meridian, Issue 39, 2017




Sunday, March 20, 2022

Theadora Siranian: Fata Morgana

I.

Two nights ago I dreamt you were dead. You, dead for months.
All this time I had been talking to a ghost, face pressed

to the telephone, imagining you doing the same while staring
at a close horizon of snowslashed mountains.

I drift past sheets of blue ice and what we called civilization.
Nothing is left but broken concrete and trees.

Everything an armature of itself and the world silence.

I slip beneath, the water is cold. Toward the sea.

II.

I disinherit myself again and again so that when it’s time to become
nothing I will be ready. There is a bend, always

a bend and always a bridge, weeping, always, when I pass beneath.

Last week I discovered a phrase: anticipatory grief.
An entire category devoted to what I’d always known as waiting.

Abject, brutally finite and yet limitless, waiting.
Hunger without the appetite, without the desire.

If you died tomorrow I would die tomorrow.

The moon is a wafer of barren light in the river.

Anything pressed too far becomes a sin. Toward the sea.

The naked trees are bruises hammered into the sky.
Somehow I know they love me, somehow I know they don’t care.

III.

When I arrived the beach was washed away. The river ran uphill.

Along the ridgeline there is a red horse that can’t stop running.

Even untethered it runs red against the red sun as though trapped
against the sky, back and forth, wildly.

I dreamt you were alive. I dreamt you were unbroken.

Beside the sun burn the stars, glowing embers of paperweight
balloons floating, soaring. Only birds, gliding white

against white turned golden, slowly.

Their wings are burning, or, the sky is a cinder.

The sky a cinder a cinder a cinder and my mouth pressed to the atmosphere

a flame.

I woke and I was the ghost and it was true, all of it.



Originally published in Poetry Northwest, Vol. XIII, 2019

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Introducting Theadora Siranian




















Theadora Siranian is a poet and teacher currently living in Kazakhstan. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets, Ghost City Press, and Atticus Review, among others. In 2014, she was shortlisted for both the Mississippi Review Prize and Southword’s Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize. In 2019, Theadora received the Emerging Woman Poet Honor from Small Orange Journal. Her chapbook, She, was released by Seven Kitchens Press in May 2021. More of her work can be found at theadorasiranian.com.


Less the Rescue

The year I tried to trick grief
we stood in the airport
parking garage, smoking

cigarettes and staring at one
another, grief finally kissing 
me firmly on the mouth

before smiling knowingly
and heading for the stairwell.
In truth, it was the years

of waiting that kept me going,
M. warning me over 
the telephone as I stood naked, 

staring into a motel mirror:
beware the void, the void.
But that was only one of my

lives—each more lovely
and vicious than the previous,
each earth turning on its axis

adamantine, the standing waves
of endless oceans offering gifts 
below you must be willing

to drown to discover, wreckers
waiting at the shoreline for
the moment you lose your footing.

In one life I lost my freedom
to a man in a tent
staked to a barren hillside,

his fingers finding my hair
in the morning to toss me toward
his waiting truck.

In another I had sisters, three,
and each told a different
story of our conception.

The first claimed our mother loved
a bull, the second that our father
was a hypnotist who tricked

fairgoers into sex involving blood
rituals with the snake charmer’s 
python. The third sister told me

her version while I slept, and I can 
return to it only in dreams. Then,
a woman wearing a wedding 

dress makes love to me
in the grey dishwater waves
of some cold, abandoned shore.

Here, then, I know I’m not 
mad, to be so divided, to love
and loathe in equal parts like some 

ever-bending switch in the wind. 
She stands soaking and bedraggled
beneath the ferrous sky, no longer

looking at me, and walks away 
down the beach. I watch her go, slip
a stone under my tongue, a token

to ferry between this world and the waking.


Originally published in South Dakota Review, Fall 2019

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Rescheduled: Book launch and reading


 

Book Release and Poetry Reading with book signing and reception in-person 

for History of Forgetfulness by Shahé Mankerian

(Fly on the Wall Press, 2021)


Thursday, March 10th, 2022 at 7:00pm ET

Guild Hall | Armenian Diocese

630 2nd Ave, New York, NY



PLEASE NOTE: All attendees must provide proof of COVID vaccination

Readings by the author and NY area writers and scholars:
Nancy Agabian, Christopher Atamian,
Alina Gregorian, Alan Semerdjian,
Alina Gharabegian & Lola Koundakjian

Shahé Mankerian releases his critically-acclaimed debut collection, taking readers back to 1975 Beirut, where an un-civil war is brewing. 
Mankerian asks, “Who said war didn’t love / the children?” setting the tone for a darkly humorous collection in which memories of love, religion and childhood are entangled amongst street snipers and the confusion of misguided bombings.



For more information contact Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 2nd Avenue | New York, NY 10016-4885
zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org
www.zohrabcenter.org

Monday, February 21, 2022

Melanie Tafesjian: Three poems from the LA Review

 The Journalist 

 

At the bar you read Lolita alone, 

charm me with talk of Foucault and Bikini Kill,

I haven’t seen a man read a book in months. 

Later, I soak in the ceramic tub

at your apartment rental, 

overlooking the sea, the black night air

thick with salt, jasmine.  

 

The next day at the beach, I order mussels,

suck their little bodies free, purple shells

rattling in a tin. You insist on pizza,

your pink neck brightening under the sun. 

When the bill comes you claim 

they ripped you off, those boys 

smoking cigarettes behind the kitchen, 

laughing at the lanky Englishman, scuffing 

their feet on the sandy tile floor. 

 

Of course, you’d prefer a local girl, 

to roll you fresh byrek, 

stir pots of beans on the stove, 

but you won’t stay long enough for that. Anyway,

the men here intimidate you, with their round bellies 

and oiled skin, their chest hairs curling 

into the sun. I tire of you, but stay

to buy grapes and plums 

from an old woman, who winks,

reminds me to marry an Albanian. 

She weighs our fruit. 

I tell you we got a good deal. 

We chew meat from pits, 

watch the sunset. 

 

Soon you’ll be back home

clacking your Mac keys for the online travel journal, 

saying, what a quaint and affordable beach.

The locals were so kind.

 

 

 

The Gift 

 

What I remember most is the way 

…………….you could peel a cucumber 

…………………………..in one strand, the dark green

 

ribbon floating to grass at your feet. 

…………….The fire smoldered— ready for meat. The pale

    …………………………..pile of cucumbers grew. You sliced one,

 

presented it on the knife tip,

…………….nodded toward the white cheese. 

…………………………..Bare grape vines knotted above us, in the dark

 

garden. A black coat edged 

…………….my shoulders, like a grandmother’s. The moon

…………………………..a milk scone, creak of the blue iron gate, you 

 

with plastic bottles of raki— fire liquor. 

…………….Near the stream where bagged kittens 

…………………………..were thrown to drown, your tight jaw—  

 

what comes from losing a father young. The bottles 

…………….crackled under the clutch of nervous hands. You didn’t

…………………………..try to touch me— held the liquor 

 

out front of your chest, instructed, 

 

…………….Pour the raki in a saucepan. 

…………….Over the steam breathe deep, 

…………….burn everything away.

 

That night, in the house, I did as you told me, pulled 

…………….muslin— made a tent of hot breath. Liquid dripped

…………………………..from my eyelashes, rippled in the pan. Steam clouded

 

my vision. I was ill— you cared.

…………….Later you undid me, peeled the jeans

…………………………..from my hips, by morning you had split 

 

a stack of oak for the fire, swept 

…………….every web from the floors.


 

The Harbor

 

A photo. You on the edge of a ferry. A message.

The police are waiting for me. You were a boy once

emerging from the river, flicking water 

from the ends of your hair. Girls falling in love

around you. Did you make it to London? 

Does that smile work there? Today, in Albania,

your mother— cut out by grief— knits doilies. The evening

news blares on. She slips a splash of sambuca in her tea. 

I remember when you brought us to the cafe

with the caged bears. Those giant mammals above us, 

their faces like sad dogs. I believe if I write about you,

I will never lose you. There was the time you knelt 

before me in the shower, a mouthful of ocean,

two boats knocking in the harbor. 

 

Melanie Tafejian is a writer and educator living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Raleigh Review, Willow Springs, Asheville Poetry Review, and The Kenyon Review.

Published 2 August 2021 in The Los Angeles Review

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

World Poetry Day 2022 Triangulation Project to include Armenian poets and musicians

























SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Mar 5
UK: Ian Griffiths Ivor Murrell Alex Davis; musician TBA
COLOMBIA/SA: Carolina Zamudio Tallulah Flores Prieto Manuel Iris ; musician Medina
NYC: Joe Roarty Robert Gibbons Dorothy Cantwell ; musician Thomas Vincent Santoriello
comperes Ian Griffiths , Maria María Del Castillo Sucerquia
fb livestream by Walt Whitman Birthplace

Mar 6
BULGARIA; Anton Baev Elka Dimitrova ; Ivan Hristo (poet / musician)
GEORGIA: Shota Iatashvili Paata Shamugia; musician Erekle Deisadze
NYC Billy Cancel Patricia Carragon Chatham Grey; musician Ptr Kozlowski
comperes Anton Baev , Shota Iatashvili
fb livestream by Great Weather for Media

Mar 12
LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY: Octavio Quintanilla Edward Vidaurreire’ne lara silva; musician Ray Perez
KOREA: Hack Hee Kang Park Dukkyu Hanyong Jeong , musician Young Ok Hwang
NYC: Mike Jurkovic Kofi Kofi Fosu Forson Marc Ellot Marc Eliot Stein ; musician Alan Semerdjian
comperes Octavio Quintanilla , Tanya Ko Hong
fb livestream by Calling All Poets

Mar 13
PIACENZA: Antje Stehn Viviana Fiorentino Mauro Ferrari; musician Betty Gilmore and Il principio attivo (plus Sabrina De Canio , Piccolo Museo della Poesia Chiesa di San Cristoforo, Piacenza)
ARMENIA: Lola Koundakjian Nora Nadjarian Arthur Kayzakian; musician Aram Bajakian
NYC: Don Krieger Karen Neuberg Francine Witte ; musician Tom Gould ( Bossa Nova Beatniks)
comperes: Antje Stehn , Lola Koundakjian
fb livestream by Cultivating Voices Live Poetry

Mar 19
ROME: Lucilla Trapazzo Mara Venuto Alessandra Corbetta; musician Ermanno Dodaro
BUCHAREST: Mircea Dan Duta Shurouk Hammoud (SY) Masud Uzaman (BD); musician TBD
NYC: Matthew Hupert Anthony Policano Ngoma Hill ; musician Rick Eckerle
comperes Lucilla Trapazzo , Mircea Dan Duta
fb livestream by NeuroNautic Institute

Mar 20
BOLTON: Melanie Neads Emily Cook Dr Ben Wilkinson; musician Nat Clare
CHENNAI: Srilata Krishnan Poornima Laxmeshwar Hema Praveen; musician The Coconut Milk Project
NYC: Zev Torres Howie Faerstein Cindy Hochman; musician Didi Champagne
comperes Dave Morgan , Sriram Gokul (Sriramgokul Chinnasamy)
fb livestream by Live from Worktown

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Զահրատ: Հրանդ Տինքին

Աղաւնիները համոզեցին, ըսին որ իրենց վրայ

չեն կրակեր. Հրանդ հաւատաց։ Թէպէտ երկչոտ՝

հաւատաց թէ աղաւնի մըն է։

Բայց կրակեցին։

Նախատեսած էր, մէկ քանի տարի առաջ ըսած էր ինծի.

«Իմ մահը պիտի ըլլայ ոտքի վրայ՝ կանգնած, ոչ թէ պառկած՝

անկողինի մէջ»։




Թող պառկի լոյսերու մէջ։

Եթէ մեզի հարցնէք, ան միշտ յաղթական պիտի կանգնի՝

անաղարտ արձանի մը պէս։




- «Հրանդ Տինքին», Զահրատ


The doves swayed him,
        saying no one fires on them


Hrant believed them.
        Although timid:


He believed
        he was a dove.


But they
        shot him


He had foreseen it,
        he told me a few years ago,


"My death will be on my feet, standing up, not lying down
        in bed. "


May he rest in light.


        If you ask us, he will always stand victorious:


            like an immaculate statue.






Zahrad“To Hrant Dink", translated by Lola Koundakjian


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Hamazkayin Canada presents a reading

HAMAZKAYIN Canada presents

a bilingual reading of Daniel Varoujan's 


SONG OF THE BREAD

with a new translation by Tatul Sonentz-Papazian

SUNDAY, November 21, 2021 at 2:00PM EST


 Click to expand


Sunday, January 09, 2022

Լեւոն-Զաւէն Սիւրմելեան։ Ասացուածք ծառ տնկելու մասին

Տէր, օրհնէ՛ ծառն այս մատղաշ։ Ես կը տնկեմ զայն ահա
Փխրուն եւ սեւ հողին մէջ ուր պապերըս կը պառկին.
Ես՝ անոնց թոռը հսկայ, այս հողին տէրն եմ կրկին,
Ու արեւուն տակ կ՚աճիմ՝ անունն իրենց շուրթիս վրայ…։


Պիտի բանայ ծառն այս մեծ իր բազուկներն ու հոգին,
Գրկած իր մէջ պապերուս արեւոտ շունչը անմահ.
Տէ՛ր, միսմինակ, նազելի, այս ծառն աղօթք մը ըլլա՜յ
Ու փաթթըւիլ իր մարմնոյն գան սիրողները գիւղին…։


Էրկաթագիր պատութիւնն այս մըտերիմ հողերուն
Աչքիս արցունք կը բերէ… Փառք ու մեռել շատ ունի
Երկիրն իմ հին, ալեւոր՝ որուն ես թոռն եմ վայրի,
Խոկումներով բեղմնաւոր, երազներով օրօրուն…:


…Մեռելներուս իբրեւ խաչ՝ ես այս ծառը տնկեցի…:



Լեւոն-Զաւէն Սիւրմելեան 1905-1995


























Thoughts on Planting a Tree


By Levon Zaven Surmelian

Lord, bless this sapling. Look, I am planting it
In the crumbly and black soil where my ancestors lie;
I, their hulking descendent, possess this land again,
And grow and flourish under the sun, with their names on my lips.

This tree shall stretch open its great arms and soul,
Cradling the undying, sunlit breath of my forebearers;
Lord, let this lone, graceful tree be a prayer,
And let those, who hold their hamlet dear, come and hug its trunk.

The narrative of these cherished grounds, writ in ancient, majuscule script,
Brings a tear to my eye… This ancient, hoary land of mine
Has many dead and glory aplenty, and me as its wild offspring,
With fertile ponderings and swaying dreams.

As a cross for my dead departed, I planted this tree.




With many thanks to the Armenian Institute for providing the original text and translation.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

ՆԻԿՈՂՈՍ ՍԱՐԱՖԵԱՆ; ԳՆԱՑՔ

Ոչ ուժ է, ոչ ախտ՝
Մարդատեաց հոգիս,
Այլ ճամբորդ մ’աղքատ՝
Քաղաքէ մ’ուրիշ
Քաղաքի միջեւ,
Ձգածիս ընդմիշտ
Եւ դեռ անորոշ
Գալիքին միջեւ։

Ապակիին դէմ,
Ուր կը կռթընիմ,
Հոսող եւ անհիմ
Իրերու վրայ
Գլուխս է դալկադէմ՝
Ծովամայրի պէս,
Երբ շոգեկառքէս
Դէպի հակառակ
Սիրտըս կը սուրայ։

Բազուկը, որ զիս
Սեղմած՝ կը տանի,
Շարժումով մը խիստ
Կը քաշէ արագ
Լաթը սեղանին՝
Հողերու տակէն,
Ուր գըլորելէն
Տուներ կը թափին,
Լապտերներ գոյն-գոյն,
Կայմեր հերարձակ
Հեռաձայններու։

Մեքենան ծառ մ’է,
Որ աստղերուն տակ
Տերեւներն ամէն
Պիտի տայ հովին
Մինչեւ լուսածագ։

Կամուրջներու խոր
Փորերէն՝ մուրճի
Թափօրներ, խռպոտ
Ոգիներ կ’աճին։
Ու սուր մը՝ գետէն
Կը նետէ անդին
Յուշերըս բոլոր։


— Պէտք չէ գանգատիլ,
Պէտք չէ ետ դառնալ, -
Հրեշտակը կ’ըսէ.
-Ձգածիդ դիմաց՝
Եթէ չես ուզեր
Ճամբայիդ կէսէն
Քարանալ յանկարծ
Ղովտի կընոջ պէս։
Նայէ՛ աւելի՝
Կաղանդի ծառին,
Որ սիրտըդ կապես
Անոր ծայերուն,
Ուր լուռ՝ կը վառին
Բազմահայելի
Պարասըրահներ,
Խանութներ փայլուն։

Այս քաղաքը նոր,
Լապտերներն անոր,
Ջրվէժներն անվերջ
Գործատուներուն,
Այս թառը անհուն՝
Տուներու ճերմակ,
Որ կոյր՝ կը սպասեն
Լուսնկային տակ,
Ու դեռ անոր մէջ
Ինչ որ կը տեսնես,
Ինչ որ կ’իմանաս,
Դանիէլի դէմ՝
Ոսկի, անվընաս
Պառկող առիւծն է։

Գետը կ’անհետի։
Վերելակ մ’յանկարծ,
Ու վերելակին
Վիժումէն ծակած
Սիրտըս։ Իր ետին
Դուռ մը, դուռէն դուրս՝
Կիներ, պարոններ,
Մարդ մ’ալեմօրուս։

Բոլորն ալ լըռին,
Բոլորն ալ տարտամ՝
Ծովախոյզներու
Տըկար լոյսին տակ։
Սինեմայի լուռ
Վարագոյրին պէս՝
Նորէն սըրարշաւ
Պատուհան մ’անդին։


Ու անիւները,
Գնդիկներ ուժգին՝
Որ կը սալարկեն,
Կը կազմեն դեռ զիս,
Մոնթէ-Քրիստոյի
Բանտին պատին պէս՝
Որուն ետեւէն
Դառնութեան մը հետ
Գանձ մը կը խօսի։

Քաղաքը, սակայն,
Որ ալ կը լըքես,
Երբ խածած է քու
Քայքայուած սրտիդ
Թնճուկուած ծայրէն,
Կը պարպէ յանկարծ
Եւ անվերջ՝ զքեզ,
Ճախարակի պէս՝
Քանի հեռանաս։

Ոչ ուժ է, ոչ ախտ՝
Մարդատեաց հոգիս,
Այլ ճամբորդ մ’աղքատ՝
Քաղաքէ մ’ուրիշ
Քաղաքի միջեւ,
Ձգածիս ընդմիշտ
Եւ դեռ անորոշ
Գալիքին միջեւ։



«Անջրպետի մը գրաւումը»

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Lory Bedikian: On the Way to Oshagan featured in "On Being"

Click here to hear an audio clip of this reading by Pádraig Ó Tuama.

“I stop the car, cross the dirt road
to see what the old woman’s selling.
Hoping for a cold drink, an extra
postcard to write this evening, I find
her tucked behind a table, under a tarp,
fly swatters swaying above her head.
Stacks of Marlboro boxes, packs of gum
are the only things I recognize among
the odd Russian, Armenian labels.
She must not hear me, because she keeps
rolling a square of newspaper into a cone,
fills it with roasted sunflower seeds.
I ask for one, saying ‘meg hahd hahjees,’
fumbling to find a dram among my dollars.

Her eyes, the color of two almonds
rise for only a moment before she asks
with a low, coarse, parrot-voice
if I like America, if I’m married and where
exactly is this place called ‘Glendale?’
With an awkward smile I drop indifferent
answers for her, like coins in the palm.
Until this exchange I had convinced myself
that I do not look like a tourist. After all, having
an ancestral name, firm family tree, the language
ironed to my tongue since the day I was born,
how could I be just another Amerigatzi? I say
this to myself, though I’m the one with the walking
shoes, the camera, the plaid-patterned pants.

She interrupts my thoughts with ‘Welcome
to Armenia. Please take these seeds for free.’
When I extend the money, I notice her face
shrinks in the afternoon light. Back in Los Angeles
I would have insisted to pay. But with this unexpected
visit I simply remembered how I was raised,
before the textbooks, the corporate cubicles,
before I learned to get fashion magazine
haircuts, attend culturally sponsored events.
I hear my parents say, ‘Love this seven-member family
all your days and nights, learn to take every offering
with grace, no matter the given size.’
I bow my head, say thank you. She insists
it’s nothing, asks that I come back soon.

Forgetting why it was I stopped at all,
I walk back across the dirt, cracking
one open. Its shell tastes of the same
salted seeds tucked by my grandmother
into coat pockets for evening walks.
Like a small communion, I contemplate
the seed with my tongue and swallow.
I almost turn to wave, but get back
in the car. For miles around, there is nothing
but land I follow on the map.
There is nothing but this old woman
and her convenience stand
made of brick and woodon the edge of a beaten road.”


 

From The Book of Lamenting




Monday, December 06, 2021

Lory Bedikian: PANDEMIC TALLY: AT ODDS WITH MAY

Click here for an audio clip of the poem. 


Apologies, mother, that you had no funeral. It was too close

to call the priest. Shovel of dirt. Flowers. Strangers with masks

in charge of lowering the coffin. Cyber condolences. Incense.


My sons face the screens. My sons face a future without most

of the people I loved. The teacher calls on those who are fast,

fed what they want for lunch. My sons clench their teeth.


All the funding has gone to the birds. Beautiful creatures, gleaming

feathers, whose babies have their feathers combed by aardvarks

and stool pigeons. These fledgelings always get to bed on time.


Postpone the check-up, the procedure, the poetry of mourning,

there’s a pandemonium of voices coming from a white tower

full of more fowl. Where are they all coming from?


Bombs. Children and mothers die together. They didn’t get

a chance to contemplate as they did on school days. The forests

destroyed. Their husbands already buried. Conveyer belt methods.


I don’t want to talk about kin, kinship or cognac. It always ends

with maps, my father’s voice, my ancestors kneeling by graves.

I want everyone to stand up to choir it out. Even the dead.


There is no such thing as writer’s block. There is no such thing

as writer’s block. (Their favorite pencil was left in their usual café,

while the chandelier doesn’t give its typical, shrewd light).


Prison. In prison because they always wrote, even when they were

told that you are pissing off the guy in charge. The guy in charge,

when he was a boy they should have given him ripe apricots, pencils.


A reference to Donna Summer doesn’t seem to fit the tapestry. Don’t

see why not. Donna Summer lived in Los Angeles, she sang, ignited,

died. People still play her songs on the corner of Hollywood and Vine.


Dad, did you find Mom? Before she died she wanted to hear Elvis Presley

sing I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, but I don’t know if that ever

was taken care of. She never told me if she missed you.


An antimicrobial resistant infection is not an easy thing to take care of

when almost everything is limited, when almost everyone seems

daunting with their masks and no masks and deranged attitudes.


I hear Grant Green’s Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

while I wash another sink full of greens. Sometimes motherhood

is a well without rope or bucket. Even the blue sky still hunkers down.



Lory Bedikian

Published in Adroit Journal

Sunday, December 05, 2021

LORY BEDIKIAN: BEFORE THE ELEGY, SPEAK TO HER

Click here for an audio clip of the poem. 

Zevart, before you decide to go

anywhere, let me construct a ship of books,

sailable & plenty, free of disease & car rides,

a ship anchored to everything & nothing,

Zevart of my birth, a name I will not

simplify for them. Let them say it.

Zevart. Zevart of rose petal jam & calluses,

your mother, a desert walk, her mother

hovering above sheep’s brain stew,

Zevart. Zevart. All I have left

of my first blurred sight. All that’s

left of my own name, its song —

leave now & I won’t find the impossible

argument of daybreak. Depart if you want,

but the phone will keep ringing.

Voice of Zevart. Body of Zevart.

Bathing Zevart. The weight of your body

on my arm, as if holding a country.

May you never read this, never learn

what I’ve done. A tradition never yours

this scrawled before it should be, your name

a drum, the only part I’ll borrow, and so,

Zevart. The rest can stay in their glass

cases. Remember how our folktales began?

Gar oo chee gar. Once there was and was not

a life we knew full of produce & price

tags, tell me again before you go there,

how you & one brother took James Dean

to be a god. Aleppo tired of you.

Your mother never done in the kitchen.

What is it now that I’m doing?

Did I actually think this would preserve you?

How can I close this, when a train could take you

through a tunnel, a bag of dates & walnuts

on your lap, sudden darkness while you chew,

snickering at what you were never taught.

What did I promise? Oh, yes. This.

Zevart. Zevart. Zevart.


Lory Bedikian
Published in Adroit Journal

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Մարօ Մարգարեան: ԱՌԱՋԻՆ ՁԻՒՆԸ


Լուսաբաց էր մարմար,
Թափւոմ էր թեթեւ առաջին ձիւնը.
Հոգիս ուզեց յանկարծ
Այդ անդորր պահին
Տեսնել քո տունը:

Եւ անցայ ես խաղաղ,
Անցայ ես խաղաղ ձեր փողոցով.
Նիրհում էր աշխարհը պաղած
Լռում էր ճերմակ մի ծով:

Եւ քո տան մուտքի մօտ,
Հեռուից դեռ,
Տեսայ քո համաչափ քայլերը
Խառնուած ուրիշի
Քայլի հետ,
Իսկ շուրջը
Մաքուր ու անդորր էր:
Իսկ յետով աշխարհում այս,
Որ անհուն ու անծիր է,
Երբ տեսնում եմ ձիւնին
Քայլերի հետքեր կան,

Թւում է ամէն տեղ
Նրա հետ անցել ես,
Եւ աշխարհի սրտում
Սրտիս պէս
Վէրքեր կան:


Մարօ Մարգարեան
1952


FIRST SNOW

It was a dawn like marble
The first light snow was falling.
In that quiet moment
My soul suddenly wanted 
to see your home.

And I passed by serenely,
I passed peacefully by your street.
The world was dormant frozen
The white sea was silent.

And near the entrance of your house,
From afar,
I saw your symmetrical steps
Mixed with someone 
else’s steps
And around
It was clean and tranquil.
And after this world,
which is endless and infinite,
When I see human steps 
on snow

It seems that everywhere 
You passed by
in the heart of the world,
Like my heart,
There are wounds.

Maro Markarian
Translated by Lola Koundakjian

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Shahé Mankerian’s debut poetry collection History of Forgetfulness book launch [postponed]

DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL, the event is postponed. WE WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.

Please join us for the Book Release & Poetry Reading of Shahé Mankerian’s debut poetry collection History of Forgetfulness with readings by NY area writers/intellectuals Nancy Agabian, Christopher Atamian, Alina Gregorian, Alan Semerdjian, Alina Gharabegian, & Lola Koundakjian

The Zohrab Center was established through the generous gift of Mrs. Dolores Zohrab Liebmann in memory of her parents, and dedicated on November 8, 1987 in the presence of His Holiness Vasken I (†1994), Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians;  and His Eminence Archbishop Torkom Manoogian (†2012), Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. Liebmann’s father, Krikor Zohrab 1861-1915), was a renowned author, jurist, humanitarian and community activist in Constantinople, who was among the first Armenian intellectuals killed in the 1915 Genocide.



December 2, 2021  7:00pm ET 

at Zohrab Center

630 Second Avenue

New York, NY 10016-4885




Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Lorne Shirinian: The Rule of Three



For my grandsons Rafael, Ari, 
Joshua and Aaron Shirinian

Un coup de dés n’abolira jamais le hasard
Stéphane Mallarmé

For most, 
memory lasts
but three generations
father 
son 
and grandson
The next will likely never know
her grandfather’s father 

Stories of him will haunt
much will remain unknown
fragments and shadowy descriptions
of a life almost lost but for rumour
For the lucky ones a faded photo
in the end family history built on supposition

I never knew my grandfather
My father hardly knew his father
In 1915 before the massacres
Ottoman soldiers forced him into a labour battalion
never to return
the absence of fathers became the Armenian curse

My father barely knew his mother
yet the persistent memory
a park in Istanbul in 1921
he is eleven the last time he sees her 
she holds him close and feels
his soft wet cheek against hers
she whispers you’re safe here for now
my son 
I can’t give you a future in this country 
I must leave while I can
perhaps after the war… 
he feels her fear and shudders
she hugs and kisses him and says goodbye
turns in pain and leaves him crying 
in the orphanage


Then the killing began again
Armenian orphans were taken
over the Ionian Sea to the safety of Corfu

Many times he had escaped death
wandering from one column to another 
on the forced march east
How often did he cry for his mother 
when he became a father
How often
            she leaves him crying in the orphanage

In 1965 in our living room in Toronto
I asked my father if he remembered his father
his face, his voice, his touch
I wanted something to hang on to
He just shook his head
and looked away

There are no pictures of my grandfather
but my father had a memory of him he shared 
which I turned into a story for safe keeping
Can you hear his voice, I asked
In my dream, he said, he speaks but 
I can’t hear him 

My mother had no memory of her parents
She was a baby when they were exiled and killed
for being Armenian
She had no idea how she survived
who saved her and placed her in different orphanages
Family history erased in two generations

My sons knew my parents
and have good memories of them
My four grandsons know me but it’s likely
their sons and daughters will not
But I will leave stories, books, photographs and films 
for them all

Most of us are victims of the three-generation fate
of human memory
Oh, my grandsons, I want to dance at your weddings with your beautiful grandmother
I want to help lift your chairs high in the air
to celebrate your lives
I might be absent but
I will leave you much to remember

May 1, 2021




Monday, November 08, 2021

Lorne Shirinian: First nights

For my brother George

this is the way my father remembered his boyhood - 
            a series of removals 
                        and first nights

his eyes opening with the rising sun
and the animals stirring
then the odor of bread baking and his mother singing
as she prepared coffee letting it rise three times
before filling the small cup for his father
he watches him sip the rich dark liquid
and wonders when he will be able to taste it 
sitting next to his father
mother places her warm hand on his head
go wash your hands and face
and pours him warm milk
the world seemed a fine place
there was a sense of order and expectation
after he would feed the chickens 
and wait for his father to hitch the horse to the cart
then climb up and sit beside him 
as they went off on their rounds delivering charcoal
to the homes in the village
at noon when they returned
he would wash standing beside his father 
before the basin in front of their house
splashing water all over to get the black dust off
mother put out plates of bread, tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese
and the family ate together
later he would watch his father load the wagon again
for his deliveries
he felt his eyes get heavy
mother smiled sleep now my boy
he would unroll his rug and put his head down 
while his father left for his deliveries
he lay listening to the comforting sounds of the horse’s
hooves on the dirt road and the creaking of the wagon 
a lullaby that closed his eyes 
and sent him off to a peaceful sleep

one morning, days or months later
he heard new noises, strange and angry
his father rushed into the house breathing heavily 
and told him and his mother
to gather as many of their things possible 
roll them in your rugs and come outside
he remembered his mother, her head bent
why are you crying why
he did as his father asked then put the chickens
in the living room and poured bags of grain
on the floor for them
his father put his arm around him
then locked the door
we have to go now 
hurry
they climbed on to the wagon and joined the line
being led away by soldiers with long rifles
and bayonets piercing the sky
he looked around and saw his uncle and aunt up ahead 
where are they taking us, baba
they bounced along the dirt road for days
some said under their breath 
they’re taking us to Sultania
no another insisted further south to Konia 
without food and water many collapsed and were dragged away
             into the tall grass
                        never to be seen again

don’t say anything his father whispered 
just look straight ahead
he leaned tight against his mother and kept silent

when it was too dark to see 
the column stopped
his father fed the horse 
while his mother placed their rugs under the cart
we don’t know where they’re taking us 
don’t eat too much we have to save what food we have
sip the water slowly 
when you’re finished close your eyes and sleep
his confusion troubled him
who will feed the chickens
who will deliver the charcoal tomorrow
he heard his mother sobbing 
as he wrestled with his thoughts 
                                        this first night
                                                    away from home

every night there was yelling and screaming 
followed by a frightful painful silence
he kept his eyes shut tight but imagined what was happening in the dark
several days later when the soldiers forced them to rise
he searched for his aunt and uncle
where are they he wondered
his father brushed away tears 
look straight ahead my son
several days after that he asked his mother 
where his father was
he saw the fear in her eyes
he’s gone to look for uncle and aunty
no noise now look straight ahead
and he spent the first night without his father
a few days later deep into the night there was rustling around their wagon 
and the sound of someone being dragged away
through the sleep in his eyes he looked for his mother
but she wasn’t there 
all his life he would hear her calling for help
in the morning when the sun rose he looked around
but mother the horse and wagon were gone
his world had disappeared 
there was only the starving deportees
being prodded along ahead of him
he called for his mother
an old woman came to him
come with us now my boy
she took him by the hand and started walking with him
following the line that seemed to grow 
like a voracious serpent
as other lines joined other groups on the way
he spent the first night without his family
where could they have gone
why did they leave him all alone
then the old lady who was looking after him
disappeared
he went from grandmother to mother
whoever would look after him
he would gather grass to boil for soup
no one could tell him where his parents were

in the unending heat his throat burned for a drop 
of water
his stomach was knotted in pain
he saw many things that would haunt him forever
he learned the importance of silence but observed everything
he understood what was necessary to survive
only later would he realize the cost
four years later people who spoke a different language 
came and took all of the young children 
who were wandering through the countryside away
you’re safe now we’ll look after you
he didn’t know what they were saying but they smiled
and were kind 
in the camp they shaved his head 
washed him and bandaged his wounds
gave him new clothes bread and soup to eat
there was a large room with many beds where he slept 
along with hundreds of other young boys
who asked every day 
where their fathers and mothers were
but no one could tell them
I want to go home he said but was told
I’m sorry my boy it isn’t possible
he remembers his first night in the orphanage
as he did in all the other orphanages
Changelkeuy near Istanbul
Erenkeuy also near Istanbul
the Lord Mayor’s Fund of London’s orphanage 
in Corfu

and then after the final voyage away from his home
over the Mediterranean and the Atlantic
he arrived at the Georgetown Farm Home 
for Armenian orphans in Ontario Canada
he knew he would never again see his parents 
or his home 
he would become someone else
with the remembrance of all the first nights 
wondering where are my mother and father
where’s home

June 25, 2016





Sunday, November 07, 2021

Lorne Shirinian: Willow Weep for Me

Willow weep for me
Bend your branches down along the ground
And cover me

(A popular song composed in 1932 by Ann Ronell, 
recorded by Billie Holiday in Los Angeles 
on September 3, 1954.)

time enough still
I told myself
a poem a story a book a film
a life accomplished
yet more to do

but time tricked me
woke one day bent low
along the ground
the future tense sucked out
ready for the table

willow, there were times
when the words dropped like honey
on the page 
I couldn’t stem the flow
and I was chided by some to linger longer
you’re publishing too much

how much is too much for a desperate writer
tell me, willow,
I can’t live according to their inadequacies
I have difficulties enough with my own

soon enough, willow,
I will gather all my pages
and let your canopy cover me 
a final caress, a murmur to the night
let the shadows fall
I will take them all with me

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Blue Heron Press releases a new poetry collection by Lorne Shirinian

Rendering the Timeline, poems by Lorne Shirinian, was published by Blue Heron Press on April 24, 2021.






About the Poet

Lorne Shirinian began writing poetry at an early age. Rendering the Timeline is his fifth book of poetry. He has edited two anthologies, Armenian North American Poetry: An Anthology (1974) and The Blue Heron Press Anthology: New Voices from Kingston (2000). His poetry has been translated into French, Armenian and Farsi and has appeared in a number of newspapers, journals and anthologies. He is Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at the Royal Military College of Canada. He has published thirty books of fiction, drama and literary and cultural studies. He lives in Toronto with his wife Noémi.