Columbia University’s Armenian Center to celebrate release of Balakian’s new book

A Zoom discussion featuring poets Peter Balakian and Kathleen Ossip will be held on March 23 at 7pm in celebration of the release of Balakian’s collection of poems No Sign

The event is co-sponsored by the Columbia University Armenian Center and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). Registration is required. 

The Armenian Center has partnered with a local bookstore to ship personalized, signed copies of No Sign and Ossip’s 2021 collection of poems July

In his new poetry collection, Balakian wrestles with national and global cultural and political realities, including challenges for the human species amid planetary transmutation and the impact of mass violence on the self and culture. At the collection’s heart is No Sign, another in Balakian’s series of longform poems, following A-Train/Ziggurat/Elegy and Ozone Journal, which appeared in his previous two collections. In this dialogical multi-sectioned poem, an estranged couple encounters each other, after years, on the cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades. Their dialogue reveals the evolution of a kaleidoscopic memory spanning decades, reflecting on the geological history of Earth and the climate crisis, the film Hiroshima Mon Amour, the Vietnam War, a visionary encounter with the George Washington Bridge and the enduring power of love.

Whether meditating on the sensuality of fruits and vegetables, the COVID-19 pandemic, the trauma and memory of the Armenian Genocide, James Baldwin in France, or Arshile Gorky in New York City, Balakian’s layered, elliptical language, wired phrases and shifting tempos engage both life’s harshness and beauty and define his inventive and distinctive style.

Peter Balakian (Photo: Mark D’Orio)

Balakian is the author of eight books of poems including Ozone Journal, which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry; and Ziggurat, both published by the University of Chicago Press. His memoir Black Dog of Fate won the PEN/Albrand Award and was a New York Times notable book. The Burning Tigris won the Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times bestseller and New York Times notable book. He is Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar professor of the humanities in the Department of English at Colgate University.

Kathleen Ossip

Ossip’s most recent book of poems, July, was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2021. She is also the author of The Do-Over, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice; The Cold War, which was one of Publishers Weekly‘s Best Books of 2011; The Search Engine, selected by Derek Walcott for the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize; and Cinephrastics, a chapbook of movie poems. Her poems have appeared widely in such publications as The Washington Post, The Best American Poetry, The Best American Magazine Writing, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, The New Republic, The Believer, Poetry, Paris Review, and many others. She has received a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and she has been a fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. She teaches at the New School and at Princeton University. 

For more information, contact Prof. Khatchig Mouradian at

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