Other Voice, The
Armenian Women's Poetry Through the Ages

(ISBN: 0-9648787-4-7)
AIWA Press (Publisher)
2005 Watertown
153 pages
Size: 6" x 9"
Language(s): English

Additional Artists

Maro Dalley (Editor)

The anthology, titled The Other Voice: Armenian Women's Poetry Through the Ages, provides an overview of verses composed by Armenian women beginning with old lullabies and ancient magic chants, continuing with poems from the eighth century, and proceeding through time to works by contemporary poets. Over 65 poets are represented in this anthology, with approximately 200 poems. In her Introduction to Other Voices, editor and translator Diana Der-Hovanessian points out that the earliest surviving examples of poems signed by Armenian women are from the eighth century. But ancient Armenia had a galaxy of prominent female deities: Anahid, Nané, and Astghik, to name a few. “And it is likely in the centuries before Christ,” she writes, “that poems, songs, and prayers were written by women, but the abolition of pagan rites and the destruction of pagan temples removed evidence.” The only surviving record of Armenian women's writing from pre-Christian times is to be found in the folk epics, fairytales, songs, and other oral traditions that have been handed down through the ages. The Other Voice opens with a section of Anonymous Folk Chants and Lullabies, such as “Apricot Tree” and “Go and See Who Ate the Goat.” These are followed by Fortune-Telling Verses and Ancient Magical Cures and Spells. The earliest identifiable poets are Khosrovidoukht Koghnatsi and Sahakdought Siunetsi, who date from the eighth century. Scraps of verses by Armenian women survive from the Middle Ages and early modern times, but it is only with the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries that poetry by Armenian women can be found in large numbers. The Other Voice includes samples of the social protest poetry by Shoushanik Kourghinyan and substantial sections on the popular Soviet Armenian poets Maro Markarian and Sylvia Gaboudikian. A number of lesser-known 20 th century poets are represented as well. All poems appearing in the anthology were originally published in Armenian, but their authors come from such parts of the dispersion ranging from Los Angeles, Paris, Tehran, Istanbul, Beirut, Buenos Aires . The Appendix includes brief biographies and a bibliography. Poet Diana Der-Hovanessian is the author of over 22 books of poetry and translations. For the past several years she has served as president of the New England Poetry Club, where she established the Daniel Varoujan prize. Much of the research for the anthology of women poets was conducted in 1994 and 1999 when she served as Fulbright professor of American poetry at Yerevan State University in Armenia . Der-Hovanessian has taught workshops on the poetry of human rights, Armenian poetry in translation, and poetry-writing at various universities. The recipient of several national awards, she is the author of How To Choose Your Past, The Burning Glass, About Time, For You on New Year's Day, and many other poetry collections.

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