Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

LOOKING BACK...GENTLY ( Armenian-American writer David Kherdian)


  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,770 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 31 July 2015 - 09:14 AM

LOOKING BACK...GENTLY

Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 27 July 2015

When Aram Khachaturian became famous some music critics jibed
that his music echoed that of Tchaikovsky, Rimski-Korsakoff and
Ippolitov-Ivanov. The Armenian composer silenced his critics by
pointing out there might be some truth to what they said because
the Russian composers had been inspired by the traditional music of
Khachaturian's native Caucasus.

Something similar happened when Armenian-American writer David Kherdian
made the scene six decades ago. Certain literary critics pointed out
the similarities between his work and that of William Saroyan. "At one
time most of us [Armenian-American writers], if not all, were compared
to Saroyan, because he was the first...in the sense that we are taking
something from him that was his, whereas in truth, we all sounded
alike because of this Armenian sensibility we share," says Kherdian.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin (1931), Kherdian was a friend of Saroyan
and idolized the Fresno-born author. Saroyan "gave permission" to
the first generation of Armenian-American writers to be themselves. A
poet, fiction writer, memoirist, translator, editor... Kherdian has
written 70 books and won his share of awards. He has been translated
into 13 languages.

In a wonderful symmetry, Kherdian's main themes are often about
memory, roots, identity while his hometown is Racine-- roots in
French. Kherdian's recent "Root River Return" is a collection of
memoirs in prose and poetry.

Growing up Armenian-American in a small and wintry northern town
is the theme of the book, with an overdue focus on the author's
father--a genocide survivor like most of the Armenian adults in the
Racine Armenian community of the '30s.

The 210-page book (Beech Hill Publishing Company) is a mix of
elegiac prose and poetry which explore the bittersweet childhood
and adolescence of the 84-year-old author: a time when the second
generation of Armenian-Americans experienced not only the Depression
and the war years, but also the anguish of dual identity, deracination,
and discrimination. It was a stressful and confusing era, especially
for children and adolescents who had little guidance and no social
scientist to verbalize their plight. Meanwhile their impoverished
parents, mostly peasants from the old country, were going through
the trauma of genocide memories and survival in a strange land.

Kherdian portrays the various layers of these stresses in pain and in
joy, compassion and understanding. Kherdian has succeeded at a very
difficult job: he has "forgiven" his childhood. His old friends are all
here and remembered with tenderness. Eggs Krikorian, Dominic Galati,
Chuck (Horse) Kamakian, Nancy Jacobsen, Gob Kaiserlian, fishing ace
Joe Perch, Dafje Vartan, Ray Rodriguez, Lotch Oglanian...

The vibrant mosaic of Racine is also here: the rag man calling from
his horse-drawn wagon, bridges, trains, Lake Michigan, Garfield
[elementary] School, the Boranian Grocery Store on State Street,
driving to a picnic in his uncle's Model- A Ford, the Root River which
separated and joined the various communities, St. Mesrob Armenian
Church, downtown's Monument Square, Rex, Rialto, and Venetian theatres,
and the Armenian sourjarran (coffee house). They all come alive
as Kherdian rolls back the years gently into his sometimes gray,
sometimes luminescent boyhood.

In the past Kherdian has written extensively about his indomitable
mother. The biography of his mother "The Road from Home", which he
wrote in 1979, has been continuously in print since. In his latest
book Kherdian's father gets an overdue attention. At least 15 pieces
are about Kherdian Sr. as the author tries to understand his father
and make peace posthumously with him. Thus some of the most evocative,
poetic, and touching lines in the book are about his father. Kherdian
describes his father going to work:

"...trudging down dark street of icy wind-swept snow in your heavy
gray coat waiting at the corner for the bus that would take you to
the factory gate alone."

And

"...And sometimes on the porch waiting to be greeted as he had waited
to greet me, pressing a nickel or dime into my palm, still warm from
his hand, money he had saved from the fare, that I was to use for
ice cream..."

The moment is almost universal.

In "The Coffee House", where the poet talks about the Armenian
sourjarran, he is also referring to his father and their sometime
strained relationship. Peering into the sourjarran from outside,
Kherdian remembers:

"...Our curiosity sated by the stolen glances, the furtive look into
that large smoke-filled room The inhabitants dressed in grays and
browns, somber, silent, belonging to a world outside of ours

That somehow also ours for these were our fathers, the other half of
the split-off world We know only Armenia, a name and a tragedy they
could revisit, but that we dared not enter with our lives."

Kherdian ends his "To My Father" poem with:

"...the transition from old country to new too unbearable for you and
much too confusing for me, because I needed what was old as much as
what was new, even if I didn't fully understand this at the time."

Don't miss the penetrating and poignant "Baseball & Father" where
Kherdian's father momentarily joins his son in a baseball game. The
poet makes you nostalgic for a time and place you haven't experienced.

Kherdian is 84. "Root River Return" doesn't sound like the last hurrah
of a writer who has run out of words.

http://www.keghart.c...unjian-Kherdian
 


  • MosJan likes this

#2 onjig

onjig

    Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,053 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ranch in Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, Ranch in Nevada
  • Interests:Family, Armenia, Armenians,skiing, crop, too much to list.

Posted 03 August 2015 - 10:55 AM

In contrast to what is said by 'Jirair Tutunjian' in the above post.: William Saroyan was born in Fresno, California August 31, 1908.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I will see if I can find wrttings of David Kherdian, I'm not familiar with his work.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

 
William SaroyanAmerican author
134655-004-04C77A34.jpg born

August 31, 1908

Fresno, California

died

May 18, 1981

Fresno, California


Edited by onjig, 03 August 2015 - 11:06 AM.


#3 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,770 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 03 August 2015 - 01:30 PM

"Born in Racine, Wisconsin (1931), Kherdian was a friend of Saroyan and idolized the Fresno-born author."
Kherdian was born in Racine, when he says Fresno-born author he means Saroyan. :)



#4 onjig

onjig

    Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,053 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ranch in Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, Ranch in Nevada
  • Interests:Family, Armenia, Armenians,skiing, crop, too much to list.

Posted 03 August 2015 - 07:07 PM

William Saroyan was not French born. Jirair tutunjian is the one who wrote that, he is off base.

 

 

William Saroyan was born in Fresno, California August 31, 1908.



#5 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,770 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 August 2015 - 08:45 AM

In the above article I reread it again, twice and didn't see what you are claiming! Actually Jirair says Fresno born Saroyan, the french connection is about Kherdian's roots not Saroyan.



#6 onjig

onjig

    Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,053 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ranch in Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, Ranch in Nevada
  • Interests:Family, Armenia, Armenians,skiing, crop, too much to list.

Posted 04 August 2015 - 08:08 PM

OK, a little jart jurt but...........

 

So, Kherdian was born in Racine, Wisconsin and Saroyan was born in Fresno. The writer of the article is refering to Kherdian as French-born,,,,,,because he's parents were from France..?

 

 

I was able to find a bit about his, Kherdian's, work, I may get hold of something to get a feel of his writing.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just read the: Fresno born Saroyan, in the article~ guess I stopped, reading and thinking, when I came across French-born.

 

Thanks Yervant


Edited by onjig, 04 August 2015 - 08:13 PM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users