Hovhannes Shiraz

(1915-1984)

* Some of the information in the following biography is translated and summarized by Shant Norashkharian from SHIRAZ: SELECTED WORKS, edited by Hovhannes Hannesian, and published in Beirut, 1985 by Shirag Publishers. The poems are from the same book.


The deportation and massacres of Western Armenians had widowed many thousands of mothers and children who became orphaned and helpless.

The city of Alexandropol, (formerly Leninagan, now Gyumri), had turned to an enormous orphanage. In those tragic days, on April 27, 1915, only three days after the terrible massacre of Armenian writers and other intellectuals, was born Hovhaness Onnig Garabedian. He passed his childhood during the most tragic times of Armenian history, starving, thirsty and barefoot.

In 1935, he attracted attention by publishing his first work, "BEGINNING OF SPRING". His fame spread everywhere. Novelist Adrbed named the talented poet "Shiraz", because "this youth's poems have the fragrance of roses, fresh and covered with dew, like the roses of Shiraz." In 1937 he entered the Armenian Literature Department of Yerevan's State University, where he studied until 1941. Until his death on March 14, 1984, Shiraz published many books, mostly poetry, but also quartets, parables and translations, and enjoyed the love and recognition of Armenians everywhere as one of the greatest Armenian poets of this century.

He is immortalized by such lines as:

"Let all nations reach the moon,
But Armenians to Massis."

"As long as you never have a hut in the fatherland,
You are just a forgotten orphan under foreign moon."

Shiraz, like his contemporary Baruyr Sevag, was an anti-establishment poet who was very popular with the people of Soviet Armenia but despised and fought against its corrupt leadership all his life. He also had a unique way of expressing his feelings. One night, after having a few drinks which he often did, he stood at the statue of Lenin in the central square of Yerevan and publicly urinated on it. By doing so, he showed more courage by urinating than many of his "literary" colleagues showed with their books.


A Short Bibliography

Writings by Hovhannes Shiraz:

Shiraz, Hovhannes. Araks zinch tsutsane (Erevan: Sovetagan grogh hrat., 1978).
________. Banasteghtsutyunner (Erevan: Haypathrat, 1954).
________. Erker (Erevan: "Sovetakan Grogh" Hratarakchutyun, 1981).
________. Girk khaghaghutyan (Erevan: Haypathrat, 1950).
________. Kareakner (Venice: S. Ghazar, 1973).
________. Hatentir (Erevan: Haypathrat, 1954).
________. Hatentir (Beirut: Hratarakutiwn Sewan Hratarakchakan Tan, 1971).
________. Hatentir (Beirut: Shirak Hratarakchatun, 1985).
________. Hatentir (Erevan: "Mehyan" Hratarakchutyun, 1992).
________. Hayots danteakane (Beirut: Hratarakutiwn Tekeian Mshakutayin Miutian "Shirak" Amsagri, 1988).
________. Hayots danteakane: hay kotoratsneri haverzhasugin (Beirut: Sevan, 1965).
________. Hayots danteakane: hay kotoratsneri haverzhasugin (Beirut: Hratarakutyun Sevan Hratarakchakan Tan, 1978).
________. Hayots danteakane: hay kotoratsneri haverzhasugin (Erevan: "Khorhrdayin grogh," 1990).
________. Hayots danteakane: hay kotoratsneri haverzhasugin (Erevan: "Nairi," 1991).
________. Hudundir (Tehran: Armen, 1983).
________. Hushardzan mayrikis (Erevan: Hayastan Hratarakchutyun, 1968).
________. Hushardzan mayrikis (Erevan: "Hayastan" Hratarakchutyun, 1971).
________. Hushardzan mayrikis (Erevan: Hayastan Hratarakchutyun, 1972).
________. Hushardzan mayrikis: poem hyusvats banasteghtsutyunnerov (Erevan: "Sovetakan grogh," 1979).
________. Im enker lorike (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1960).
________. Khaghaghutiwn amenetsun: hayrena-hammamardkayin khoher (Erevan: "Sovetakan grogh," 1982).
________. Khaghaghutyun amenetsun: hayrena-hammamardkayin khoher (Erevan: "Sovetakan Grogh" Hratarakchutyun, 1982).
________. Knar Hayastani (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1958).
________. Knar Hayastani (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1963).
________. Lirika (Erevan: Sovetakan Grax, 1986).
________. Rustawtsi Shotan ew Tamare (Beirut: Tparan Etvan, 1952).
________. Shirazean tagher (Beirut: Hratarakchatun K. Tonikean ew Ordik, 1984).
________. Shirazian tagher (Beirut: Dongiguian, 1972).
________. Shirazian tagher (Beirut: Dongiguian, 1984).
________. Siamanto ev Khajezare: poem (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1955).
________. Siamanto ev Khjezare: poem (Erevan: "Sovetakan Grogh" Hratarakchutyun, 1979).
________. Siamanto ew Khajezare: poem (Beirut: Tparan Etvan, 1957).
________. Siamanto ew Khjedzare (Glendale, CA: Navasart, 1989).
________. Siamanto yev Khjedzare (Erevan: Hamalsarani Hratarakdzowtyown, 1979).
________. Siamanto i Khadzhezare: poema-skazka (Erevan: Armianskoe gos. izd-vo, 1960).
________. Siraname: poem (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1959).
________. Siyamantu va Khijjahzarah (Iran: Ghukas Karapityan, 1971).
________. Stikhi i poemy (Moscow: Khudozh. lit-ra, 1960).
________. Stikhotvoreniia i poemy (Moscow, 1956).
________. Yerg Hayastani (Erevan: Haypethrat, 1940).
________. Yotnapatum (Erevan: "Sovetakan Grogh" Hratarakchutyun, 1977).

Shiraz, Ovanes. Pamiatnik materi: stikhi i poema (Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel, 1981).
________. Rodnik: stikhi (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izd-vo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1945).

Writings about him:

Aghababyan, S. Hovhannes Shiraz (Erevan: Sovetakan Grogh Hratarakchutyun, 1984).

Atabekyan, S.A. Hovhannes Shirazi knarergutiwne (Erevan: Erevani Hamalsarani Hratarakchutyun, 1979).

Barseghyan, Kh.H. Shiraz: hush-novelner, masunkner (Erevan: Luys, 1986).
________. Shiraz: hush-novelner, tankagin masunkner (Erevan: "Arevik," 1990).

Batikyan, L.M. Hovhannes Shirazi mayrakane (Erevan: Sovetakan Grogh Hratarakchutyun, 1976).

Grigoryan, A.P. Patumner Shirazi kyankits (Erevan: Sovetakan Grogh, 1987).

Harutyunyan, Aleksandr Grigori. Pamiatnik materi: vokalnyi tsikl na stikhi O. Shiraza: dlia golosa i fortepiano (Moscow: Vses. izd-vo Sov. kompozitor, 1980).

Matrirosian, Viktor Arshavirovich. Tvorcheskii put Ovanesa Shiraza (Erevan: Akademiia nauk Respubliki Armeniia, In-t literatury im. M. Abegiana, 1990).

Muradian, H.D. Hovhannes Shiraz (Erevan: Kidelik, 1975).

Terterian, Avet Rubenovich. Rodina: vokalno-simfonicheskii tsikl: na armianskom iazyka (Melodiia, 1960, 1969).