Prof. Peter Balakian

NAASR to Host Talk by Peter Balakian on Literature, Medicine and Siamanto


BELMONT, Mass. — The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and the Armenian American Medical Association will present a special program by Peter Balakian on literature and medicine, “Witnessing the Armenian Massacres: The Story of a Physician, a Poet, and a Book of Poems: Dr. Diran Balakian, Siamanto, and Bloody News from My Friend,” on Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m., at the NAASR Vartan Gregorian Building, 395 Concord Ave.

This will be an in-person event. Further details about livestreaming and/or recording will be announced.


Balakian will discuss the book of poems, Bloody News from My Friend, by Siamanto (1878-1915). His grandfather, Dr. Diran Balakian, at the time of the 1909 Adana massacres, was working as a physician tending to the wounded and was also an eyewitness to the atrocities. He wrote letters home to his family documenting what he witnessed. Siamanto, who was Dr. Balakian’s friend, utilized the letters as a source for this famous book of poems published in Constantinople in 1909 as Կարմիր լուրեր բարեկամէս (Garmir lurer paregamēs).

Balakian’s talk will be preceded by a musical performance by Lilit Shougariuan. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation, with time to explore the role of literature in medical practice and medical education.

Dr. Peter Balakian is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities in the department of English at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. He is the author of many books, including The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, winner of the Raphael Lemkin Prize; Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Albrand Award for Memoir; and Ozone Journal, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Bloody News from My Friend, translated by Peter Balakian and Nevart Yaghlian, and other books by Balakian, will be available for purchase the night of the program.

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