‘Poetry is primarily an intellectual art that speaks directly to the idea.’ —Zareh Khrakhouni
ISTANBUL (A.W.)—Famed Armenian poet Zareh Khrakhouni passed away in Istanbul on Nov. 27 at the age of 89. Khrakhouni (born Arto Jumbishian) was born in Istanbul on Oct. 26, 1926. After receiving his primary education at Istanbul’s Kapamajian School, he continued his studies in Vienna at the Mkhitarian Secondary College, from which he graduated in 1945. After returning to Istanbul, he studied philosophy, law, and literature at Istanbul University, graduating in 1951. Khrakhouni continued his education in Paris, studying literature and art history.
Khrakhouni’s first published poem was “Haghtanag” (“Victory”), which appeared in the Mkhitarian Alumni Association’s journal in 1948. From 1952-58, he taught philosophy, psychology, and Armenian language at Istanbul’s Esayan School. He also taught at the Getronagan Lycee, where he was also the vice principal.
During his career, Khrakhouni published several collections of poems, articles, studies, reviews, editorials, and translations—mostly of contemporary French literature. Beginning in 1958, he served as the editor of Istanbul’s “Toh” Armenian literary journal. Many of his collections of poems, including “Donagark“ (“The Celebration Order”), Tyutsaznahantes (“The Parade of Heroes”), Kar Gatilner (“Stone Tears”), Yes Yev Urishner (“I and Others”), and Nshmarner Myus Yeresen (“Glimpses from the Other Side”), have been awarded literary prizes over the years. In 1989, Khrakhouni was awarded the St. Sahag-St. Mesrob Medal from Catholicos Vazgen I.
Khrakhouni was also the recipient of Hamazkayin’s Anahid Literary Award, the AGBU Alek Manougian Cultural Foundation Award, the Elize Kavoukjian Literary Award, the Haygashen Uzunian Literary Prize, as well as the Movses Khorenatsi Medal of the Republic of Armenia, and the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople’s highest Medal of Honor.
Khrakhouni will be laid to rest on Dec. 3 at Beyoglu’s Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, in a national funeral service officiated by Archbishop Aram Ateshian, general vicar of the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople.