Baruyr Sevag (1924-1971)

Biography & Works

Compiled By Shant Norashkharian

Baruyr Sevag is one of the greatest Armenian poets of this century, and perhaps the most popular among Armenians all over the world. As Gosdan Zarian elevated Armenian prose to a level it had never reached before, a level at which every human being could understand it and relate to it, and as he used it to explore the Armenian identity/psyche/spirit, so did Baruyr Sevag with Armenian poetry on a spiritual/emotional level. Evidence of how deeply he touched the hearts and souls of our people is that when he was murdered, there were more people following his coffin than at any other time in recent history. The official explanation of his death was "car accident", but being the anti-establishment writer who defied and criticized the corrupt Communist system of his time, few Armenians believe that he was not murdered. Phillip Marsden writes in THE CROSSING PLACE: "Looking at the road, I could understand the suspicion surrounding Sevag's death. There were no obstacles or bends; it was a straight, wide-open bit of road, an empty place. I don't suppose the truth of Sevag's death will ever be known." What he may have created in the prime of his life will tragically never be known.

Baruyr Sevag was born in 1924, in the village of Sovedashen, near Mount Ararat, with the name Baruyr Rafaeli Ghazarian. After attending the local secondary school, he graduated in 1945 from the Philological Faculty of the Yerevan State University. After working as a member of the editorial staff of local Armenian papers, he attended in 1951 The International Literature Institute in Moscow, where he graduated and worked as lecturer. From 1963 until his death in 1971 he was a senior researcher for The Literature Institute of the Academy Of Sciences, and in 1966 he was elected as the secretary of the Writers Union Of Armenia.

His poetry books, in chronological order, are the following: THE IMMORTALS ARE COMMANDING, 1948; UNRECONCILED INTIMACY, 1953; THE WAY OF LOVE, 1954; AGAIN WITH YOU, 1957; THE UNSILENCEABLE BELLHOUSE, 1959; THE MAN IN THE PALM, 1962; LET THERE BE LIGHT, 1971; and YOUR ACQUAINTANCES, 1971. Several volumes of his collected works were published in Yerevan by "Sovedagan Krogh" in 1983. In addition to these works, he is the author of many writings which still remain unpublished.

Baruyr Sevag has been translated to Russian, Hungarian, English, German, Spanish, Polish, Latin, Estonian and Georgian.

* Copyright 1996 by Shant Norashkharian *

A Short Bibliography

Writings by Baruyr Sevag:

Sevag, Barooyr. Yeghizi luys, Noritz kez hed, Mart api, mech, Mamouli Echerov (Beirut: Hannessian Bros., 1980).

Sevag, Paruir. "We Armenians," section from New Writing from the Middle East (New York: New American Library, 1978).
________. "Inside the Camel's Ear," section from New Writing from the Middle East (New York: New American Library, 1978).
________. "The Clown," section from New Writing from the Middle East (New York: New American Library, 1978).

Sevak, Paruir. Selected Poems (Jerusalem: St. James Press, 1973).

Sevak, Paruyr. Eghitsi luys (Erevan: "Nairi," 1992).
________. El arbol solitario (The Single Tree), trans. Vartan Matiossian (Buenos Aires: Armengraf Ediciones, 1995).
________. Erg ergots = Pesn pesnei = Pisnia pisen (Erevan: Izd-vo "Sovetakan Grokh," 1982).
________. Que la lumiere soit!: Poemes (Marseille: Parentheses, 1988). A French translation of Eghitsi luys.

Articles by Baruyr Sevag:

Sevag, Barooyr. "Mother's Hands," Armenian Review 21, No. 3-83 (Autumn, 1968).

Sevag, Barouyr. "National Vaingloriousness and National Self-Respect," trans. Vahakn N. Dadrian, Armenian Review 20, No. 3-79 (Autumn, 1967).

Writings about him:

Aristakesyan, A.V. Paroyr Sewak (Erevan: Haykakan SSH GA Hratarakchutyun, 1974).

Hovhannisian, E. Dostoevsky, Tolstoi ev Paruyr Sevak (Munich: Institute for Armenishe Fragen, 1977).