CHAMPAIGN — On April 18th, award-winning poet and critic Peter Balakian will give a Center for Advanced Study (CAS)/MillerComm lecture on “The Armenian Genocide, Poetry of Witness, and Postmemory” at the Spurlock Museum Auditorium at 4 p.m.
Spurlock is located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Please see this campus map for the location of the Spurlock Museum.
The event is free and open to the public and hosted by The Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies.
The past year has marked the centenary of the Armenian Genocide. In this presentation, Peter Balakian will ask how literature can witness and commemorate historical trauma. He will begin by discussing the impact of the Armenian genocide on several major Armenian poets of the 1915 generation. Considering the genocide’s impact on his own poetry, Balakian will then reflect on how the trauma of 1915 has echoed across generations and emerged as a version of postmemory—the belated remembrance of the victims’ descendants.
Balakian is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor at Colgate University. His new books are Ozone Journal and Vise and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture both from the University of Chicago Press. His books of prose include Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past, which won the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for the Art of the Memoir, and was a best book of the year for the New York Times, the LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly, and The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, which won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times Best Seller. His translation of Grigoris Balakian’s Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide was a Washington Post book of the year.
Balakian is the recipient of many awards and prizes and civic citations including a Movses Khorenatis Medal from the Republic of Armenia, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, The Spendlove Prize for Social Justice, Tolerance, and Diplomacy (recipients include President Carter), and The Emily Clark Balch Prize for poetry from the Virginia Quarterly Review. He has appeared widely on national television and radio (60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight, PBS, Charlie Rose, CNN, C-SPAN, NPR, Fresh Air, etc), and his work has been translated into a dozen languages and foreign editions including Armenian, Arabic, Bulgarian, French, Dutch, Greek, German, Hebrew, Russian, Serbo-Croation, Spanish, and Turkish.
This event is co-sponsored by: Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Department of English, Department of French and Italian, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Department of History, Department of Religion, European Union Center, Program in Comparative and World Literature, Program in Jewish Culture and Society, Spurlock Museum, The Future of Trauma and Memory Studies Reading Group.
For more information about the lecture please see: CAS/MillerComm Balakian Lecture.
Questions about the event can be directed to Helen Makhdoumian at firstname.lastname@example.org.