Hovhannes Shiraz is one of the most original Armenian poets of the 20th century. He debuted in the Armenian literature as a representative of the new flow of ideas.
Accordingly, within his poems Shiraz reconsidered the concepts of motherland, its nature, love and other topics. So, meet this talented Armenian poet.
Who is Hovhannes Shiraz?
Hovhannes Shiraz was born in 1915 in Alexandrapol (present-day Gyumri). Little Hovhannes grew up in poverty. He worked in mills and trades. Soon he enrolled in Yerevan State University after graduating from school.
In 1956, he graduated from Moscow Maxim Gorki Literature Institute. This talented boy published his first book of poems when he was only 20 years old. It was called “Spring Dawn”. It was in this book that the poet first revealed his perception of world, emotions and feelings with unique hues of Armenian nature.
Eventually, Hovhaness Shiraz published basically poetry. He is an author of many popular love and patriotic poems They included “Ani”, “My Mother”, “May my love remain a secret”, “Expromptu”, “Like the Pagan Love”, “My Holy Motherland”, “The Fate of Armenians”, “To Andranik”.
There is no doubt, that writers play a core role in their nation’s history by touching upon the most important and sometimes tragic issues. Armenian poets perform far more important roles. They pass to other generations the memories of the past, lost motherland and the aspiration to fight for historical justice.
Hovhannes Shiraz couldn’t be any exception. His “The Armenian Dante-esque” is about the Armenian genocide, a topic that was banned in Soviet Union.
Hovhannes Shiraz & His Influence on Armenian Literature
Shiraz is an author of about 40 books of poems and translations. His poems stand out with rich vocabulary and sensitive style, abundant with folk and colloquial elements.
This is how, his poetry is considered one of the highest achievements of Armenian literature. Even critics find many of his works masterpieces.
Legacy of Hovhannes Shiraz
It goes without saying that Armenians know how to honor the greatest individual of our nation. They usually name streets, schools after them. In token of respect to the great poet, school #169 and a street in Ajapnyak district in Yereven were named after him.
But his fame was not limited within the borders of Armenia. Many outstanding people throughout the world knew the Armenian poet personally. He was well known in Iran as well. To his honor, a street in Julfa of Isfahan is named after him.
Interesting facts about Hovhannes Shiraz
Nearly all writers tend to have a pen name. Hovahannes Shiraz is the pen name for Onik Karapetyan. There are different opinions about how he gained that name.
According to one of them, Novelist Atrpet called the talented poet “Shiraz”, because this youth’s poems have the fragrance of roses, fresh and covered with dew, like the roses of Shiraz. By the way, Shiraz is a major city in Iran. It is famous for its roses and poets.
It might sound strange, but one can really feel the smell of roses and fresh air while reading his poems dedicated to spring. Another version of his pen name is “Shirak azn”—a child of Shirak. It is the region he came from.
Hovhannes Shiraz was married to equally well-known writer Silva Kaputikyan. They had a son who was a sculptor. Shiraz had seven children from his second marriage. One of his sons was a poet like his father.
Hovhannes Shiraz was all about an awesome sense of humor. Even Steinback noticed it during his visit to Yerevan. They spend a great deal of time together and managed to make friends.
While studying Shiraz closely, one will find out that he struggled against corrupt Soviet government. When he learned about being awarded the “Order of Lenin”, he just cut everybody short:
“Do they want to buy my silence?”
Literary Activities of Hovhannes Shiraz
Literary legacy of Hovhannes Shiraz is huge. Whenever a book of his works is published it can be sold out in a few days. It is noteworthy, that his “A Monument to my Mother” was published in 50000 examples.
All books were sold out. Besides, his poetry is nationalistic, something close to every Armenian’s heart. So, stay tuned to read the English descriptions of the most popular and famous poems by Hovhannes Shiraz.
Hovhannes Shiraz Poem #1: I Measured the World with My Mum’s Heart
The best works of Shiraz’s poetry are dedicated to mothers. They are above everything. To him, a mother is a sacred source of power.
The poem “I measured the world with my mom’s heart” comes to prove it. It is about love she (the mother) carries in her heart and gives generously to everybody.
Such loving heart is even greater and bigger than the world itself. She is depicted as an embodiment of his motherland.
Hovhannes Shiraz Poem #2: My Holy Motherland
Shiraz’s patriotic poetry is very comprehensive; historical past, revival of Armenia, life in Diaspora, the importance of the Armenian language.
Within these poems he remains the true warrior of his beloved motherland. This poem highlights his love and devotion towards Armenia. The author doesn’t want to shout about his love, but to prove it with his actions. He is even ready “to burn like a candle in token of the glory of his holy motherland” to lighten its way.
Hovhannes Shiraz Poem # 3: Disillusionment with Love
The topic of love is inseparable of Shiraz’s poetry. While reading his poems about love, one may experience all states of love: impulsive love, delight and even coolness of love.
However, this very poem comes to tell about how deeply the author is disappointed with love. She breaks his heart. That feeling is very painful for him.
He feels only hatred and disillusionment. Thus, he realizes that his love is only a worthless illusion. He is even glad to get rid of such kind of love.
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