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A Century of Grief: Our Armenian Ancestors' 100th Anniversary

Posted by Arc, 8th May 2015

'We uncover the beauty of our throats, dreadfully silent and mute, promising no songs.' -Razmik Davoyan

A century has passed since 1,500,000 Armenians became the victims of genocide. Even today it remains hidden and entangled within the convoluted events of WW1. Mass murder, abduction, stolen villages, torture and exile all testify that this past century has been a grievous one for thousands of Armenians.

The work of the outstanding Armenian poet Razmic Davoyan provides us with a renewed sense of acceptance in the aftermath of genocide. Davoyan creates a transferable link between the personal and the universal. His poems represent a place between the dark and light, hope and devastation, but most importantly what it means to have an Armenian identity. The poet's eyes work as witness, his body an affirmation, and his ears are always listening out for the flow of faith (and the springs of human resilience).

Davoyan's Requiem poems are bursting with emotional resonance, relating events that are horrific and atrocious. 'Our smiles were shattered on our faces / with a stone fist.' Requiem is hard-hitting, infectious, heart-felt and incredibly moving. 'Our blood is earth melted in sunlight.'

In the Armenian literary community (and many others) Razmik is regarded as one of Armenia's greatest living poets. His writing have aided the resurrection of a civilisation which, at one time, almost completely ceased to exist. 'And you find / The scream of an abyss hidden under each rock. / Wake up / Wake up / Wake up.' His poems lift us into a domain of dignity and present us with a canvas painted of a profound endurance.

Razmik is capable of making us question our belief systems, ideals and opinions. It is what makes his work so powerful. He is capable of offering the reader a type of collective consciousness which directly addresses universal suffering and a deep and indelible part of human history.

In this centenary year of the Genocide, Razmik was in a delegation to The Vatican in recognition of his achievements. The traditional Mass was accompanied by an Armenian choir singing Armenian music, and an Armenian religious ritual, both of which were unprecedented at St Peter's Basilica - apparently, only Vatican choirs and clergy are allowed to perform services there. Razmik commented that the Mass was very moving.

Razmik gave an autographed copy of his volume of poems 'Whispers and Breath of the Meadows' to the Pope's Armenian Ambassador.