Yeghishe Charents

Yeghishe Charents was born Yeghishe Abgari Soghomonyan in Kars in 1897 to a family involved in the rug trade. His family hailed from the Armenian community of Maku, Persian Armenia. He first attended an Armenian elementary school, but later transferred to a Russian technical secondary school in Kars from 1908 to 1912. He spent much of his time in reading. In 1912, he had his first poem published in the Armenian periodical Patani. Amid the upheavals of the First World War and the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, he volunteered to fight in a detachment in 1915 for the Caucasian Front.
Sent to Van in 1915, Charents was witness to the destruction that the Turkish garrison had laid upon the Armenian population, leaving indelible memories that would later be read in his poems. He left the front one year later, attending school at the Shanyavski People’s University in Moscow. The horrors of the war and genocide had scarred Charents and he became a fervent supporter of the Bolsheviks, seeing them as the one true hope to saving Armenia.
Charents joined the Red Army and fought during the Russian Civil War as a rank and file soldier in Russia and the Caucasus. In 1919, he returned to Armenia and took part in revolutionary activities there. A year later, he began work at the Ministry of Education as the director of the Art Department. Charents would also once again take up arms, this time against his fellow Armenians, as a rebellion took place against Soviet rule in February 1921. One of his most famous poems, I love the sun-sweet taste of the word Armenia, a lyric ode to his homeland, was composed in 1920-1921.Charents returned to Moscow in 1921 to study at the Institute of literature and Arts founded by Valeri Bryusov. In a manifesto issued in June 1922, known as the “Declaration of the Three,” signed by Charents, Gevorg Abov, and Azad Veshtuni, the young authors expressed their favour of «proletarian internationalism». In 1921-22 he wrote «Amenapoem» , and «Charents-name’», an autobiographical poem. Then, Charents published his satirical novel, Land of Nairi, which became a great success and repeatedly published in Russian in Moscow during the life of poet. In August 1934 Maxim Gorky presented him to the Soviet writers’ first congress delegates with Here is our Land of Nairi.
The first part of Yerkir Nairi is dedicated to the description of public figures and places of Kars, and to the presentation of Armenian public sphere. According to Charents, his Yerkir Nairi is not visible, «it is an incomprehensible miracle: a horrifying secret, an amazing amazement». In the second part of novel, Kars and its leaders are seen during the WWI, and the third part tells about the fall of Kars and the destruction of the dream.


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