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IALA X h-pem | Seen by Armenians by Alessandra Agopian

October 10, 2023


By Alessandra Agopian


IALA X h-pem | Seen by Armenians by Alessandra Agopian


Alessandra Agopian is 16-year-old a junior at Horace Mann School in New York. She is a proud Armenian with a passion for poetry and creative writing, following in the footsteps of her great grandfather, famous poet and writer Sisag Varjabedian.

Alessandra's submission is the honorable mention of the 2023 Young Armenian Poets Award. Continue to read her submission.

Alessanda Agopian

Age 16

New York, NY, USA


Seen by Armenians

In my breath,

In my beating heart,

In my thrumming blood,

I carry those before me.

Their sand staining footsteps embark

Across my bones,

Bless my mind with gilded knowledge,

Gild my hands with blessed skill.


They follow me,

Mother and fathers,

Lovers and the loved,

Tweak my posture,

My hair,

The sounds that form from my mouth.

Heavy hands, light hands,

Pressing on my shoulders.


As I walk down the street, striding against concrete,

They are unseen.

They are unknown,

Even as they push and they prod fondly.

No one else can see my predecessors,

Cannot feel the phantom limb of their rooted guidance.

No one else...


You see their counsel, their heart.

Finally, finally,

You see them too!

A meeting of the eyes,

An understanding.

We are connected.

We are seen.

We are Armenian.

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Related Collaborations

IALA X h-pem | 2023 Young Armenian Poets Awards: On Visibility
Collaboration IALA X h-pem | 2023 Young Armenian Poets Awards: On Visibility

In a time of turbulence and uncertainty, the Young Armenian Poets Awards (YAPA) stands as a beacon of hope and expression. Founded and directed by Alan Semerdjian, YAPA of the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA) collaborates with h-pem, which, in turn, seeks to provide an authentic audience for the annual awards. As our nation grapples with turmoil, YAPA invites young talents to explore profound existential questions. How can poetry become a bridge connecting Armenia and its vast diaspora? What dialogues are essential within the Armenian community and with the world? These questions are met with insightful responses, as young awardees delve deep into their souls, weaving symbolism, fantasy, and elegy into their work.

In 2023, the theme of "Visibility" resonates deeply as the Armenian people face challenging times, particularly in Artsakh. The lack of media coverage and international support is disheartening, leading many to feel as though they are disappearing before their own eyes. However, YAPA continues to shine a spotlight on these issues through the power of poetry. This year's winning and honorable mention poems offer poignant reflections on identity, remembrance, and resistance.

Gregory Djanikian, Armine Iknadossian, Alan Semerdjian, and Raffi Wartanian, distinguished individuals in the literary world, provide insightful commentary on the winning works. These poems encapsulate the essence of the Armenian spirit, addressing the struggles and resilience of a people whose stories deserve to be told. YAPA's mission to illuminate the dark corners of our universe through poetry remains steadfast, and it is through the voices of these young poets that we find a glimmer of light and hope during these somber times.

Read on to understand more of YAPA's 2023 edition through Alan Semerdjian's lenses.

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