feature Navasard: Our old New Year made new Did you know that Navasard is one of the top growing queries on Google that lead to h-pem? While you may be surprised to hear our “11 facts” plays a key role in demystifying one of the most obscure pre-Christian festivals, be sure to read our exclusive piece by Hratch Demiurge on the ancient Armenian New Year—his “funny” take comes with a crescendo of poetic delights! Hratch Demiurge, comedian, poet, teacher and translator of Daniel Varoujan's Pagan Songs has generously granted h-pem the right to publish his English translation of Navasardian aghotk ar ditsouhin Anahit (“Նաւասարդեան աղօթք առ Դիցուհին Ահահիտ” | “Navasardian Prayer to the Goddess Anahit”)—Siamanto’s soulful prayer to the “golden-footed” deity who presided over the annual festivities of the month Navasard. You can find it at the end of the article below.
submission #ArtsakhPoemsOnHPem | 'In front of William Saroyan bust' by Varoujan Der Simonian At a time when people in Armenia are mourning the fallen heroes of Artsakh, one man seeks wisdom from the "crying" bust of the mid-twentieth century Armenian American writer William Saroyan in his hometown, Fresno.
submission #ArtsakhPoemsOnHPem | 'The exiled crane' (Artsakh trilogy, #3) by Harasharzh Generations of Armenians have been haunted by the crane, one of the most potent and emotive symbols ingrained in the Armenian psyche. Ever since Komitas Vardapet addressed the bird in his soulful song of a wanderer, “Oh crane, don’t you have news from our homeland?” it has been associated with ill omen, leaving the question unanswered. In the final poem of the “Artsakh Trilogy” Harasharzh gives an ironic twist to the folk-based story of the past. Steeped in renaissance style and contemporary references, the poet’s words act like a mantra in these trying days.
submission #ArtsakhPoemsOnHPem | 'New Navasardian, a sullen ode' (Artsakh trilogy, #2) by Harasharzh "New Navasardian, a Sullen Ode" is Harasharzh's second poem published by h-pem. The poet addresses Daniel Varoujan, a martyr of the Armenian Genocide, looking for wisdom in his eponymous pagan song, while the Artskah war is entering its most virulent phase. Resilience in dealing with loss remains an amorphous mix of grim sacrifice and hope, as the poet evokes the ancient gods of Armenian mythology, and challenges Varoujan in his optimism about the nation's future.
submission #ArtsakhPoemsOnHPem | 'Vaspurakan’s echo' (Artsakh trilogy, #1) by Harasharzh Can we expect war to give rise to creative beauty? What is the role of poets in contemporary warfare where sensational media leaves little to the imagination? Do poets still have to bear testimony to war? Stir feelings? Raise arguments? Can war poetry become a path to redefine identity? In "Vaspurakan's Echo," the first poem of the "Artsakh Trilogy," Harasharzh, a young American-Armenian poet, draws answers from history, literature, and the spaces between.
multimediaGuide Poem | Artsakh’s ‘The legend of the mountains’ On Sept. 27, the peaceful people of Artsakh awoke to the sound of missile strikes crashing down on their homes. In the two weeks since, this storied, ancient homeland has become the battleground for renewed violence. As an arts and cultural platform, we hope to offer some solace, strength, and solidarity through the written form. The words of beloved Artsakhtsi poet and playwright, Vazgen Ovian (1932-1987), ring as true today as they did when he penned them over 50 years ago…
multimediaGuide Soft as velvet: Miqayel Voskanyan & Friends' ‘homey’ tribute to ‘Makhmur Aghjik’ For the past nine years, the Miqayel Voskanyan & Friends Band (MVF Band) has been cementing their place in the Armenian music scene—and beyond. Their distinct take on the folk genre has taken them on tour across Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and there is hardly a club or venue in Yerevan where they have not jammed. These days, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced musicians inside. But the folks at MVF Band are undeterred. Check out the music video of their latest song, a beautiful cover of “Makhmur Aghjik,” below!
collaboration ArtLinks x h-pem | ‘Love has no thorns’: (Re)Imagining medieval poetry in the 21st century The Hamazkayin ArtLinks program has become the premier destination for all things art and Armenian for young diasporans in North America. It is no shock, then, that h-pem would join forces for a collaboration of the ages! In June 2019, the fourth installment of ArtLinks took place in the remote Canadian countryside, where a creative writing workshop stirred some creative juices. The result was a modern production of poems using a traditional style perfected by a medieval Armenian monk. Read all about it below!