By Gabriella Gage
WATERTOWN — For poet and novelist Nancy Kricorian, writing has always been an integral part of her life. “I started writing poems as soon as I began writing sentences in the first grade. By the time I was in the third grade, my poems were hanging on the classroom bulletin board, which at the time felt to me like being a published poet,” said Kricorian.
Growing up in Watertown’s burgeoning Armenian community, Kricorian served as the Watertown High School literary magazine editor. While she would later explore the history and heritage of her Armenian family, like some of the characters in her novel, there were times when her own relationship with her Armenian identity was complicated, even strained.
“I desperately wanted to be American, particularly in middle school when I witnessed the very rough treatment meted out to ‘off the boat’ Armenian kids from Beirut. A few times I was called a ‘camel driver’ and ‘Armo rugbeater,’ which I found painful. When I was in high school, I desperately wanted out of East Watertown, but once I was had left, I became almost nostalgic for the community I had grown up in.”
Kricorian would come to realize that her heritage and its history were just as integral to her life as the pen and paper. “In my writing, my imagination pulls me inexorably back to the Armenian community,” said Kricorian.