Diana Der-Hovanessian

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Diana Der-Hovanessian, New England born poet, was twice a Fulbright professor of American Poetry and is the author of more than 25 books of poetry and translations. She has awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Society of America, PEN/Columbia Translation Center, National Writers Union, Armenian Writers Union, Paterson Poetry Center, Prairie Schooner, American Scholar, and the Armenian Ministry of Culture. Her poems have appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, Ararat, CSM, Poetry, Partisan, Prairie Schooner, Nation, etc., and in anthologies such as Against Forgetting, Women on War, On Prejudice, Finding Home, Leading Contemporary Poets, Orpheus and Company, Identity Lessons, Voices of Conscience, Two Worlds Walking, etc. Among the several plays written by DDH, two (The Secret of Survival and Growing Up Armenian) were produced and in 1984 and 1985 traveled to many college campuses in the 80s telling the Armenian story with poetry and music.  After 1989, The Secret of Survival with Michael Kermoyan and later with Vahan Khanzadian was performed for earthquake relief benefits. She works as a visiting poet and guest lecturer on American poetry, Armenian poetry in translation, and the literature of human rights at various universities here and abroad. She serves as president of the New England Poetry Club. Source

Shifting the Sun

When your father dies, say the Irish,

you lose your umbrella against bad weather.

May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

 

When your father dies, say the Welsh,

you sink a foot deeper into the earth.

May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

 

When your father dies, say the Canadians,

you run out of excuses. May you inherit

his sun, say the Armenians.

 

When your father dies, say the French,

you become your own father.

May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

 

When your father dies, say the Indians,

he comes back as the thunder.

May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

 

When your father dies, say the Russians,

he takes your childhood with him.

May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

 

When your father dies, say the English,

you join his club you vowed you wouldn't.

May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

 

When your father dies, say the Armenians,

your sun shifts forever.

And you walk in his light.

Published:

1994

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Contemporary

Anthology Years:

Themes:

Death & Loss

Family

Intersectionality & Culture

Literary Devices:

Anaphora

a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

Epistrophe

the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses

Metaphor

a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Repetition

a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times