Saturday, April 05, 2008

Café Poetry Night 2008

For the past three years, poet-principal Shahe Mankerian and his eighth grade students at St. Gregory A. & M. Hovsepian School in Pasadena, California, have observed National Poetry Month with their own Café Poetry Night. For the event, the students choose poems written by contemporary Armenian-American poets, memorize them, and then recite them before an audience of family and friends. The students don’t stop there; they also write their own poems inspired by those they’ve chosen. And then, to complete the circle, poets who live in the area attend and read the students’ poems.

This year’s Café Poetry Night will be held Saturday, April 19, 2008, at eight o’clock in the evening. The school is located at 2215 E. Colorado Boulevard.

The students will be reciting work by the following poets: Yeva Adalyan; Alan P. Akmakjian; Ara Babaian; Beatriz Badikian; Lory Bedikian; Sylva Dakessian; Tina Demirdjian; Gregory Djanikian; Alec Ekmekji; Jacques Hagopian (trans. Ruth Touryan); Armine Iknadossian; Arpine Konyalian Grenier; Shahe Mankerian; Victoria Melekian; William Michaelian; Sona Ovasapyan; Arto Payaslian; Aram Saroyan; Leon Z. Surmelian (1905-1995); and Alene Terzian.

Since I won’t be able to attend, I’ve published “Home Service,” the poem of mine that was chosen for the event, along with “House Keeping,” the wonderful poem based on mine by Arman Seuylemezian, as the April installment of the Collected Poems section on my website. The poems are reprinted here, accompanied by two informal home recordings.

William Michaelian

Home Service

If I were a child
I would reach out
touch the deacon’s robe
while he sings softly
in Armenian
a lullaby for my father
while he sleeps.

Click here to listen to the audio clip of Home Service read by William Michaelian.

“Home Service” has was first published in Ararat; it became part of the Armenian Poetry Project on July 22, 2007.

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