Famous Armenian Poets Of The Past

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Pure poetry has its honorable place in the Armenian literature of the past. First come a number of fragments of poems and popular songs rescued from the antique pre- Christian period. The Armenian poetry of the Middle period, fully the equal of its Persian contemporary, has a number of outstanding representatives: Frik and Ohannes Erzenkatsi (13/14 centuries), Constantine Erzenkatsi and Arakel Baghishetsi (14th century), Mekertich Naghash and Ohannes Telkurantsi (15th ), and in particular, Grigor Akhtamartsi and Nahapet Kuchak (alt :Quchak) (16thcentury), as well as many other lyric poets and minstrels from the flowering period of Armenian poetry.

Nahapet Kuchak Poet

Nahapet Kuchak Poet

The vital and generally understood colloquial speech of the times (classical Armenian was dead by then) is the language in which these poets wrote, and it is called Middle-Armenian. The love-motive is predominant in Middle-Armenian poetical works. The beloved, the rose and the nightingale are sung in them with special fondness and passion.

So are love for the Fatherland and the Nation, and the joys and sorrows of the individual and the community. Of particular poignancy are the poems, which describe the sad plight and homesick feelings of the exiles and refugees, a recurrent theme of Armenian poetry.

Armenian poets of this period also had a focus for didactic or popular-wisdom themes.

Old-time teachings and homespun philosophy form the favorite subject of many a poem. In a word, Man and the Universe, the Individual, and Beautiful Nature are presented by the Armenian poets of the period, dressed in a new and altogether fresh form, and penetrated with a spirit which is wide open to the world. The quatrain is the favorite form of art of some of these lyric poets.

From the Middle Period originate also numerous popular songs and fables of high merit. In the same period falls the origin of the Armenian National epic, which is still alive in the mouth of our common folk, and is recited by popular poets in our own time. The subject of the epic is the Armenian wars of liberation from foreign rule. Finally, the religious poetry of the old Armenians deservedly enjoys a high fame. Grigor Narekatsi (10th century), the well-known mystic, and Nerses Shnorhali (12th) “the talented”, authors of a number of deep felt genuinely poetic hymns, are the principal representatives of these beautiful poems!

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