The Poet Avetik Isahakian
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the death of the poet Avetik Isahakian, b. 18 Oct 1875 in Gumri (ex-Alexandropol, ex-Leninakan), d. 17 Oct 1957 in Erevan. After elementary (in Alexandropol and the convent of Harich) and secondary (at Ejmiatsin's Gevorgian seminary) schooling, he frequents the Universities of Leipzig and Zurich, where he studies literature and philosophy. He is repeatedly put to prison in Armenia (under Russian rule in those days) and decides to go into exile. For a long time he lives in France, Germany, Italy and Greece. He finally returns to Soviet Armenia in 1936, where he is lionized by the people as well as the regime. Etian H.O. writes [Armenian Reporter Int'l, 18 Jan 97, p. 5]: "Born in the idyllic region of Shirak,... Isahakian spent his childhood listening to the songs of ... Armenian troubadours [and] hearing stories of epic events like David of Sassoon... Sergei Rachmaninov... was thrilled when he read one of his poems, 'The Little Willow,' and in excitement set it to music, 'because,' he said, 'the melody was inherent in the verse.' Isahakian's [long poem entitled] Abu Lala Ma[h]ari has fascinated writers and readers all over the world." Celebration of this anniversary has begun whilst events will stretch out throughout the year, in Armenia as well as the rest of the world