hasmik hakobyan

The diversity of world orders, the thematic-structural elements,the variety of solution of primary problems make the modern poetry significant. Each type of poetry puts its world order and the language of thinking. The words become conventional signs of reality.
So what is the poetic reality? What is the function of poetic word? Different poetic directions have different answers for these questions.
In 1980s there appeared a new direction in Aremenia literature (Ashot Avdalyan, Hakob Movses, Zaven Bekyan, Hrachya Beyleryan and others), in which the most important element was language. During one of his interviews Hakob Movses says: “Language in poetry becomes something secondary, a means of communication, at best a message. The language disappears in poetry, the sound in music, the colour in painting: the science becomes a technology”.
After the death of Ashot Avdalyan Hakob Movses began to pay much attention to this direction. The poetry of Hakob Movses is like a linguistic ritual, a complete structure with the purest linguistic layers. George Agamben in his philosophical article notes: ”Poetry is nothing but a linguistic function, whose main aim is to stop its communicative and informative functions”.
Henrik Edoyan and Hrachya Tarazyan have two different concepts of poetry but both build their poetic word having a broad view on the world in between social and spiritual worlds.
During one of his interviews Henrik Edoyan says: ”After all, life is not poetry, nor is the poetry life, but there is a space between them where they meet”. For Edoyan poem is a meeting with this ‘in between world’, it is a completion of different points of time within one “light flare”

Poetry is our last look in the air
Poetry is our first echo…(H. Edoyan)

He speaks about the process of life, existence, spiritual problems. The cafe, the street, the apartment are not accidental words expressing the reality, the vitality in them fills the poetry.If we look into Edoyan’s poem “Sunday”, we will have an example of everyday household issues that turn into a broader phenomenon of living (existential) problems and the corresponding process of author’s changing vocabulary.

Sunday. Summer. Afternoon.
The backyards smell burning meat.
The noise of bottles, plates and forks
comes from the balconies.
Should I sit and think about vanity?
A blond woman crosses the street
with active steps and disappears
in the portal. Where are we going?
Where is your Sunday leading us to…?
(“P.S.”, page 234)

In his article Hrachya Tamrazyan analyses the border between the poetry and the reality. He writes: “Only by touching the outer crust of life you can feel its surface, while you can feel the phenomenon only by observing it endlessly in approaching and leaving spiritual speech”.
People are connected with words and outside world, which, on the one hand, become a complete process of life, but on the other hand, can be commented differently.
The function of words is to name the reality, the phenomena and the relationships, but sometimes they protest. They can’t choose only one of the eternal experience, and reach the point, where the object or phenomenon no longer can conceal their silence, it blows up into the sound and becomes a voice.
Roland Bart writes: ”The words are unable to explain the world, but even if they explain the world seems to be ambiguous. Any explanation used in the work becomes ambiguous”. Such as: ”When the words are naked, // The nails are seen //, I want to speak, // but I can’t” (Marine Pogosyan), ”I just revolutionize the word // and then try to read its abstract, unexplored meaning” (Vardan Hakobyan), ” Each word is a still in the dim screen of your silence (Henrik Edoyan), ”The word is trembling with the impending voice. //- Inside you, out of you and with you again” (Hrachya Tamrazyan).
The biggest updates of poetic language are clearly linked to social, public, daily-life descriptions of “a small man”, to the emergence of a new type of poetry — “anti-poetic” poetry, as it is often times perceived. For this new type of poetry there is a fundamental change of poetic material in the core and essence of poetry in general. At first glance, this poetry seems to completely reduce the notion of reality to the ground, up to daily life issues; but on the other hand, the main hero of nowadays’ poetry is the urban citizen, an individual with his/her own relations with life and social environment.
In his article Thomas Eliot writes: “Our language is continuously changing, and at the same time our life-style is also changing. Only the existence of a few persons helps us not to loose the ability to feel something new”.
The authors of sharp political poetry in our reality are Artem Harutyunyan and David Hovhannes, who put social and political events in the axis of their poetry, bringing the journalistic language to poetry (perestroika, stagnation period, blockade, party games , delegate …), thus bringing poetry closer to annals.

In the street of Astafian
In quiet and unnoticeable manner
Kicks people out of their buildings
Into the freezing streets
That have already tasted the
The tail and the hoof
Of the invisible democracy
The bullets and the getaway looting
of the cheater banks (all the 42)…

In the last book of A. Harutyunyan publicistic language and structures occupy so much space that they remove lyrical feelings and all the word layers commenting that lyric poetry.
D. Hovhannes writes: “This is not the age of poetry and we are not living in the country of poetry” .
Poetry is a more inclusive concept when we discuss the relationships between man and society. The main poetry hero for Hovhannes Grigoryan, Violet Grigoryan (mostly her first collection “Verily, verily I say”), Edward Militonyan, Varlen Alexanian is the common man living in daily domestic relations, social environment with his/her simple, small human aspirations. Their language is corresponding to the description of everyday’s images (refrigerator, TV, bread queue, office, apartment, print, phone). This is the contrast scale, on one side of which the poet puts everyday’s reality and on the opposing side – the spiritual feelings, thus creating a large bias.
The linguistic state of modern poetry is connected with the postmodern philosophy. The standard sequences of speech are oftener replaced by broken models of language and acquire chaotic features, including game, parody, farce, intertextual references, the dissolution of static constructions in their structure. In his article Zhenya Qalantaryan writes: “Poetry was born in the game and it feels comfortable there”.
In his poem Hovhannes Grigoryan used the format and vocabulary of police report and got such a new structure:

Some interesting information
At the end of the 20th century at 16:15
The Armenia people left their country and never came back
External signs are centuries-old, much suffered,
Talented, hard-working, patient
With eyes full of melancholy
With hearts broken several times
As soon as you see them
Please inform the Parliament
Which needs people for a few days for elections…

Similar standard structures create beneficial environment for the dissolving “anti-poetry”: Regular sequence and specific vocabulary are easily interchanged and result in new theme and new language:
Intertextual references and the usage of aluzies play the leading part in contemporary poetry, which depending on the type of inserted text provide with an appropriate stylization and linguistic layer.
Nerses Atabekyan is one of those unique writers who can not only treat the intertextual references correctly but also write a poem based on them. “Give me a fulcrum”,- Once Archimedes said when was drunk,” give me a fulcrum to get home: that is to say to go home. (N.Atabekyan)
All the components of modern poetry, including language, avoid using stately, grand words or expressions always preferring more natural, usual and everyday words, as Armen Shekoyan says: “I always try to bring my writing to my oral speech, but always something hinders me”.
Parody and laugh joining the free speech help people to dispel their fear towards the end of the world. The hero of Hovhannes Grigoryan’s poem permit himself to make a joke with God: “Until it’s too late forgive his sins, God, // and if it is possible receive his soul to heaven or at least to purgatory // but not to hell because he will meet his friends there and the corruption will prosper at once…”
It is also typical of modern poetry to mention the whole names and surnames of people. On the one hand the phenomenon is an echo taken from the reference field, on the other hand it equals the space between the writer and the hero of the poem.
Armen Shekoyan fully takes into antipoetic sphere of dissolution by his famous poem “Yerevan Hotel” which is in essence a whole list of names. All poetical elements are left out: The expected poetry is the inquiry of own name.

More and more writers use external impulses to reveal their feelings. Vahe Arsen brings such an example:

It is impossible
to hide from Samsung’s fiery commercials
especially if it snows
And you are alone inside.
Recently there appeared an alarming tendency in youth poetry: a group of words is considered old-fashioned. Inga Kuznetsova writes: “The writers are afraid of being ordinary and predictable so they avoid using simple words. They don’t believe that besides their sound form there is reality behind these words”.
Noteworthy are the linguistic violations, which basically aim at deriving a new word, new structure. Unless the linguistic innovations, language will never develop, but on the other hand it is very difficult to attain perfect “Irregularity”Vulgarizmes, irregular word order, fashionable words and phrases are false innovations.
The boldest young language creator is undoubtedly Karen Antashyan. Used parody and farce let interact both static semantic (like the poems by Biblical titles: “Mysterious breakfast”, ”My(no long)pain or do not covert”, ”Genesis”) and linguistic models and colloquialism.
Hasmik Simonyan tries to create a unique linguistic structure with repeated word-expressions, such as park by park, autumn by autumn, with womanish peevishness and extraordinary comparisons.For Armenian the barrier between the written and oral speech has become a great problem. All the changes of the grammar structures come from oral speech.
Ljudmila Zubanov writes: “Changes always occur in the language. They are always beyond the norms. Common parlance, jargonisms distorting linguistic norms cause the dissatisfaction of the literate mass of the society. All the linguistic changes begin with the colloquial mistakes. Linguistic games and provocations enable us to observe different problems between the system and the norm”.
So this is the state of modern Armenian poetry. We just tried to give the general description of the most important tendencies, and of course, we realize that it is impossible to make a complete research in one article. More specific language layers and structures are still waiting for their turn.

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