Through a special arrangement with Keghart.com, award-winning author, poet, critic, and Keghart contributor Keith Garbian is offering to our readers his anthology of poems (“The Children of Ararat”) at a special discount price of $ 15.65, including postage in Canada. The 112-page book is a collection of poems about the Genocide of Armenians and about the author’s Dikranagerd-born father, a survivor of the “Holocaust of the Armenians”. Prominent Canadian authors and critics have said the following about the remarkable collection: “Children of Ararat dares to speak the truth, loudly and clearly, about ‘The First Holocaust.'” “A momentous collection by a poet in his prime.” “We will hear the powerful passionate voice of Keith Garebian who will not be silenced and whose tongue licks the cave where the dead lie in hibernation…” “Rage, for it to work on the page, requires a control so stern it seems like ease of phrase; historical pain made personal cannot be made convincing without such control and craft as is found in these poems by Keith Garebian.” For your copy of “Children of Ararat” contact Publisher Dikran Abrahamian at [email protected]
Excerpted from Jacob Arthur Mooney’s Book Review “Prairie Harvest Times 10” (Globe and Mail, Aug. 13, 2010)
In Children of Ararat, veteran writer Keith Garebian speaks of the Armenian genocide as both global and familial history. His father was a young survivor of the atrocity, and Garebian packs his story with the pure, corporeal horror that only a child can experience. As anticipated with this sort of material, the threat of descending into a changeless “pornography of grief” is ever present, and Garebian communicates his rage better through physical objects (tendons, blood, bodies, mould) than abstractions (hope, will, shame, regret), but there’s so much precise detail in the book that the tangible always wins out.
Witness this eerie selection from the self-explanatory list poem, Items Retrieved From My Father’s Room: “Armenian pamphlets … Magnifying glass, medical prescriptions, a list of grievances in block letters.” Garebian is speaking for a historical event that, in some parts of the world, is refused acknowledgment as a historical event. His greatest political weapon, then, is his steadfast sense of accounting. As he writes in the book’s postscript: “Even the words Catastrophe, Calamity, and Tragedy can be forgeries, because they are used like cheap imitations of the real events.” Children of Ararat locates both its history, and its poetry, within the cruel specificity of those events.
Excerpted from Robin Durnford’s Review (VUEWEEKLY, 2010)
Children of Ararat dares speak the truth, loudly and angrily, about the First World War death marches and massacres that journalist Robert Fisk has called “The First Holocaust.” Garebian’s collection is a moving reflection, in burning poetics, on the fragments of memory and body—”backbones, femurs, joints,” an “eye socket”—left by the Armenian genocide.
While most Canadians know at least the basic facts of the Holocaust, we remain ignorant of the mass murder of an estimated one million Armenians—through starvation, exhaustion, burnings and drownings—by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Unlike Germany, however, as Garebian notes in such fierce poems as “Indoctrination of a Turkish Boy,” Turkey has yet to confront its culpability in these century-old deaths and deportations. He notes in his final prose reflection, “Denial—An Afterward,” that the Turkish Penal Code “forbids the use of the term ‘genocide’ to describe the events of 1915.” But, Children of Ararat insists, a genocide can’t be ignored, no matter what words aren’t used or how much time has passed. Survivors and their descendants remember the trauma. They see the “headless bodies, of unmarked graves, / shreds of scarves hanging in walnut trees.” Some, like Garebian, whose father survived, go on to speak eloquently, even poetically, for those who were silenced. As he writes, “This tongue tries a reparation of speech / beyond the reliquary ashes of books. / It licks the caves where the dead / lie in their long hibernation.”
Garebian’s poetry doesn’t always reach such lyricism; at times his very bluntness seems to flatten its music. Perhaps, however, his refusal to wrap that arresting word, “genocide,” in any soft notes is necessary for a collection that insists on brutal honesty. For Garebian, the simple truth is that, “Anger burns my face.”
From Jeff Round’s Review (Jeffrey Round.com)
This is a momentous collection rendered by a poet in his prime. Children of Ararat takes the reader on a harrowing journey beginning with the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and continuing on to the denial that lingers to this day. While the horror is made clear, there is something oddly joyful in the mourning, in the poet’s ability to give voice to the long-dead. Without hyperbole, the poet evokes the gruesome events and articulates how, as the inheritor of his father’s experiences, he finds himself “trapped in an abyss” created nearly a century ago. As with his previous collection, Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems, Garebian once again creates a living elegy that at times reaches almost beyond words.
From Back Cover Blurbs:
“If you want to feel how deeply a genocidal history can impact the imagination, read these brave, passionate, relentless and incandescent poems by Keith Garebian.” – Peter Balakian
“Rage, for it to work on the page, requires a control so stern it seems like ease of phrase; historical pain made personal cannot be made convincing without such control and craft as is found in these poems by Keith Garebian.” – Barry Callaghan
“The Armenian genocide has certainly stung Garebian into poetry. These poems are a splendid memorial which will continue to haunt the reader long after he has put them aside.” – Henry Beissel
“We will hear the powerful passionate voice of Keith Garebian who will not be silenced and whose tongue ‘licks the cave where the dead lie in hibernation.’” – Joy Kogawa