Yeghishe Charents

Nearly 73 years after his death the quality and the contemporary purchase of his poetry lives and make us think about. This year we’re going to celebrate the 113th anniversary of Yeghishe Charents (Yeghishe Soghomonyan) was born in Kars in 1897 to a family involved in the rug trade. He attended Armenian secondary school in Kars. The city of Kars, as mentioned in his early works had `nothing with which to seduce him. “Its main street was but a “cart track”, “narrow”, “hot, dusty” and almost “always empty”, it was “a city with no colour”, where people were starving. Charents bursts into the world of poetry being young, blazing and impossibly energetic. With unflagging enthusiasm sustained by an unshakeable confidence in the legitimacy of his vision and ambition he addresses the present and the future, the men and women of his day as well as those “yet to be born”. In 1912, he had his first poem published in the Armenian periodical “Patani”. Amid the upheavals of the First World War and the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, he volunteered to fight in a detachment in 1915 for the Caucasian Front. From the front he wrote “A Danteesque Legend” a harrowing witness to war and genocide. Charents’s revolutionary activities began in 1919. His first revolt was against parental authority and the stifling provincial education he was subjected to. It is recorded in “Homo Sapiens”. Beginning from 1920 he worked at the Ministry of Education as the director of the Art Department. He was a teacher, a lecturer, an editor. His collected works amount to at least 8 substantial volumes, – include a dramatic autobiography and a provocative socio-political history of his turbulent times. Masterpieces, among Charent’s works include the series of “Odes” and “To My Armenia”, “On the Road”. He also translated works of foreign writers such as “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift and King Leer by William Shakespeare. Charents never ceased to be a communist. But his resistance to Stalinism was sheer enough to lead directly to his death. In 1936 he was arrested and sent to prison, and a year later, in 1937 Charets died in loneliness, being chronic invalid and unconscious.

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