Detroit Tekeyan’s Evening of Poetry a Huge Success
ADL, ARTS | SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 9:57 PM
By Lucy Ardash
DETROIT — An evening of poetry sponsored by the Tekeyan Cultural
Association of Detroit attracted a capacity audience at the beautiful
galleries of Hagopian World of Rugs on Friday, September 12.
Highlight of the event was the introduction of two books of selected
poems written by Vahan Tekeyan translated by Gerald Papasian and John
Papasian and edited by Edmond Azadian and Gerald Papasian.
The emcee for the evening, Dr. Raffi Belian, explained that Tekeyan
symbolizes the Armenian soul, Armenia’s history, tragedy, its survival
and hope through the vehicle of poetry. He then introduced Prof.
Kevork Bardakjian, the first holder of the Marie Manoogian Chair in
Armenian Language and Literature, language and culture at the
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor who gave an overview of the books.
Bardakjian praised Azadian for his efforts in an illuminating manner
to bring Tekeyan out of the dark shadows and place him in a prominent
place among poets.
Samples of Tekeyan’s poetry were read alternately in English and
Armenian. A powerful English rendition of “We Shall Say to God” was
presented by multi-talented artist Airea Matthews, who is a poet in
her own right. Well known artist Nora Azadian, who is one of the few
people who knew Tekeyan personally, presented a vivid and emotional
Armenian version of the same poem, which dealt with painful memories
of the Genocide. She stated that she chose this poem because of the
upcoming centennial of the Genocide.
David Terzibashian recited “Yes Siretzi” in Armenian followed by the
English rendition “I Have Loved” by Matthews.
The program included a number of other selections which revealed the
poet’s tortured soul.
Alice Nigoghosian, publishing consultant for the publication stated
that it was a true honor to be a part of the team to bring the poetry
of a hero and literary giant to light. She read the following quote
from the Foreword written by Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Armenian Studies
Program, California State University, Fresno: “Vahan Tekeyan,
Selected Poems is a work that will become an authoritative edition of
the work of Vahan Tekeyan, a poet whose works speak not only to the
Armenian people, but to the world.”
Edmond Azadian took the podium and expressed appreciation to the
speakers and to all whose efforts brought these volumes to fruition.
Azadian wrote the introductory chapters of the books providing insight
into the tormented life of the poet. He pointed out that the Armenian
version is geared for the readership in Armenia, many of whom are not
as familiar with Vahan Tekeyan as with other poets, since his works
were written in Western Armenian. The bi-lingual volume is for
American audiences and it is his hope that once the language barrier
is eliminated, the poet will receive the recognition he deserves.
The program was brought to a close with Matthews reciting one of her
thought-provoking original poems titled “Wisdom.” Tekeyan Detroit
Chapter Chair Diana Alexanian presented her with an inscribed copy of
the recently published book on the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum, A
Legacy of Armenian Treasures: Testimony of a People.
A wine and cheese reception coordinated by Alexanian and long time
Tekeyan supporter Pam Coultis gave guests the opportunity to mingle
and have books signed.
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