My poems and interview in Poetry International, San Diego State University. Marine Petrossian translated from Armenian with the author and Interviewed by Arthur Kayzakian


Once I had a house now a house I do not have
these streets are my home
rain fell I stood beneath a tree
and waited for the rain to stop
then I walked for myself pointlessly
along the wet sidewalks
cars were racing down the street
splashing water around
and wetting my clothes
the night fell
I slipped into a café
where I am now writing you this letter
of which I still do not understand what it’s about
ah yes it’s probably about how I have no house
because I do not need one
now I am like the wild lilies
someone was talking about them long ago
but I cannot remember clearly
yes now I am like the wild lilies
because I know that you will not read this letter
it will be read by others

What are your poetic origins, influences, goals?

... Thus the start of my literary life goes parallel to creation of new Armenia. The times were interesting— and also difficult. The transition from one social formation to another brought economic difficulties which were exacerbated by Karabakh war and Armenia’s blockade by Turkey. These were difficult years also for poets. In a country were until recently poetry books often had a print run of 50-100 thousand copies that were instantly sold, people suddenly stopped reading poetry. Maybe because reality was so harsh, poetry became to be seen as something irrelevant and the reader suddenly disappeared. And how were Armenian poets to respond to this? Some just stopped writing. Some stopped writing and entered politics. Some started to experiment, searching for new ways in poetry. Trying to create a conceptual framework for these experiments, I wrote an essay called “Antipoetry, or When the Poet does not Seek an Alibi”. In this essay I define antipoetry as poetry that does not look like poetry and challenges the prevailing notion of it. When poetry becomes too “poetical”, losing its connection with reality, it tries to be reborn as antipoetry, changing its language and “appearance”, trying new ways of relation with “raw” reality