Meet the 2023 Young Armenian Poets Awards winners

“It’s hard not to think of the prompt for this year’s Young Armenian Poets Awards (YAPA) as a dark harbinger of things to come for the Armenian people of Artsakh and, indeed, all Armenians around the globe. This notion of visibility and how it relates to our identity and experience is now profoundly impacting us to our very core, as nearly all of Artsakh’s 120,000 residents have been forced to leave their homeland and have become refugees,” writes YAPA’s founder and director Alan Semerdjian in his introductory statement for h-pem, which has graciously collaborated with the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA) for the third year in a row.

In 2023, the theme of “Visibility” resonates deeply as the Armenian people face challenging times, particularly in Artsakh. The lack of media coverage and international support for the Armenian community is disheartening, leading many to feel as though it is disappearing before their own eyes. However, YAPA continues to shine a spotlight on these issues through the power of poetry. This year’s winning and honorable mention poems offer poignant reflections on identity, remembrance and resistance.

IALA congratulates winners Isabel Nargizian, Sofia Viana Ogulluk, Vladimir Mkrtchian and honorable mention Alessandra Agopian, and expresses its gratitude to judges Gregory Djanikian, Armine Iknadossian and Raffi Wartanian, whose insightful commentary on the winning works, along with Semerdjian’s full statement, can be read here.

Follow the links below to read the winning poems in h-pem magazine:

  • Isabel Nargizian: “Mother my shadow” (Winner)
  • Sofia Viana Ogulluk: “The Children of Armenia” (Winner)
  • Vladimir Mkrtchian: “Anahit’s Legacy” (Winner)
  • Alessandra Agopian: “Seen by Armenians” (Honorable Mention)

The young poets, along with IALA’s 2023 Mentorship Program cohort, will read their work at IALA’s third annual Emerging Writers Showcase — a virtual reading to highlight the work of rising Armenian writers — on Sunday, , at 9:00 a.m. Pacific | 12:00 p.m. Eastern | 8:00 p.m. a.m.t. The event, hosted by IALA Mentorship Program director Shahé Mankerian, will also help raise funds for four Artsakhtsi writers from IALA’s community who were forcibly displaced from their homes and found refuge in different regions of Armenia. Register here.