Sunday, February 19, 2017
Saturday, February 18, 2017
The Armenian Students’ Association, Inc. recently announced the start of its seventh annual poetry competition. As in the past six years, the ASA, Inc. is partnering the Armenian Poetry Project for the writing competition named in honor of the late Arthur Halvajian, a trustee who led its Board in sponsoring the first competition. The 2017 competition is now open and the deadline for submissions is April 30. The competition winners will be announced by the jury in May 2017.
“Over the past six years we have received hundreds of entries from across North America and continue to be impressed with the creativity, quality and range of poems. We look forward to reaching out to even more communities in the coming months,” said Alice Movsesian, a member of the ASA, Inc. Board of Trustees as well as its liaison to the competition's organizing committee.
ASA national board secretary M. Manoog Kaprielian sees the poetry competition as a particularly meaningful window of expression for Armenians who endured as Azerbaijan refugees out of and survivors of the ongoing war in Syria, who have settled throughout the United States and Canada. “We will do all that we can to reach out wherever they may be”, stated Kaprielian.
The Armenian Poetry Project lead by poet Lola Koundakjian, is a research and documentation site for 19th to 21st century Armenian poems and related topics. Currently containing over 2,500 poems, it is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year. APP has a worldwide following and releases poems through RSS feeds, Twitter and podcasting.
All individuals of Armenian descent, residing in the United States and Canada are invited to submit their work in English or Armenian for the competition. Entries should be e-mailed by April 30, 2017 to ArmenianPoetryProject@gmail.com with the subject heading “Halvajian ASA/APP Poetry competition”. Only one original unpublished poem per individual may be submitted.
The competition groups submissions into three categories: students (ages 12-17), college age (ages 18-22), and adult (ages 23 and older). A top prize will be awarded for each of the categories in the amounts of US $75 (students), $125 (college age), and $300 (adult).
Each poem submitted for the competition must be accompanied by the author’s full name, age, and home address/telephone number. Students must include school name and sponsoring teacher’s telephone number. You can learn more about the Armenian Poetry Project by visiting http://armenian-poetry.blogspot.com.
The Armenian Students’ Association of America, Inc. encourages educational pursuits by Armenians in America and the raising of their intellectual standards, providing financial assistance in the form of scholarships to deserving Armenian students, developing fellowship among them, cultivating in them the spirit of service in the public interest, and acquainting them and the entire American community with Armenian culture.
Posted by Lola Koundakjian at 2/18/2017 07:34:00 AM
Friday, February 17, 2017
for a photograph. We couldn’t go
inside because during the war,
it burned down, not because of misguided bombs,
but because a doctor set himself on fire
after they wheeled his dead wife
into the Emergency. Years later, hollyhock
bushes and wild fig trees covered the pink
and black walls of the entrance.
Militiamen had posted pictures of martyrs
on the crooked wall that separated
the sidewalk from the front lawn.
The statue of Virgin Mary with broken
hands cried near a dehydrated water fountain.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
the peeled shells to feed the mad waterfalls in your head.
Today your fingers will feel pain without paint.
You cover the canvas with the Mother’s face.
Today you will remove the clothespins from the clothesline.
You will need the rope and the sunshine of your studio.
You will need a sturdy chair and the ceiling fan.
Today will mark another birthday as you swing lightly in midair,
suspended like the butcher’s meat back in the city of Van.
This poem appeared in Poetry City, USA, Vol. 6.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Meet her at Grand Central Station
and walk her down under the bridge
where the wild kids play in the street all day
and your neighbor, a passionate Haitian,
sings ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically of love.
Feed her potatoes au gratin,
meatloaf and corn on the cob
when the couple upstairs quarrels and swears,
and all the rats in Manhattan
sing discordantly, discordantly, discordantly of love.
Worship her like a religion,
like Mary the Mother of God,
while he-dogs compete for a she-dog in heat
and a lonesome grizzled pigeon
sings obsessively, obsessively, obsessively of love.
Promise to love her forever
and always, come what may,
while the basso bum with his bottle of rum
and the post-industrial river
sing defiantly, defiantly, defiantly of love.
This poem appeared in Don't Talk to Me about Love
Sunday, February 12, 2017
When Mister Right has strayed so far you hate him,
pluck a winter leek from peat-rich soil
and eat the stalk before you go to bed.
Spit thrice at sunrise, bathe, then scratch, verbatim,
this lethal summons into kitchen foil:
“Vengeance, go find him, bind him guts, heart, head.
Compel the traitor, no will of his own,
into my bedroom to be mine till death.
Should rival hags assail him, make him fail
to function, make him pleasure me alone—
KALOU KAGOEI BAINA-BAINAKETH.”
Roll up the love-charm, pierce it with a nail
and seed it in a field where fireweed
attests to ashes. With the next moonrise
he will arrive, the lover you deserve,
less work than when you knew him, guaranteed
to lock you, goddess, in his zombie eyes,
worship you, service you, and never swerve.
This poem appeared in Don't Talk to Me about Love
Saturday, February 11, 2017
I want to believe in something unique.
Like fluorescent blue light bulbs?
Like senators projecting themselves in cautious dance.
I’ve got something you may need.
A duty-free container?
Someone to write letters to.
They say, “Kindness exists in portions.”
Like a cake.
Like a football field.
They say, “Happiness exists in corners.”
Like a pile of sweaters.
Larry Levis said something about trees.
That’s why I’ve called you here.
Take a seat.
Open the window.
No, take a seat.
I’ll open the window.
How long have you been a crocodile?
Can you stop green?
Can you begin fern?
I can’t repeat questions.
Questions have expired.
Vanished into tea air.
This poem appeared in issue 5 of Poetry City, USA
Friday, February 10, 2017
We move keyboards to different locations.
Because nothing exists without mauve in your voice.
It’s red, dear.
It’s a noun without color, analogies without verbs.
The way you coordinate galaxies using your eyes.
The way you kiss, leaving post-its on my cheek.
What’s the weather like in Hawaii?
Blue skies with grey streaks.
Like being on a farm in a computer.
Like taking lemonade to a string quartet.
You sold your clothes and got in bed.
“We make a dwelling in the evening air.”
Said Wallace Stevens.
We said hello to the illusion of something there.
Like conditioning verbs to say hi to adjectives.
So many people print documents in the night.
So many people buy bagels in Seattle.
You draw guitars on my arm.
Your lamp is like a bell.
A thought inside a ship.
Thursday, February 09, 2017
In my office, Father’s framed
This poem was published in These Fragile Lilacs Poetry Journal, Volume II, issue II.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
When the shovel fell, the dirt exposed
Tuesday, February 07, 2017
The bakery crowd looted the last
of the loaves. A beggar child
driven by hunger ignored
Monday, February 06, 2017
my heart at thy sweet voice
–Saint Saëns’ Samson et Delilah
flushes the gold
seas and her eyes lift
with the temperature
of the day
become two moons…
Her hair is an album
of the despoiled countryside
I wander sounds
of love’s fallen arquebuses
Camille Sabie (second from left in the picture) was a graduate of East Side High School, pursuing a degree in education at Newark State Normal School when she was photographed training in Weequahic Park for the first Women’s World Games in Paris. At the August 1922 competition Sabie set a world record and won the gold medal in the 100-yard hurdles. She also took the gold medal in the standing long jump and the bronze medal in the running long jump. Women’s track and field events were added to the Olympic Games in 1928.
Sotère Torregian’s multiethnic upbringing in Newark led to experiments with internationalist and surrealist poetry. The piece above comes from his 1970 collection The wounded mattress.
Sunday, February 05, 2017
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have announced their winners for 2017. Ella Chakarian from Holy Martyrs Armenian School in California was awarded a Silver Key for her poem Laughing at Feminism and another Silver Key for her short story Salt. Congratulations to Ella for these achievements.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12.
Saturday, February 04, 2017
How You Crush a Grape
How funny it is to crush a grape
About the poet: Ara Alexandre Shishmanian is author of several studies in Vedic literature and Gnosis, written in French and English and published in specialty revues and collective volumes in Belgium, France, Italy, Romania, United States. He also has published fifteen collections of poems in Romanian. His first collection in French, Fenêtre avec esseulement (Window with solitude), translated by Dana Shishmanian, was published in 2014 by Editions Harmattan (Paris). The three poems translated here by Flavia Cosma are excerpts from the Romanian original volume, Nestiute (Unknown), 2012.