Connecting Armenians through
culture, art, and achievement

Skip intro
Skip intro
Skip intro
Skip intro

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

August 18, 2020

Stories

By h-pem

45 views

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

On this day, Armenian literary trailblazer Shushanik Kurghinian was born.

Despite the heavy news of late, today, we celebrate the legacy of Armenian literary trailblazer Shushanik Kurghinian.

 
Born on this day in 1876 to a family of artisans in present-day Gyumri, Kurghinian’s talent for the written form was apparent at a young age. Viewing the role of poetry as “profoundly political,” many of Kurghinian’s pieces openly challenged preconceived cultural standards of the time. Through poems like “I Want to Live,” her words lent power to women and the poor, two groups who were often voiceless and marginalized in literature and society at large.
 
Today, Kurghinian is considered a pioneer in the field of Armenian feminist and proletarian literature, paving the way for other female writers to follow, such as Zabel Yessayan and Silva Kaputikyan. As the graffiti line in the poster says, “Do not love me as if I were a flower; I want to live a worthy life!” Happy 144th birthday, dear Shushanik!
 
To mark the occasion, we present you an English translation of her 1907 poem «Երգել ուզեցի՝ ասին չգիտես…» ("I wanted to sing, they said, 'You don't know how…'). 

 

I wanted to sing, they said, 'You don't know how…'

I wanted to sing, they said, "You don't know how…"
I penned songs—“Shut up! You’re a girl!”
But when in this miserable life
I became a song of pain
I found a place
In everyone’s bosom.
I sang a lot
And they said, “She will soon tire!”
I sang aloud
"It will stop at once!"
I sang to no end
And they flattered me.

1907

(Translated by h-pem editor, Rupen Janbazian)

 

 

You need to be logged in to add a comment, click here to log in