Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Old Language

And the old man wept, for there was no better language to explain his loss.

The Old Language
A New Revised Edition

Short Stories. Poems. A Memoir.
by William Michaelian

Translated by Samvel Mkrtchyan

[First published in Armenian as a paperback in 2005 in Yerevan, Armenia.]

See also:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Samvel Mkrtchyan: Armenian Translations

In addition to my treasured copy of Selected Armenian Poets, I am also in receipt of a sturdy, tastefully done two-volume set of Armenian translations by Samvel Mkrtchyan, whose gifted, tireless effort is making English and American literature accessible to readers of the Armenian language. His powerful, musical rendering of Joyce’s Ulysses alone is enough to earn him the status of Giant in Armenian letters. In reading it, one almost forgets the book was written in Joyce’s own lunatic English — the Armenian is that effective. And I expect a similar result as I slowly make my way through his rendering of voices as diverse as Spenser and Poe, Faulkner and Eliot, Shakespeare, Whitman, Sandburg, Melville, Williams, Yeats, Thomas, and Pound. Will I understand it all? No. But my understanding will grow, and I relish the revelations the process of reading in another alphabet and language involves. The fact is, for me, even when reading English, literal meaning is only part of the equation, and often not the largest part. Words and the spaces between them are inspiring and disturbing, and I wonder and wander among them as I would maps and pillars and towns. A book is an ancient pyramid or temple in ruins: beware the scorpion within, the sudden hand on the shoulder, the unexpected breath, the veil, the whisper, the call. And yes — that is your name written on the wall.

From the Translator

Samvel Mkrtchyan:
Armenian Translations from English and American Literature

Monday, November 12, 2012

Selected Armenian Poets

Selected Armenian Poets
Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged

In English, Compiled and Edited



Contents arranged by birth date, beginning with the year 348

Warm thanks to the editor† for including five poems from my books,
Another Song I Know (Cosmopsis Books, 2007)
and The Painting of You (Author’s Press Series, Vol. 1, 2009).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The other hand clapping

We met in the library lobby outside the Friends store. “Bless you,” he said, “for all of your hair. It’s beautiful. It shows you are full of spirit.”

He told me his name. Asked me mine. Said he still plays the drums. He’s sixty-seven. Gray stubble on his face. Wearing second-hand clothes.

“Bless you,” he said again, clasping my hand and looking into my eyes, “for still being here with us, alive in the world. I’m so glad we met.”

“Me, too,” I said.

“We’ll meet again, I’m sure. Yes... this is no accident.”

He left the library. I entered the store.