Chouchanik Thamrazian
(Armenia, 1978)   
Chouchanik Thamrazian

Chouchanik Thamrazian grew up in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, where she was born in 1978. Her father, also a poet, taught literary theory at Yerevan State University for many years and after the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1989 was briefly Minister for Culture and Sciences in the first democratically elected government in Armenia.
Since 1997 Chouchanik Thamrazian has lived mainly in France, where she studied modern literature at the University of Montpellier. She published two collections of prose-poems in Armenian, Voskévandak (The Golden Cage, 2001) and Karmir tsar (The Red Tree, 2004). In addition, she has translated a number of volumes of poetry and essays by Bonnefoy and work by Marguerite Duras and André Gide. Since the end of the 90s she has also been writing poetry in French.

Thamrazian began writing poetry very early. She has said that the prose poem “Christmas Gift for Whining Monsters” is not merely a childhood memory, but in fact is a version of something she wrote at the age of eight. That confirms the strong impression that her work makes: under the playful and sometimes rather mannered or apparently abstract surface lies an obsessive basic thematic structure which seems to have its roots in the very earliest, pre-linguistic consciousness, in a world of experience in which subject and object, time and place, the spoken word and the physical gesture are not yet sharply separated concepts.
In an explanatory note on her poetry, in which she constantly crosses the border between discursive and poetic language usage, Thamrazian expresses herself readily in terms of dance and movement, ‘Everything happens within the logic of word/counter-word, regular beat/syncopated beat, and the meanings generate each other, launch each other, in spite of their separation, in spite of anything that stops, hesitates denies, or resists. It finally breaks free from its own immobility.’
Thamrazian’s prose is not only ‘poetic’ because of the contents, but also in an immensely rhythmical passion in a dense network of alliteration, internal rhyme and homonyms. The furthest she goes in it is ‘Christmas Gift’, where the play with the sound relationships between words really does remind one of the magical babbling of a child that has just learned to speak a bit and is still merrily experimenting with it.

© Maarten Elzinga (Translated by Sarah Lawson)

Publications (selection):
Voskévandak (The Golde Cage), 2001
Karmir tzar (The Red Tree), 2004)
La dynamique du rêve dans l’écriture d’Yves Bonnefoy, 2007/2008

[ Chouchanik Thamrazian will take part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2007.
This text was written on that occasion.]



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