17th - 22nd October 2013


Violet Grigorian


Violet Grigorian

Violet Grigorian was born in 1962 in Tehran. In 1975 she moved to Soviet Armenia with her family. She studied philology at the Khachatur Abovian State Institute of Pedagogy. She is the founder and co-editor of "Bnagir" literary journal. She is a member of "Center for Free Speech". Has hosted a number of TV series. She has published five volumes of poetry, Verily, Verily I say (1990, Yerevan), Verily, Verily I say, City (1998, Los Angeles), It's Such a Harsh Winter (in Armenian and French, 2000, France).

Violet Grigorian is a member of the Writers' Union of Armenia since 1990. In 1986 she won the Communist Youth Society Prize for Literature and in 1991 she received the Writers' Union Annual Award for True, I'm Telling the Truth (1991). In 2000 she won the "Golden Reed" State Prize for Literature for The City (1998).

Her poems have been anthologized in France, and in the English-language collections Anthology of the Armenian PEN Centre (Yerevan, 1999); From Ararat to Angeltown by Emily Artinian, (London, 2005); The Other Voice: Armenian Women's Poetry Through the Ages (2006); and Deviation: an Anthology of Contemporary Armenian Literature (2008). Her poems have also been translated into Slovak, Macedonia, Georgian and Ukrainian.



Yellow leaves in the empty cage of autumn
blood-stained, scattered
blood-stained feathers - that's all,
the cat has eaten the firebird.

And everything is lost forever...

White gloves on the keyboard,
And on the black sheen of the piano
A dark red rose, thick, fierce.
Delicate fingers move skillfully
And the tune rises to question
    Was the leg of firebird good?
   Good it was, good the choir
of the black cats belches in four-part harmony.

And everything is lost forever...

blue tulle, wild-weak,
and the dancer, gifted, slim
sparkles and fades in the tulle,
now she soars, now retreats,
turns on tiptoe - and how she turns.
Life giving and enchanting,
she calls upon the dead feathers...
   - the devoured legs, alas, won't rise -
The full chorus of the high pitched cats hiccups the message of doom.

And everything is lost forever...

The enchanting song shall never be heard,
The withered orchard
Shall never blossom,
Shall never blossom, ever again.
Look, the last feather in pieces,
Look, the dancer faded, disappeared in her own twirls,
And the last rose - see -
Is fiercely hanging head down, over the gorge.

Ty Newydd

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