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Honored at Massachusetts State House
Republished in electronic book
For the reader-----Gain knowledge
Identify with situations
Appreciate individuality of style
Read powerful prose
HELENE PILIBOSIAN was an editor of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator and now owns Ohan Press. She has published poems in such magazines as North American Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, Poetry Salzburg and many others. She has won prizes for poems and honors from Writer's Digest for two of her poetry books. Her early poetry has been cited in Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature.
The following poem won first place in the 2012 Lucidity Clarity Contest:
REINVENTED ON THE SUBWAY
Our manners numbed
at a marshmallow fair
with tables for opinion polls.
Shy, we denied microphones
that waited to scrape our words
against political beliefs.
We showed interest in now,
not conflicts, elections,
selection of president
and all that should follow.
We cared and shared anxieties
but liked the safety
of our usual middle road.
Yes, the Middle East
shows off heavy beards,
suicide bombs even worse.
Yes, too many catastrophes
have imposed upon the weather
with tornadoes and floods.
Yes, the drug scene has slammed us
with many unwieldy claims.
But apples and oranges
recolor of the mood of the day,
the red and orange of positives
that look like many illusions
bouncing through the air
and shining like pyrite.
I taught Penelope the subway,
how it roared in and out
of the various stations.
I praised the redone stop
at the Harvard station,
tiles wearing a staccato flair.
We boarded the gravity
of transportation to Boston
with its scientific tact.
We manufactured images
from the water of the Charles,
sipped cups of tea, pretending
to be closer to the ancients
and the geology that recycled
the great lyrics of time.
baptized our friendship
with its own diplomacy
of people sitting on doorsteps
just to exchange opinions
rather than make large decisions.
We revolved conversations
like doors around the possibilities
of judges and spent juries.
The day ended with the lazy
lingering of the sunset
over our particular suburbia,
which appeared to us
more serious than it had
just the day before.
A DRAMATIC LITERARY LIFE
MY LITERARY PROFILE, A MEMOIR by Helene Pilibosian, Ohan Press, 171 Maplewood St, Watertown, MA, 324 pages, Illustrated, Bibliography, Index, $20.00.
Honorable Mention, New England Book Festival 2012
Pilibosian begins the story with a highly detailed account of the lives of her Armenian immigrant parents and her life in Watertown, Massachusetts. This includes an ethnography of the village in historic Armenia her parents came from after the Armenian Genocide. She continues with her study of humanities in Harvard's Division of Continuing Education, including the study of literature with Howard Mumford Jones and Paul Engle. Accounts of life in Cambridge as well as Watertown in the 1950s offer an unusual glimpse of the past. Her work as the first woman editor of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator gives her the writing practice and knowledge she needs.
After depression, treatment and cardiac arrest, she marries Hagop Sarkissian and travels through Europe to the Middle East. Later she reads the theories of Carl Gustave Jung, who turned Freud's theories positive with the addition of a few of his own, and becomes a follower. In a complicated way, the memory of her surgery and these theories lead her to a mystical experience, which in turn fires her literary inspiration. The Bibliography and Index alone are worthy of attention.
Helene Pilibosian on YouTube describing My Literary Profile: A Memoir.
Ohan Press acknowledges with gratitude the donation of $500 by The George Ignatius Foundation of Los Angeles, its trustees George Phillips, Esq., Michael Amerian, Esq. and Hon. Walter Karabian, Esq., and $100 from the Stephen Philibosian Foundation.
The author provides a remarkable historical journey through subject matter that can be important in many fields such as education, social studies, medicine and nutrition with many intriguing events out of her experience with excellent writing. I can recommend this read to anyone.
—BURTON RABINOWITZ, M.D., cardiologist, Mount Auburn Hospital
A moving story, superbly told, of personal growth, self awareness and fulfillment on many levels, tracing the author's fragile formative years in the postwar Armenian community of Watertown, Massachusetts, bravery and resilience in the face of numerous personal and cultural obstacles and immersion in the richness of Harvard's humanities. It tells of metamorphosis and self discovery together with an insightful analysis of the craft of writing, and the transformative and healing aspects of poetry.
—HARRY N. MAZADOORIAN, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for
Dispute Resolution, Quinnipiac University Law School
Helene Pilibosian's third book of poetry has just been released. Her first book, Carvings from an Heirloom, was published in 1983 her second, At Quarter Past Reality, in 1998, winning an award from Writers Digest.
In its 96 pages Pilibosian deals with highlights of Armenian history beginning with a comment on the red hair of the pagan god Vahakn and a few other comments on ancient history as well as a poem called "Grandparent Herbs" referring to the genocide of 1915. There are a number of poems about Armenian life in Beirut and the Middle East and one entitled "I Chose the Poetic," which achieved finalist status in the literary competition of NEW LETTERS. The poem details Armenian independence of 1991.
There are a number of poems written to or about the fictitious character
Nazeli of Armenia, with whom the author has an ongoing correspondence. These poems are filled in with personal exchanges and researched information about Armenia including its birds, its diamond industry and its forests as well as its political past. They are lengthy narrative poems, telling a story that can be read as if they were prose short stories.
Poems about thoughts on the Armenian alphabet, Armenian art, Armenians in America helping those in the homeland, Armenian women and artists such as Arshile Gorky, Mardiros Saryan and Mihran Manougian follow.
The name of the painting on the cover of the book is Sails of Nostalgia by Mihran Manougian, formerly of Armenia, and it was bought a few years ago at an exhibition of works by the artist hosted by the Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston. The active and vibrant dance company's website is www.sayatnova.com. However, whereabouts of the artist could not be traced at this time.
A number of the poems have been published in Ararat, Literary Groong, Borderlands, Icon, Kansas Quarterly and other online or print magazines. One of the poems is pending in Art Times.
Helene Pilibosian on YouTube reading from History's Twists: The Armenians.
Excerpt from History's Twists: The Armenians
I CHOSE THE POETIC
Points of tact
straightened my words
into the twists of poems
after journalism had been my podium.
But there were facts. New ones.
Presidents came and went
like condiments of countries,
Armenians among them,
new for me and Washington D.C.
Translators protected mention
by mentioning the words again.
Flashbulbs chased the oblivion
of officials away like shadows.
Stamps made of decision
New laws were scrolled
to be gradually unrolled.
The old rules had crumbled
on thin and outdated paper.
Statues of idealogues were crushed
and mixed with soil of United Nations,
the homeland knot a newer fruit.
Armenians here, Armenians there,
spread thinly like jam
on the bread of many lands.
The new democracy was taking root
like a wild daisy in a field
recalling the heaven dimension
to be popular as a jazz tune.
Ohan Press has received with gratitude two donations for the distribution of Helene Pilibosian’s third book of poetry called History’s Twists; The Armenians. The George Ignatius Foundation of Los Angeles, its trustees George Phillips, Esq., Michael Amerian, Esq. and Hon. Walter Karabian, Esq., has awarded it $500, and the Tekeyan Cultural Association has awarded it $300.
PILIBOSIAN POEMS IN HEYDAY ANTHOLOGY
Helene Pilibosian's poems will be included in the anthology entitled Forgotten Bread: First Generation Armenian American Writers edited by the well-known Armenian American poet David Kherdian and scheduled for publication by Heyday Books in autumn of 2007. She will be represented in the volume by 16 poems culled from her first two books of poems. Its title Forgotten Bread is taken from a line in "With the Bait of Bread" from her first book, Carvings from an Heirloom: Oral History Poems, published in 1983 by Ohan Press.
Most of her work will be from At Quarter Past Reality: New and Selected Poems, her second published book, the first-prize winner of the Writer's Digest National Self-Published Book Awards of 1998. Three of its poems are prizewinners with another a finalist called "House of Toys," a line from which provided the title for the volume.
Charles Ghigna wrote of the book in Writer's Digest: "Pilibosian's poems are a study in human behavior with small scenes carefully delineated in well-crafted understatement. Each poem examines a particular moment, revealing the extraordinary in the ordinary."
Leonard Trawick of Cleveland State University Poetry Center found many of the poems memorable and wrote in the magazine Raft: "One of my favorite poems in the book is also one of the simplest. "A Plain Green" conveys a woman's delight in a dress that somehow brings out the best in her, suggesting mysterious depths beneath a cool exterior:
It was the
green dress that
made me look
thin as a mountain stream.
Her work has appeared in many literary anthologies and magazines such as North American Review, The Cape Rock, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and The Hollins Critic. More recent poems have achieved finalist status in the NEW LETTERS competition and other contests.
Heyday Institute, which sponsors books, magazines and events, specializes in publications about the American West, the California legacy, Asian-American and Latino stories, the California Indian, poetry and books for children. Kherdian is originally a Westerner from Wisconsin and California, thus a choice for this publisher.
The young poet Alan Semerdjian, a New-York based singer-songwriter who is interested in his Armenian background, will provide analysis and commentary of Pilibosian's work. A total of 17 writers are represented in the anthology and 15 second-generation Armenian American writers will comment on their works.
THE COLLECTED ARTICLES OF H. H. SARKISSIAN, PRINTED IN THE ARMENIAN PRESS 1935-1961,(in Armenian),
2000, 522 pages, hardcover, ISBN 1-929966-05-9, $15.
Hovhannes H. Sarkissian, author of From Kessab to Watertown, was born in Kessab, Syria (now in Turkey) in 1890. In pursuit of higher education, he graduated from the School of Religion in Athens, then became an educator and also wrote articles for the Armenian press. They are compiled in this volume in Armenian. The Armenian title of this book is translated as "A Teacher's Mind." It was printed at Harvard University.
His subjects include history of Crusaders, Arabic history, the Armenian Protestant community, outline of Islam, modern civilization, impediments to human progress, articles about prominent personalities such as Leonardo da Vinci, Francis Bacon, Elizabeth I, Albert Einstein, prominent Armenians, introduction to Kessab, Greek culture, Jewish culture, Egypt, Cypress, Armenian intellectuals, need for a census in Armenian diaspora, need for a comprehensive study of the Armenian Genocide, women in history, "Have Armenians suffered for being Christian", and so on.
He died in Beirut in 1961. Members of his family emigrated to America.
"Exceptional printing... helpful book worthy of the author's intellect." -- Nor Or Weekly
Winner - First Prize in Poetry Category - Writer's Digest National Self-Published Book Awards - 1998
AT QUARTER PAST REALITY: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
by Helene Pilibosian
Helene Pilibosian was educated in Watertown public schools and at Harvard University Extension, graduating in 1960.
She began writing poetry during her college years. After Nelson Antrim Crawford, editor of Author & Journalist,
accepted the poem "Sunless Sky" and stated that another of her poems reminded him of expressionist painting, she
was hooked on the literary form. She was an editor of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, a weekly newspaper, also
writing poetry and recently studied briefly at Harvard University with the poet Gail Mazur, who appreciated her
"magical details" and her "always bringing the past into the present."
Helene now writes in the "comfort of my home when the exigencies of life have dwindled and left me time and
inspiration." She published her first book of poems, Carvings from an Heirloom, in 1983 and They Called Me
Mustafa: Memoir of an Immigrant, a book of prose she and her father wrote, in 1992. She edited and published
From Kessab to Watertown: A Modern Saga, a compilation by Hagop Sarkissian, in 1997. Her poems, some prizewinners,
have appeared in many American and Armenian-American publications.
Described as a confessional with a difference, this collection contains narrative poems about her childhood
in Watertown and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and five generations
of family, Armenian-American or general experiences and concludes with a poem based
on her life-saving surgery performed by the late Dwight E. Harken, M.D., one of the
pioneers of American medicine. Local sites described are downtown Boston, Huron Avenue,
Brattle Street, Mt. Auburn Cemetery and Mt. Auburn Hospital, all in Cambridge, MA, the
Charles River, and the East Side of Watertown.
Many of the poems in this book have been previously published and are acknowledged,
three of them prizewinners. The title is taken from the poem "House of Toys,"
which was finalist in a poetry competition.
The poems contain many facts about Watertown, Boston and Cambridge that can be said to be
part of the oral history of the region. Many of the poems are more general but contain that
element as in the poems "Earrings with Screws" and "Made in America."
Also in Part III there are descriptions and emotions in the poems that are inspired by
the Armenian parents in America, a kind of individuality and a bit of the history of that
generation of the early Armenians in Watertown. The poems about children, of which
there are many, represent the Armenian-American mother's interest in her offspring.
And the last poem was intended as nothing more or less than to recognize the work of a legendary surgeon.
Helene Pilibosian on YouTube reading from At Quarter Past Reality.
Excerpts from At Quarter Past Reality:
ROOTS AND LEAVES
The poet carried the story
in poetic phrases crawling
as if they were babies
on their knees to their
pilgrimage, knees padded
to minimize scratches and iodine.
(I saw the safety
of the indirect word.)
The poet clung to the earth
with her two hands
each becoming a root
for the final images
of leaves, stem, flower.
She became the plant-image
and reader in one,
two bodies with soft accents.
I picked a leaf
and traced its veins.
ASKING FOR A PROVERB
I am uncastled.
I am naive
as a proverb
and my knees
are ditty with the
mundane of streets
and small houses.
stares at my condition.
I have been thrown
out of infinity.
When I smile
I could be taken
for a lyric
of an oblique sort.
I ask for communication
for the lights
that grow like small
trees upon the streets.
They are lit with night
and with the clinging
I ask for a proverb
on the droplets
of the moon
and find myself
leaning upon time
as if it were
such a light-tree.
But my knees
are suddenly clean
and without water.
Clipping spearmint and grape leaves
of a conscious green,
soil dripping from my fingers
the pith of the ritual
of Armenian women
preserving the leaves
like old customs,
the frail stems
cast like the pattern
of puns in a letter,
washing my hands of green
and my mind of pollen,
for my conscience
sneezing at the trees
that try to sleep,
washing my eyes of summer
and wiping them
with a towel
but not apology,
pouring tea made
from such dried conversations.
A darkness separates
a tiger from its stripes.
A forest of buildings,
of countries, separates
me from Yerevan.
Its envies mellow
my night, as dark
swallows me here
while I hide from light.
I tell the city
as if it were a pet.
I pat its head,
muzzle its snarl.
I muffle police sirens
here for its benefit.
I rail at threatening
sticks. I try not
to be so shy.
Yet Yerevan calls.
We both have ambition
as the tiger has instinct.
It doesn't call
by phone, nor by letter.
It simply is,
a word that defines me
again and again.
And I exist, simply,
Armenian . . .
A newer poem from North American Review (2000):
took Taralee to the drawing board
pretending to be desk.
She abstracted shapes
from theorems of geometry,
held the compass point firm
and turned it like a pirouette,
its trance of triangle
touching at a sharp point
then bouncing toward a rectangle
leaning upon the balance
of a diagonal. Add thirst of line.
Then coloring in was less a fuss,
the third dimension,
the light effects of life,
the ginger stain,
the strawberry rain,
the privilege of trees,
transgressions of berries,
blood of dandelion stems,
legendary encyclopedia of plants,
red ants transporting crumbs,
Armenian blue beads or gabouyd hloun
for luck of color or lack of chance,
circumstances allowing for birds
with prancing feathers--
parrots, peacocks, love birds--
the soft eyes of deer,
mathematical monkeys jumping at trees,
fish exchanging gills like a hobby,
exotic flowers bowing to girls,
magnanimous tomatoes juiced,
oranges diced with skin,
even the slithering of snakes
through the yellowed grass,
the romance of cherry blossoms in spring,
a fling of ripened cherries
along with apples, pears, apricots
and the science of brochures
adding or subtracting every feature.
She framed the drawing with self-expression
and hung it in her room.
For other recent poems see Literary Groong online, Branches Quarterly online October 2002 issue, and Armenian Poetry Network on iTunes.
Available for $9.00 (U.S. funds, check or money order only).
by Khachadoor Pilibosian, edited
and coauthored with additional
information by Helene Pilibosian
They Called Me Mustafa: Memoir of an Immigrant by Khachadoor (Archie) Pilibosian,
edited and coathored with additional information by Helene Pilibosian, is the dramatic
story of Khachadoor, who
as a boy is caught in the Armenian Genocide of 1915, kidnapped by a Kurd and managing to
escape after years
of slavery to emigrate to America. Details describe his birthplace in the province of
Kharpert in Turkish Armenia
and also early Armenian immigrant life in Watertown, Massachusetts, including the first
Star Market store in
Watertown Square, where he worked for a while, and his own store, Huron Spa in Cambridge.
about the artist Arshile Gorky in Watertown and his friendship with Yenovk Der Hagopian,
singer of Armenian
troubadour songs, are recorded. Nostalgic pictures are included. Added for a second edition,
Part II includes
English translations of his poems and stories, many previously published in Armenian
for their authenticity of fact and emotion. They were translated into English by
Hagop Sarkissian and Helene
Pilibosian, who also wrote extensive notes on Part II, analyzing the need to write so
much about genocide.
Also includes comments by Edmond Y. Azadian, writer. 187 pages, paper.
Alexander Street Press, a small scholarly publisher of electronic databases available to the academic market by subscription, has just licensed They Called Me Mustafa: Memoir of an Immigrant by Khachadoor and Helene Pilibosian for North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries, and Oral Histories. The book will be accompanied by an unpublished letter Khachadoor Pilibosian wrote to the Wall Street Journal protesting America's defense of Turkey in the matter of Armenian rights. The database is intended mainly for large academic libraries and researchers and will begin in summer, 2003, Pilibosian's contribution to begin in fall, 2003...
MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE Warren Tolman read the Author's Preface at the April 24,
1992 (first edition), Commemoration at the State House in Boston. He added, "It is a very, very powerful
NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY FORMER SENIOR LECTURER Charles T. Ajamian wrote in
The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, "It is a compelling story. It affords new and
corroborating insights into the
Cited in Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature
Based in part on interviews with parents
about the town of Ichmeh
in the province of Kharpert
in historic Armenia
which is now Turkey.
There are 64 pages of poems in this book on Armenian and Armenian-American subjects.
The author is a noted poet, writer and editor.
A poem from the collection: "With the Bait of Bread":
Child, you were and
you learned to be.
For a while, Armenian was
a wish you could not fathom.
It is still a sea
and we fish in it for food
with the bait of forgotten bread.
The moon will be less specific
with the sun and the tides
if you wish it, Child.
You are yeast scattered upon
the ground and the rising dough
will grow into tomorrow.
You are the yeast of
your friends in one language
If not already, Armenian will
ring in one of your ears someday.
SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE ARMENIAN MIRROR-SPECTATOR COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
Ohan Press has a copy of the April 24, 1965 issue of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The issue was sent to members of Congress, to President Lyndon Johnson and to the United Nations by Helene (Pilibosian) Sarkissian, who was then editor. It was her brainstorm with postage paid by public donations. One of the articles in it is called "Mourning Is Not Enough" by the best-selling novelist and professor Leon Surmelian. Another article was about a reference to Armenians, a rebuttal to a Turkish accusation, by His Excellency S. Kyprianou of Cyprus. THE FIRST PAGE OF THIS ISSUE IS REPRODUCED HERE.
Two of the letters of thanks sent to the editor are also shown below, one from Vice-President Hubert Humphrey and the other from the secretary of Lyndon Johnson.
The following books may be purchased directly through Ohan Press or through one of the distributors listed below.
Price from Ohan Press
Links to Distributors
MY LITERARY PROFILE: A MEMOIR (English) ISBN-10: 1929966083 ISBN-13: 978-1929966080
History's Twists also available at Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Harvard Square.
40% discount for retailers with no mailing charges.
SQUIBBED! SATIRES AND OTHER ODDITIES
by Robert H. Sarkissian
2010, 78 pages, $12.95
Squibbed! Squibbed? A squib is a short and witty or sarcastic saying or writing. Or in journalism a short news story, often used as a filler. Satirist Robert H. Sarkissian tries his best to be short and witty in various forms: fake news stories, interviews, commentaries, and novels. Yes, novels. The kind that fit on one page, and with very serious titles such as: "Eat the Veggies: A Novel About Sex, Power, and Brussels Sprouts" , "Forensic Crime Scene Special Pathology Task Force Homicide And Gruesome Accidental Suicide Unit (FCSSPTF-HGASU): Miami " , "Murder In A Small Town: A Story About A Murder In A Small Town". Or you can sing along with some of the oddest songs ever written, such as: "The 14th Century Antiwar Protest Marching Song" , "The Zingian National Anthem" , "Waiter, There s A Phenomenologist In My Soup". If you ever wondered about the research activities of ballroom-dancing existential psychologists, or wanted to read an interview with a literature professor whose colleague was abducted by aliens who like aromatherapy, or wondered what Friedrich Nietzsche wrote after he went insane, or even wanted to learn more about Hans Dolph Nilsson, the world's oldest diplomat (1526 - ), then this book is for you.
THE SARKISSIAN AND PILIBOSIAN FAMILIES: A GUIDE FOR THE CURIOUS
by Hagop Sarkissian
2009, 446 pages, illustrated. Limited edition.
Calling this volume a family book, the author presents scenes of Middle Eastern culture and of American culture while drawing upon his broad knowledge of book design. He describes his early years of growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, with the extensive details of his life there. This includes his work with early typesetting modes at the Armenian newspaper Zartonk as well as copious notes about all of his family, relatives and friends with many photographs and historic facts in the background.
Arriving in America in 1957, he presents as many descriptions of Boston's South End and work at the Baikar Association Press as well as his new wife and family. Working at Harvard University Printing Office for almost 29 years, he also chronicles his experiences there with many computerized typesetting machines. Vacationing often, and he lists all the details of his travel with family in Europe and in America.
THIS BOOK CAN BE READ ONLINE IN PDF FORMAT USING ACROBAT READER.
Khachadoor Pilibosian's articles, poems and stories were published in 15 Armenian-language newspapers and magazines in the United States and abroad over a span of 53 years.
As a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, his autobiographical works with his thoughts and feelings on that subject are foremost. In his writings he included information about Ichmeh, the village of his origin in historic Armenia (Turkey), articles about his mother and the unusual arranged marriage with his father, about his experiences in America since his arrival in 1920 with facts and impressions of the Star Market, artist Arshile Gorky, world-famous Armenian-Egyptian cartoonist Alexander Saroukhan, and many others.
General subjects, book reviews, two children's stories in English, religious poems and poems for people and anniversaries round out the collection as well as 100 pictures.
He is co-author of the memoir They Called Me Mustafa: Memoir of an Immigrant with Helene Pilibosian, published by Ohan Press.
(SORRY, THIS TITLE IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT)
FROM KESSAB TO WATERTOWN:
A MODERN SAGA
by Hovhannes H. Sarkissian et al
translated and annotated, with additional
information by Hagop Sarkissian
An autobiography of the teacher and writer from Kessab, noted in his time through
his writings in the Armenian press in Beirut, Lebanon, and in America, and a short
narrative by Vahan Mamalian, M.D.; additional accounts by the educator Kevork A. Sarafian
, and the lawyer Dickran Boyajian. Contains details of the Armenian Genocide (1909 and 1915)
in Kessab (an Armenian village in Syria), Adana (a former Armenian city in Cilicia),
and elsewhere in Cilicia; descriptions of Kessab, Mt. Cassius, the city and the state
of Alexandretta (an area alternately belonging to Syria and Turkey); facts about the
Armenian Legionnaires in Cilicia and the Kessabtzi volunteers; facts about the Vartanian
School of Aintab, St. Paul's Institute in Darson, School of Religion in Athens, and Near
East School of Theology in Beirut. Contains 236 pages of narrative with pictures, maps,
family trees, Index and Bibliography.
Hagop Sarkissian is a photocomposition consultant
affiliated with Harvard Printing and Publications Services, Harvard University.
"A beautifully produced book with an appealing story that is well translated and valuable
research that is presented in a scholarly manner." --The Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian, Lawrence
Institute of Technology, Southfield, Michigan