WATERTOWN, Mass.—The first-ever English translation of the 75 year-old Armenian classic—Letter to Yerevan—debuted at number one on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for both “Russian and Former Soviet Union Poetry” and “Middle Eastern Poetry” categories. It also debuted in the number 8 spot of Amazon’s poetry books the week of its release.
“We are overwhelmed by the public’s positive response to the book and the community’s willingness to support a worthwhile cause,” said Rupen Janbazian, one of the translators of Tzarukian’s long-form poem. Copies of the Hairenik Press publication are now available for purchase at the Hairenik Bookstore (80 Bigelow Avenue, Watertown, Mass.).
The publication of “Letter to Yerevan is the first of several planned initiatives celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Hairenik Association. All the proceeds from book sales are directly donated to the Hairenik Association’s Newspaper Digitization Project, which will be digitizing and publicizing the archives of the Hairenik Daily (Armenian), Hairenik Weekly (English), the Armenian Weekly (English) and the Hairenik Weekly (Armenian).
The translation was a collaborative effort between Janbazian—the former editor of the Armenian Weekly—and Tatul Sonentz-Papazian— the former director of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and First Republic of Armenia Archives and former editor of the Armenian Review.
Copies of the book are also available for purchase at Amazon.com (paperback and digital versions) and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) Bookstore (temporarily located at the AGBU New England Headquarters – 247 Mt Auburn Street, Watertown, Mass.). Letter to Yerevan will soon be available at several Armenian booksellers and institutions across North America in the coming weeks.
“Letter to Yerevan (1945) is urgent and timeless. It may seem easy to turn the page on an oeuvre penned in a political context that no longer exists. Yet Andranik Tzarukian’s powerful poetic rebuttal continues to resonate. When, as in the aftermath of the Velvet Revolution in Armenia, ‘Dashnak dogs’ and other Abov-esque tropes are unleashed, Tzarukian’s Letter is the best antidote. Hence its urgency. When history is distorted and ‘alternative facts’ are tossed around, Tzarukian’s Letter is highly relevant. Hence its timelessness,” said Columbia University professor Dr. Khatchig Mouradian on the occasion of the book’s publication.
The English translation of Tzarukian’s poem was announced on May 28, 2017—the 99th anniversary of the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia (1918-1920)—and published in book form on Christmas Eve 2018 —74 years to the day that Tzarukian sent his lengthy rebuttal to Abov’s publisher in Soviet Yerevan.
“Translators Sonentz-Papazian and Janbazian, two generations apart, are themselves testament to the enduring power of this work that reaches English-language readers on the 100th anniversary of the First Armenian Republic,” added Mouradian.
Parts of Sonentz-Papazian and Janbazian’s translation were periodically published in the Armenian Weekly between 2017 and 2018.
“The translators, editors, illustrator and designers have all graciously donated their time and efforts to making the publication of this book a reality and for that, we are extremely grateful,” the Hairenik Association said in a statement at the time of the book’s release.
Established in 1899, the Hairenik Press is the publishing division of the Hairenik Association of the ARF of the Eastern United States. Its headquarters are in Watertown (80 Bigelow Avenue, 02472).