By Edmond Y. Azadian
A book with an unusual title has just been released by a contemporary poet with a number of volumes to his credit. The poet is Jacques Hagopian, who despite his advanced age of 92, is on a tour to promote the new volume.
His new book is unusual in content and character; it is neither poetry nor fiction; it is a diary balancing between poetry and narrative.
The hallmark of Hagopian’s poetry is coining new words and expressions with poetic charge. This new volume is titled Tekeyan
Vahan the Explorer of God. The book was published by the Tekeyan Cultural Association, at the initiation of the Los Angeles
chapter. It was compiled and edited by Vatche Semerjian.
The book can be divided into three thematic sections. The first part is the evaluation of Vahan Tekeyan’s legacy as a poet. The second
part consists of day-to-day jottings of a young and budding poet, sometimes dwelling on the mundane. In this segment, the poet Tekeyan has some cameo appearances as the young poet Hagopian engages in an old-fashioned love affair with his future wife, Azadouhi. One would have discounted this segment had it not contained some valuable references to the Egyptian-Armenian
community’s intellectual and cultural life. The last part reads like a novel featuring the agonizing last years of the poet Tekeyan and
his demise, inspiring the young poet to pen a series of poems having as a theme death and the elderly poet.
Vahan Tekeyan is a poet whose literary legacy grew intensely after his death. Jacques Hagopian’s book brings new light on Tekeyan’s life and legacy. Many literary critics have evaluated Tekeyan’s poetry, but very few have done it justice: Hagop Oshagan and Shahan Shahnour have analyzed his poetry in penetrating forays. Hagopian’s evaluation comes very close to those of these two literary giants.