NEW YORK — Award-winning author and poet Peter Balakian will lead a discussion in honor of the Armenian Genocide commemoration from his new book of essays and poetry, Ozone Journal, as well as discuss Elia Kazan’s film, “America, America,” on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m., at the Eastern Diocese in an event hosted by its Development Department.
Balakian’s new publications include insightful passages and references to Armenian history and literary culture. In Vise and Shadows: Essays on the Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art and Culture, he dedicates five separate essays to artist Arshile Gorky, writers Yeghishe Charents and Siamanto and filmmaker Elia Kazan.
Ozone Journal contains a sequence of poems, including one focusing on the author’s memories of excavating the bones of Armenian Genocide victims in the Syrian desert with a crew of television journalists for the news program, “60 Minutes” in 2009.
The second half of the program will feature a partial film screening of renowned director Elia Kazan’s, “America, America,” which portrays the Armenian massacres for the first time on the Hollywood screen. Kazan’s 1963 Oscar-winning film has been called one of the most daring human rights films in cinema history and which Kazan scholar and film critic Foster Hirsch has called an “American masterpiece.” Kazan, himself, singled out “America, America” as his favorite film.
“America, America is Kazan’s groundbreaking film that brought the plight of the Armenians and Greeks in Turkey to the big screen,” said Balakian, who is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities, Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University. “It is time the film is understood for what it is about.”
Balakian is the author of 7 books of poems and 3 books, including The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, which won the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times and national bestseller. His memoir, Black Dog of Fate 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, and was recently issued in a 10th anniversary edition.
This event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Guild Hall of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), 630 Second Ave.