Peter Balakian

‘Armenian Memory, Writing Across Borders: A Reading and Talk’ with Peter Balakian


FRESNO — Pulitzer prize-winning poet Peter Balakian will speak on “Armenian Memory, Writing Across Borders: A Reading and Talk” on Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m., in the University Business Center (UBC), Alice Peters Auditorium, on the Fresno State campus. A reception will precede the presentation starting at 6 p.m. in the UBC Gallery. The event is supported by the Florence Elaine Hamparson Armenian Memorial Fund.

Balakian will read and discuss his poetry and prose with a focus on Armenian historical and cultural memory and disaporan imagination. In his many books of poems and his memoir Black Dog of Fate, Balakian has explored – in his distinct poetic form and elliptical language – traumatic intergenerational memory of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the power and beauty of Armenian culture: visual art, architecture, music, and Armenia’s dramatic, natural landscapes.

Peter Balakian is the author of 8 books of poems and 4 books of prose and 3 collaborative translations and several edited books. Ozone Journal won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Black Dog of Fate, a memoir won the 1998 PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for the Art of the Memoir, and was a best book of the year for the New York Times, the LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly; The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times Best Seller. His collaborative translation of Grigoris Balakian’s Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide was a Washington Post book of the year. Vice and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, and Culture was published in 2016.

Balakian is the recipient of many awards and prizes and civic citations: the Pulitzer Prize, The Presidential Medal and the Movses Khorenatsi Medal from the Republic of Armenia, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, The Spendlove Prize for Social Justice, Tolerance, and Diplomacy (recipients include President Carter); and the Emily Clark Balch Prize for poetry from the Virginia Quarterly Review. He has appeared widely on national television and radio programs such as 60 Minutes, PBS News Hour, ABC World News Tonight, Charlie Rose, CNN, C-SPAN, NPR, and Fresh Air, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages and foreign editions including Armenian, Arabic, Bulgarian, French, Dutch, Greek, German, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Tamil, Turkish.

Balakian is Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities, Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University.

A selection of Balakian’s books will be on sale at the event. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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The presentation will also be live-streamed on YouTube at:

For information about upcoming Armenian Studies Program presentations, visit


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