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IALA X h-pem | The Children of Armenia by Sofia Viana Ogulluk

October 10, 2023

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By Sofia Viana Ogulluk

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IALA X h-pem | The Children of Armenia by Sofia Viana Ogulluk

Sofia Ogulluk is a 14-year-old freshman at Manhasset High School on Long Island, New York. She is a passionate writer, who loves to write in all kinds of genres and styles. Some of her favorite styles of writing are poems, novels, and songs. In addition to writing, she loves to participate in Armenian Dance, Broadcast Journalism, Girl Scouts, and Theatre. In her free time, she likes to learn languages, hike, travel, and spend time with friends. A fun fact about her is that she also has attended AGBU Camp Nubar for the past four summers.

Sofia Ogulluk is one of the winners of the 2023 Young Armenian Poets Awards (YAPA). You can read her winning submission below.

Sofia Viana Ogulluk 
Age 14
Manhasset, NY USA
 

The Children of Armenia

I look at my Dede’s large, strong hands

And see the millions of women and men

Who have died for our people

Compared to the millions of people who have lied

Who say they’ve helped in many ways

But in reality

Reposted on Instagram and called it a day

 

I look at my Yaya’s soft and wrinkled hands
Meticulously making manti

And I see in them

Children in a home surrounded by fire

They reach out to us

Try to hold our hands

But we simply watch

Leave them stranded

 

They scream to us

“Say our name!”
And I say it back

A soloist in the choir

 

I turn around and a few more stand

But their silence is deafening

The voices of the children pleading

Ring in my head

And suddenly

They stand beside me

And we become one

And the chorus begins to run

 

We show and we share 

But they don’t understand

We stomp and we scream

But they only stare

 

We wave our flag

And they say they care

But if they really did

Then they would be there

 

So I’ll paint myself purple

And stand in a pot

If that’s what it takes

To forget-me-not

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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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