The winners of the International Armenian Literary Alliance’s second Young Armenian Poets Awards have been announced, and their winning poems published in h-pem magazine. Congratulations to poets Ani Apresyan, Juliette Hagobian, and Taleen Sahakian.
This year’s contest asked students, how can poetry serve as a bridge between Armenia and the over five million persons of full or partial Armenian ancestry living outside it today? What kinds of conversations might be necessary between Armenians and the world or across the diaspora itself? The prompt used Yerevan poet Marine Petrossian’s “Let’s Build a Bridge,” in which she tells her intended and imaginary readers, “my country is not your country but maybe some of my dreams are your dreams also.”
In his introduction, founder and director of the awards Alan Semerdjian wrote, “This thought—that we may be connected despite our distances and language fissures and political inclinations and cliffs and divides—is more critical to our survival and prosperity than it is a radical aesthetic.” Of the winners and other applicants, Semerdjian noted that “they are extending the brave hand of empathy and lacing it in intellect and invention and serving us hope for the future—stunningly, bravely—as they speak to the other side of the imaginary bridge. They are inspirations for us all. ‘Hello, other side,’ they seem to say, ‘Here I am, and if it appears I am just as lost as you, then together we are found.’”
Click the links below to read the winning poems in h-pem magazine:
- Ani Apresyan: “In memory of the country we once recalled”
- Juliette Hagobian: “my letter to the missed armenian”
- Taleen Sahakian: “The Once-Man”
The contest was judged by IALA Advisory Board members Gregory Djanikian, Armine Iknadossian, and Raffi Joe Wartanian.
The winning poets will read their work at IALA’s second Emerging Writers Showcase — a virtual reading to highlight the work of rising Armenian writers — on Saturday, October 8, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific / 13:00 Eastern / 21:00 Yerevan time, hosted by Shahé Mankerian, IALA’s Mentorship Program director.
The event will also feature readings by the mentees of this year’s Mentorship Program, who will be introduced by their mentors. Mentees include Anna Matevosyan, Hrayr Varaz, Jen Siraganian and Tenny Minassian.
To access the virtual reading on Zoom, click here (Meeting ID: 890 5587 0730).