The Burning Poet at the Cafesjian Center for the Arts

As part of the Pen days of trilingual literature, most of the events and meetings scheduled for June 9 took place at the pride of Yerevan, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts (CCA).


In the afternoon, a special tour was organized for program participants. Armen Yesayants, CCA Director of Exhibitions, presented the Cascade complex and the history of CCA, introducing the permanent exhibitions there. The presentation of the impressive mural in the Khanjyan Gallery gave a new spark to Armenian-Georgian historic and cultural dialogue when author Tea Topuria asked about Vardan Mamikonyan, the father of Saint Shushanik, who is revered by both the Armenian and Georgian churches, and expressed the desire to write an article on this topic for Radio Liberty in Georgia. The guests had the opportunity to watch an audiovisual installation called Yarkhushta (creator – Helena Tadevosyan, sound arrangement – Hayk Karoyi) in the Sasuntsi Davit Gallery. The tour ended in the Eagle Gallery with a special exhibition dedicated to the centennial of Tereza Mirzoyan.

This was followed by the grand rehearsal of the Burning Poet event in CCA Special Events Auditorium, scheduled for later in the evening. At the same time, the Georgian writers among the program participants met with Elizabeth Shirinyan, art scholar and CCA Director of Education, who presented to them the life stories and often-forgotten heritage of female artists from the Soviet period—many of whom were directly relevant to Georgia—as part of the Women in Armenian Art educational program.

The Burning Poet gala evening of poetry

In the evening, the CCA Special Events Auditorium hosted the Burning Poet gala event. The evening started with a gala reception followed by trilingual readings of poetry on stage, in two parts.

A welcome speech was given by CCA Events Coordinator Emma Kirakosyan, who is both a graduate of the American University of Armenia as well as an alumna of Write in Armenia 2018, an international writing camp. In her speech, Emma Kirakosyan emphasized the unique format of this event at the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, mentioning that the title “Burning Poet” came from Diana Ukleba’s quatrain and the documentary film Love, dedicated to her, had been screened in that very same auditorium five years ago. The auditorium had been closed due to COVID-19 restrictions for more than two years and the fact that it had reopened now for the Burning Poet evening made this moment even more powerful in its symbolism and emotion.

We are happy to state that PEN Armenia is now a “Donor” member of CCA. We also wish to thank CCA Executive Director Vahagn Marabyan and the whole staff for the positive start to this partnership, their high degree of professionalism, and caring attitude.