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The Literary Groong - 07/02/2005

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	ON BEING ASKED TO SUPPLY DATE OF
	BIRTH FOR A LITERARY ENCYCLOPEDIA

	By Diana Der-Hovanessian


	I am thirteen years old.
	Forever. Pasternak said
	he was fourteen. But I am
	younger. Just starting
	but no longer a child. And
	aging fast. Although
	the world stays new and
	wet behind the ears. I just begin
	to understand that I will never
	understand. And I am in love
	as if for the first time with
	the written word. This affair
	began when my grandfather promised
	me that true love would always be
	returned. I was conceived in 1915
	when the blood of my other grandparents
	soaked through the earth of Kharpert
	and seeped, seeped until the thirties
	when it reached Worcester, Massachusetts.
	I was born in a garden when war cracked
	the face of the earth that had not listened
	to the 1915 blood. I was born in the New
	York City subway when everyone turned
	to stare at my American legs.
	I was born in the Boston University
	Mugar Library the first time
	I heard Gerard Manley Hopkins
	playing with words. I arrived
	after difficult labor in the seventies
	attended by physicians named Narek,
	Siamanto and Varoujan who decided I might be
	worth saving. That was thirteen years ago.


--
Diana Der Hovanessian is a Fulbright professor of American literature
at Yerevan State University in 1994 and 1999, she is author of 17
books and has published in American Scholar, Poetry, Harvard Review,
Nation, Paris Review, New Republic, and her poetry is regularly
published in the Christian Science Monitor. She has awards from the
Columbia Translation Center, P.E.N., Writers Union of America, and the
Writers Union of Armenia.


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