Pushkin Club: an Evening of Poetry to Mark the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide

Poems from Osip Mandelstam's Armenia Cycle, works by Chichibabin, Balmont and Tarkovsky, and poems from Armenia spanning more than 1000 years of history on this important anniversary.  Introduced by David Brummell and read in English and Russian by Alla Gelich, Lucy Daniels and Helen Szamuely.  

David Brummell, who is introducing the evening, is a long-standing member of Pushkin Club and a former trustee of Pushkin House (2004-2013).  Alla Gelich, our Russian reader, is also a long-standing member of the Pushkin Club, and has recited Russian poetry on numerous occasions – in Great Britain, Russia, Belgium, Holland and Germany.  Lucy Daniels is a former long-serving Chairman of the Pushkin Club and has read English translations of Russian poems on numerous previous occasions. Her ‘Self Portraits’, was performed in February at the Jermyn Street Theatre.  Helen Szamuely is an historian, translator and commentator on current affairs. A founder member of the Glasnost Poetry Reading Group in the late 1980s, she has translated and performed many Russian poems.

Introduction by David Brummell           

Armenian Poems

The translation of Poem No.9 ‘The Dance’ is by Garbis Yessayan. The translations of all the other poems are from An Anthology of Armenian Poetry

1.  Grigor Narekatsi (951-1003) – from the Book of Lamentations

Oh righteous sun…

Three poems by Hovaness Erzengatsi Blouze (1230-1293)

2.   The tongue of the righteous man is golden

3.  Blessed Is He Who Repents

4.  I Need Never Sigh

5.   Sayat Nova (1722-1795) – Listen to Me

6.   Raphael Badganian (1830-1892) - The Armenian Girl Dancing

When she gets up to dance…

7.   Raffi (Hagop Melik-Hagopian) (1837-1888) – Lake Of Van (excerpt)

Everything below the moon is silent.

8.  Missak Medzarents (1886-1908) – Twilight

Like a girl in saffron walking…

9.   Siamanto (Adom Yarjanian) (1878-1915) – The Dance

Her blue eyes, drowned in tears…

10.    Daniel Saroujan (184-1915) – The Idol of Beauty

Let your marble be excavated…

11.   Hovaness Toumanian (1869-1925) – Akhtamar

Every night, in secret…

12.   Vahan Derian (1885-1920) – The Last Poet

Am I the last singer then…

13.   Gosdan Zarian (185-1969) Ecce Homo

I weave my own crown of thorns…

14.   Eghishe Charents (1897-1937) - Insomnia

Iron shoes, metal shoes, clattering on…

15.    Kourken Mahari (1903-1969) – Longing

Golden girl, yellow girl, girl of wheat…

Barounr Sevag (1924-1972)

16.   Your Unripe Love (1963)   

Kevork Emin (1919-1998):

17.   Ararat (1970)  

We stand rooted…

From Osip Mandelstam’s Armenia Cycle

The Mandelstam poems are translated by Richard Mckane; the poems by Tarkovsky and Chichiban are translated by Helen Szamuely.

18.  IHere work appears to people/as a six-winged menacing bull // Как бык шестикрылый и грозный

19.   IITo colour Armenia // Ты красок себе пожелала

20.   III   Ah, I’m blind, and I’ve gone deaf // Ах, ничего я не вижу, и бедное ухо оглохло

21.  IV You stood every evening Закутав рот, как влажную розу

22.     V The stones scream // Орущих камней государство

23.    VI    The rose is frozen in the snow // Холодно розе в снегу

24.   Arseny Tarkovsky – Komitas / Комитас

My soul wants nothing. // Ничего душа не хочет

25.   Boris Chichibabin – Second psalm to Armenia / Второй псалом Армении

Armenia, from the mountains you sweep down stones // Армения, - руша камения с гор

Details of guest Performers

David Brummell, who is introducing the evening, is a long-standing member of Pushkin Club and a former trustee of Pushkin House (2004-2013).

Alla Gelich, our Russian reader, is also a long-standing member of the Pushkin Club, and has recited Russian poetry on numerous occasions – in Great Britain, Russia, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

Helen Szamuely is an historian, translator and commentator on current affairs. A founder member of the Glasnost Poetry Reading group in the late 1980s, she has translated many Russian poems and read them at Pushkin Club. Helen has chosen the translations from Armenian poetry to be read this evening.

Ken Young has read English translations of Russian poems on a number of occasions at Pushkin Club, including in October 2014 at the event we held for the “Celebration of the Life and Work of Mikhail Lermontov” on the bicentenary of Lermontov’s birth.