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Poetry | Dancing on paper with Melineh Yemenidjian

February 03, 2020


By Lilly Torosyan


Updated Poetry | Dancing on paper with Melineh Yemenidjian

“Equ-I-pose” and "Lady Libertine" are the first two in a series of original poems for h-pem by poet Melineh Yemenidjian. 

Writer's name Melineh Yemenidjian


City/Country Los Angeles, Calif.
About the writer
  • A lifelong poet who is beginning to publish her work
  • Studied Liberal Studies at California State University, Long Beach
  • After an MFA in Creative Writing, she hopes to teach poetry at the university level and host retreats and workshops

We’ve all heard the toxic trope of the "mad artist," who depends on instability for inspiration. But Melineh Yemenidjian takes a different approach—seeking to flip instability on its head through the restorative power of her words. “Equ-I-pose”—the first in a series of original poems for h-pem—is about finding balance and healing. 

In the past week, I’ve read Melineh’s poem at least a dozen times—each time, discovering something new. I was initially struck by the title, "Equ-I-pose." The word “equipoise” implies a “balance of forces or interests,” an equilibrium of sorts, but this isn’t equipoise, and with three letters on the left side and four on the right, it isn’t quite balanced either—at least, not in the literal sense. 

In true experimental form, Melineh takes liberties with size, punctuation, spacing, and symbols—coloring her letters, making them louder, stronger, and at times, sitting in direct conflict with the assumed meaning of a word. "Little," for example, is about six times larger than every other word in the poem. "Equ-I-pose" is a performance on paper—or (computer) screen, but whether intentional or not, the lack of pretension (or "poise") makes way for the word "pose" to pirouette on to the page. 

And it all makes sense. Balance is an integral part of dance, and art as a whole.


The alchemy of idiosyncrasy

When we speak, I ask Melineh about her poem. “It was my inner voice giving me assurance that all balance will be restored soon,” she explains. She calls the work "prophetic" because writing it triggered a stream of clarity that continues to run free. “It’s kind of like the sun poking through, saying ‘here’s the light.’” I could almost see her smiling through the phone.

Her style, free-form—in its truest sense—is reminiscent of renowned avant-garde poets, such as ee cummings, who famously shunned conventional punctuation, phrasing, and syntax, using words like “because” as nouns and the pronoun ‘i” in lowercase. Fittingly, he is one of Melineh’s favorite poets. “I love the way he uses punctuation and form. He is so completely free, and at the same time, very controlled. That is what I strive to get in my own personal world,” says the young poet. 

Along with balance, poetry has served as a safe space for Melineh to connect deeper and find her truth. “It doesn’t judge me,” she states before adding, “you know that journey that Santiago goes on in the Alchemist? I feel like I’ve had a similar quest through poetry. I’m not on a crusade but a journey!”


What’s next?

“Everything in life either compresses or releases energy. This morning, I woke up with this beautiful clarity, from a very high energy place. I’ve been creating a lot lately.” And some of those creations will make their way to our platform, but Melineh clarifies, no two of her poems are the same style or formatting. Her next h-pem submission, titled "Lady Libertine," has a more romantic tone, similar to the style of British poet, Alfred Tennyson. She’s also been inspired by the brilliance of contradictory poet, Welshman Dylan Thomas. 

As we end our chat, Melineh states that she looks forward to “a very fluid and enlightening relationship” with us. The feeling is mutual!


Read 'Equ-I-pose' and 'Lady Libertine' below



By: Melineh Yemenidjian

I wallow in /walls 
{between wedges of stone}
     little do I k+no+w
     the more I crumb;le,
     the closer                       < I am>
            to the pin(hole)s of liGHt 
            er/upting from erosi*on
 making way? for ev@lution
     so I may |perfect] the tools
           to build SomeThing better




Lady Libertine

By: Melineh Yemenidjian

No one has called me a libertine
yet I think the title fits
I want to live life, unrestrained
Often chomping at the bits

Moral tethers pull me close
to the life that is designed
to manage women in the throes
of passion, thriving in divine 

I have a man and child
who depend on me at home
but my soul is without care 
and wants to freely roam 

I am pulled apart by mortal coil
tossed by tempests of my past
to contrive meaning from the toil
and realign the cast

The northern star is my direction
most nights while I sail into night
but wanderlust roils in my bones
when tempted with delight


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