| From Beirut, Lebanon | Moved in 2011
Armenia adds a new color to the palette of my poetry. Today my writing is stronger because it is rooted in this land. I do not write about patriotism, I do not need it. But the love towards my country emerges as it is – natural, pure, and heavenly.
My great grandfather was from Beredjik village of Western Armenia. Their family was a prominent one in Beredjik. During the genocide years, however, they took a refuge in Syria. My mother’s grandparents were from Adana. From there, taking the sea route, they moved to Zahlé, afterwards to Karantina refugee neighborhood.
I was born in Beirut’s BourjHammoud, which is said to be a little Armenia because of its thriving Armenian community. This environment made us grow with an Armenian identity even without putting an effort, because everything surrounding us was Armenian – the church, school, community center, streets, yards… I developed a deep interest in the Armenian language, literature and history, reading as much as possible. After school I decided to continue my education at the Armenian Studies department for two years. Meanwhile, I used to write articles and essays for different periodicals, as well as poems. They would touch the topic of fatherland from the perspective of a person who imagines the country from a distance, but not as an insider. I was very active in the literary and cultural fronts of the community in Beirut, but somehow I felt out of the picture. Indeed, we had organized a literary life there, but something was missing. I would always heavily feel the state of mind of a Diasporan.
The movement of 1988 made me ask myself many questions. I would think about what was happening in Armenia and in Karabakh. I would ask myself why I was in Beirut and not in Armenia, and many such questions. In the early 1990s I finally visited Armenia. That first visit changed a lot in me to see the real country, and not the Armenia from the books.
When Armenia celebrated its 10th anniversary of Independence, I was asked by a journalist to give an interview and share my thoughts on this occasion. Who would have thought that the journalist, Anoush Trvants, would later become my wife. She played a crucial role to turn out my dream of moving to Armenia into reality. After living in Beirut for ten years, we returned to Armenia, also bringing my parents with us. This is not a dream anymore, but a reality we live in.
The year 2011 was also prominent for my collaboration with Nigol Bezjian to make the film ‘I Left My Shoes in Istanbul’. The film is about a poet who returns to his ancestral city around hundred years later to revisit the prominent centers of the Armenian presence.
I struggled a lot trying to identify where my homeland is. I want to be an ordinary Yerevantsi, to live like them. I am sure my son will not have this struggle of belonging, because he will truly belong to this land and will be empowered by this land.
When you write about the country seeing it from inside, it adds to the quality of your writing. You talk to the country, share emotions, even get angry with, but you always return to it.