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Paruyr Sevak
(1924-1971)

One of the best poets of Armenian Literature was Paruyr (Sevak) Ghazaryan. He was born in 1924, January 24, at the village of Vedi, Armenia. Paruyr Sevak's father, Rafael Ghazari Soghomonyan (1892-1982) was an educated farmer married to Anahit Gaspari Soghomonyan, who was the mother of Paruyr Sevak. She was illiterate, village woman, who was very kind, hard working and religious housewife helping her husband with the fieldwork.

Their original family epitet contained the prepositional name, "Ter" which meant: lord or spiritual father and made a reference to the family's religious origin. The forefathers of those families who had that prepositional name have been known to be very educated people, who got their education at the Gevorgyan Seminary of Echmiadzin (the world headquarter of Armenian church).

Therefore, people who knew Paruyr Sevak's family were expecting him to have preserved the trait of a "prophet", which he have later evolved in a literary sense of the word, becoming a prophetic spokesperson of Armenian people in their struggle for preserving their ancient history and very rich cultural heritage. Universal humanism and passion toward his native culture bounded his poems.

Sevak's love for education helped him to get accepted into secondary school at age 6 (while legal age established by government for kids to attend a secondary school was 7). Motivated with passion for learning, Paruyr Sevak graduated 10th grade with honors.

His main personal characteristics that got developed as he grew were honesty, straight forwardness, dignity, integrity and clarity of thoughts. He loved reading, so he managed to read almost all of the books he came across and was able to find in the village's libraries.

Therefore,as a result, he developed the urge of becoming a writer. His first poem that he ever wrote was devoted to the character in Turgeneyev's (Russian writer) novel "First Love" called, Zinaida.

As a student of humanities at the Yerevan's State University, Paruyr Sevak comes across the banned books and poems written by Egishe Charents, which proves him that he was no match to existing Armenian poets,so he starts to think of his poetic inferiority and possibility of changing his career goals.

Furthermore,understanding that poetry must come from within the spiritual depths of the poet, and not from the surrounding environment, Paruyr Sevak decides to quit poetry and stir toward becoming a specialist of Armenian literature and grammar.

However,in 1941-1942, unable to contain his urge for poetry, Paruyr Sevak writes several volumes of poetry called Requiem, Sonnetner (Sonneteer), Agothkner (Prayers) and a very long poem called Lusin (Moon). In 1942, his poems called: Ankhoragir (without thoughts), Pntrumner(searches), and Zghjum (regret); Paterazmi Dashtin Zohvatsnerin (to the martyrs of the battlefield) gets published in the Soviet Armenian Literature newspaper, issues number 7 & 8.

The editor of the newspaper, R. Zoryan gives the nickname to Paruyr Ghazaryan, Sevak. Since then, Paruyr Ghazaryan was known as Paruyr Sevak. But Sevak's fame didn't last long. Due to the nationalistic nature of the poems by Paruyr Sevak, his senior colleges criticized the 18 year old boy, getting his poetry banned from publishing in the press, and having the editor of the newspaper, R.Zoryan fired from his job by the decree of Armenian communist gov't. Paruyr Sevak's poetry doesn't get published until later days of 1948.

In 1945, Paruyr Sevak graduates from university, and enters into graduate studies at the M. Abeghiyan Institute of Language and Literature,where he pursues a degree in ancient Armenian literature. His graduate thesis was called:"Assumed Shapuh Bagratuni (ancient Armenian poet) and the later cultural renaissance in Armenia".

After graduating the institute and with his doctorate degree in ancient Armenian literature,the working career of Paruyr Sevak begins. Between 1945-1946 he becomes the youth editor of Armenian literary journal called "Avangard", between 1946-1947 he becomes the press deputy on international cultural relations at the Ministry of Culture and Communication of Armenia, and between 1949-1951 he becomes the chief editor of Armenian literary journal, called "Grakan Tert" (literary newspaper).

In 1947 he participates in cultural conferences of young writers and poets held in Moscow, and other literary conferences organize in Armenia,where he faces his critiques and presents more of his poems. Since 1949, he starts to give lectures at colleges and universities of Armenian Republic, and grows to become one of the most famous and modern Armenian poets in the world.

Paruyr Sevak have written many poems, novels and stories, yet very few were published in Armenia and distributed through out the Soviet Union. In 1948, first book of Paruyr Sevak, called "Anmahnere Hramayum en (The Immortals Command) was published in Yerevan, with 3 000 copies in two volumes. His book conveyed lots of honesty, integrity and purity of human thought. His first 'battle' against accepted cultural corruption was started and won by Sevak.

His first book was followed by coming to light of his second book, written between 1947-1952, but published in 1953, with 5 000 copies divided into 5 volumes, comprising of 2 sections each. It was called "Anhasht Mtrmutiyun" (not peaceful friendship), which expressed the thoughts of human mind, coming from the depths of person's individuality and relation of his micro-cosmic world with the macro-cosmic world of the society and collective consciousness.

As a result, his book was widely criticized, which forced him to leave Erevan, Armenia and move to Moscow, Russia for further advancement of his studies there. Bitter at his critics, before departure Sevak said: "I am glad that Soviet Union is not limited to Armenian Writer's Union and Armenian Republic".

In 1951, arriving to Moscow, he continues his studied at the M. Gorky's Institute of Literature and Poetry, which he graduates in 1956 with highest honors. Within the same time-table, a new book written by him called "Siro hanapar"(Love Rout), gets published in 1954, in Moscow,with 3 000 copies in 3 volumes with 2 sections each.

Many written works by Paruyr Sevak on medieval Armenian literature and his giants like Sayat Nova did not get published. He also wrote numerous studies about other famous Armenian noble writers like Mesrop Mashtots, Naregatsi, Peshiktashlian, Duryan, Varushan, Charents and Toumanyan.

Between 1972-1976, the number of written and published works by Paruyr Sevak tops 50,000. Him and Egishe Charents become some of the few top class Armenian writers/poets in the post World War-2 period of Armenia. They shaped the literary spirit of Armenian writers who emerged during their life span.

The new touch brought into light of Armenian literature by Paruyr Sevak reflected the changing culture in the face of newly emerging and re-emerging concepts, ideas, spiritual values an social norms, undergoing within the Armenian people during that time period.

The ideas that governed Paruyr Sevak were expressed in his following poem:

"I promise not to be a tax collector, but son of
the difficult century, just like it is and the
way I am, stay loyal to it. But, here it is, I
promise to waste time or play, rather than become
an agitator of lethal ideology".

In 1971, June 17, the tragic and traitorous car accident killed the famous poet, who until his death, stayed loyal to his principles of Truth, Integrity, Dignity, Loyalty and Humanism, never ending his admiration of his native culture and difficult history of his fellow people.

His significant contributions to Armenian culture and betterment of Armenian literature was unique in its own way, which shaped the hearts and minds of many Armenian generations who were there with him, as well of those who came later, after his martyrdom.