Helene Pilibosian’s book of poems “A New Orchid Myth” has won honorable mention from Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. She had previously won an honorable mention for her book History’s Twists: The Armenians and a first prize for At Quarter Past Reality: New and Selected Poems. The announcement was made in October by Writer’s Digest, a magazine published in Cleveland, Ohio.
“A New Orchid Myth” is a fantasy-reality tale that breaks with her usual ethnic subject matter to explore the possibility of a different kind of civilization on the planet Tome from which Mr. and Mrs. Everydream descend to Earth. They find life in New York City puzzling, but extensive travel within the states gives them a broader landscape.
Sunflowers and orchids are important in this narrative. The sunflower seeds provide great nourishment here and in their home planet. Orchids also exist there but are wilted and becoming sterile as are the people. What is needed there is optimism, and the red on orchids seems to symbolize it.
The worry is that people from the home planet will kidnap their daughter Taralee to try to revitalize their own system. Eventually the Everydreams develop a plan to send orchids to the planet, thus saving it and themselves. Then forgiveness rules.
Poems describe the best attributes of many of the states, which they visit. For comic relief, the characters Plastic and Polyester appear occasionally and either comment or run around New York City. Manhattan and California bear detailed descriptions of American places. And there are a few Armenian characters in the background – Mr. and Mrs. Garmirian and Maral Laramian among them.
Optimism given and restored boosts the morale of the people in the book and the people who read the book. The work has the most appeal to parents, grandparents, adolescents, art lovers and residents of the many states described. It indirectly sends the messages of coexistence and understanding, which anyone can use. It provides an exploration of imagery and imagination and can also be read by adolescents.
Poet Alan Semerdjian wrote of her work, “Marianne Moore is a good starting place for entering Pilibosian’s work.Their writings share the same natural kind of prosaic structure, attention to sibilance and syntax, and transformative quality. Pilibosian, now at a different point in her life, places herself as a successor of modernist ideals and attentiveness to image.”
Richard R. Blake, official reviewer for Amazon.com wrote, ” The beauty of her choice of words brings to mind delicacies, rich, delicious tidbits of many flavors. Contemporary themes bring to light the tenor of the times, the pressures brought about by the turmoil and uncertainties of today… A touch of poetic genius.”
Kirkus Review states, “ Pilibosian describes her landscapes with color, music and sounds, the resulting poems becoming, at their core, loving depictions of life. A unique collection of verse with a sci-fi twist on the American dream.”
Helene Pilibosian’s poems have appeared in many American and Armenian literary journals and anthologies in the US and abroad. Some of her poems were finalists in literary competitions or won first prizes and honorable mentions. Her early work has been cited in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature. She holds a degree in humanities from Harvard University.
Formerly a writer/editor of The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, she now heads Ohan Press, a private bilingual micropress which has published 10 books of both prose and poetry, including her story My Literary Profile: A Memoir, awarded honorable mention by the New England Book Festival, in addition to A New Orchid Myth published by CreateSpace.
The book is available from https://www.createspace.com/4649646, amazon.com and other online bookstores or from Ohan Press at http://home.comcast.net/~hsarkiss