Gourgen Mahari was born in Van and during the massacres escaped to eastern
Armenia, where he spent his late childhood in orphanages. He later attended
Yerevan State University. His poetry began appearing in 1917. Several volumes
later he was established as a strong lyric voice. During the Stalinist purges he
was jailed for nationalistic tendencies (references to his home and childhood).
He was exiled to Siberia until 1953. His experiences and suffering in the
concentration camps are described with wit and dark humor in the novel
Blossoming Barbed Wires. This work has been compared to Solzhenytsin's novels.
Besides poetry, he wrote several other novels and a book of memories.