Professor Khachig Tololyan, professor of English and Comparative Literature at Wesleyan University will introduce the honoree’s work, including his most recent Ozone Journal that won the Pulitzer. The Pulitzer judges praised his verse for bearing “witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty.”
“The Prelacy is pleased to honor Professor Balakian with this special evening in appreciation of his service and achievements, the most recent being the coveted Pulitzer honor,” said Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy. “His poetry takes us into depths that are otherwise unexplainable, and his prose works on the Armenian genocide have produced carefully documented, yet artistic and memorable words of scholarship about a tragic era of Armenian history.”
Peter Balakian is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of Humanities and Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University. He is the author of seven books of poems including Ziggurat (2010) and June-tree: New and Selected Poems, 1974-2000 (2001) and the Pulitzer Prize winning Ozone Journal. His prose books include Vise and Shadow: Selected Essays on Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture (2015), The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (2004) that won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times and national best seller. His memoir, Black Dog of Fate won the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for the Art of the Memoir, and was a best book of the year for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Publisher’s Weekly, and was recently issued in a 10th anniversary edition. He is co-translator and editor of Grigoris Balakian’s Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1918, which was a Washington Post book of the year.
Writing in Tikkun, the poet David Wojahn wrote: “Few American poets of the boomer generation have explored the interstices of public and personal history as deeply and urgently as has Balakian. . . . his project of ‘writing horizontal’ attempts to find within the pitiless hubbub of contemporary consciousness those essential recollections (what Wordsworth termed ‘spots of time’) that are the sources of selfhood and to devise a new method for meaningfully confronting and memorializing the past.
Keith Jones in Consequence wrote: Balakian is a master of—the drifting, split-second mirage, the cinematic dissolve and cross-cut as well as the sculptural, statuesque moment chiseled out of consonant blends and an imagistic, jazzman’s ear for vowels. . . beautiful, haunting, plaintive, urgent, in our dying world’s age, these poems legislate a vital comportment to the demands of our shared present, timely and untimely both.”
Khachig Tololyan, who will introduce the honoree’s works, is Professor of English and Comparative Literature in the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. He is founder and editor of Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies. His many published articles explore topics of nationalism, transnationalism, ethnicity, diaspora, and international terrorism.
The presentation/reception is on Monday, June 27, at 7 pm, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral (Pashalian Hall), 221 East 27th Street, New York City. A reception will follow the presentation. Signed copies of Ozone Journal will be available. For information contact the Prelacy by email (email@example.com) or telephone (212-689-7810).