“My grandmother/and great-aunt . . . didn’t go to church/because they had survived the genocide,” writes Arda Collins in “Easter,” a poem in Star Lake (The Song Cave, 2022), Collins’s second collection of poems. “I wondered/if God was around,” muses the little girl seated in the back seat of the car, driving from church on Armenian Easter with her mother and aunt, to “My grandmother/and great-aunt waiting for us at home/with lamb and pilaf.”
It is not too often that one comes across a book that so explicitly evokes the 1915 Genocide, a specifically Armenian tragedy, while it also takes us into a space that transcends it.
Arda Collins writes intimately about her family, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, but she also summons the August wind, the pink and orange sky, the pine tree and the willow tree, images that speak to us all, to reach beyond her personal history:
my fear yesterday,