FRESNO — Dr. James Russell, Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University will speak on “An Armenian Eccentric: The Life and Times of Kara Darvish” at 7:30 PM on Thursday, March 20, 2014, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus.

The lecture is part of the Armenian Studies Program Spring Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by the Armenian Students Organization at Fresno State and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research. The Spring Lecture Series is funded through the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

Kara Darvish (Hakob Genjian) was an Armenian Futurist poet who lived and worked mainly in Tiflis, Georgia, before and after World War I. He wrote several novels and manifestoes, but is best known for the “postcard” poems he distributed at cafés and outside cinemas which proclaim his cosmopolitan and revolutionary credo and experiment with odd typefaces and experiment with incantatory nonsense words in Armenian, dipping also into the Armenian mythological past. (His Russian Futurist colleagues named this technique zaum‘, i.e., transrational language.) Among his friends and associates were the poets Osip Mandelstam and Yeghishe Charents; and Kostan Zarian evokes the poet and his turbulent surroundings in the novel Nave leran vra (“The Ship upon the Mountain”).

Dr. James R. Russell is the Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. Professor Russell has authored over one hundred scholarly articles, many of which have been collected in his Armenian and Iranian Studies (2004). He is most recently the author of a study on and translation of the collected poems of Bedros Tourian entitled Bosphorus Nights (2006).

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking will be available, using a parking code, in Lots P5 and P6 adjacent to the UBC the night of the lecture. For more information on the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669.

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