March 13, 1897
Kars, Kars Oblast, Russian Empire
|Died||November 27, 1937
Yerevan, Soviet Armenia
|Occupation||Poet, writer, translator, public activist|
Yeghishe Charents (Armenian: Եղիշե Սողոմոնյան; March 13, 1897 – November 27, 1937) was an Armenian poet, writer and public activist. Charents was an outstanding poet of the twentieth century, touching upon a multitude of topics that ranged from his experiences in the First World War, socialist revolution, and, more prominently, on Armenia and Armenians.
An early supporter of communism, Charents joined the Bolshevik party, but as the Stalinist terror began in the 1930s, he gradually grew disillusioned with Stalinism and was executed during the 1930s purges.
Early life 
Yeghishe Charents was born Yeghishe Soghomonyan in Kars (then a part of the Russian Empire) in 1897 to a family involved in the rug trade. He first attended an Armenian elementary school, but later transferred to a Russian technical secondary school in Kars from 1908 to 1912. He spent much of his time in reading. In 1912, he had his first poem published in the Armenian periodical Patani (Tiflis). Amid the upheavals of the First World War and the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, he volunteered to fight in a detachment in 1915 for the Caucasian Front. Sent to Van in 1915, Charents was witness to the destruction that the Turkish garrison had laid upon the Armenian population, leaving indelible memories that would later be read in his poems. He left the front one year later, attending school at the Shanyavski People's University in Moscow. The horrors of the war and genocide had scarred Charents and he became a fervent supporter of the Bolsheviks, seeing them as the one true hope to saving Armenia.
Charents joined the Red Army and fought during the Russian Civil War as a rank and file soldier in Russia (Tsaritsin) and the Caucasus. In 1919, he returned to Armenia and took part in revolutionary activities there. A year later, he began work at the Ministry of Education as the director of the Art Department. Charents would also once again take up arms, this time against his fellow Armenians, as a rebellion took place against Soviet rule in February 1921. Charents returned to Moscow in 1921 to study at the Institute of literature and Arts founded by Valeri Bryusov. In a manifesto issued in June 1922, known as the “Declaration of the Three,” signed by Charents, Gevorg Abov, and Azad Veshtuni, the young authors expressed their favour of "proletarian internationalism". In 1921-22 he wrote "Amenapoem" (Everyone's poem), and "Charents-name'", an autobiographical poem. Then, Charents published his satirical novel, Land of Nairi (Yerkir Nairi), which became a great success and repeatedly published in Russian in Moscow during the life of poet. In August 1934 Maxim Gorky presented him to the Soviet writers' first congress delegates with Here is our Land of Nairi.
In 1924-1925 Charents went on a seven-month trip abroad, visiting Turkey, Italy (where he met Avetik Isahakyan), France, and Germany. When Charents returned, he founded a union of writers, November.
His last collection of poems, "The Book of The Way", was printed in 1933, but its distribution was delayed by the Soviet government until 1934, when it was reissued with some revisions. In this book the authors lays out the panorama of Armenian history and reviews it part-by-part.
Charents also translated many works into Armenian, such as "The Internationale."
A victim of Stalinism, he was imprisoned and died in prison hospital during the 1937 Great Purge. All his books were also banned. Charent's younger friend, Regina Ghazaryan saved many manuscripts of the Armenian poet. Charents was rehabilitated in 1954 after Stalin's death.
Personal life 
His first wife was Arpenik Ter-Astvadzatryan, who died in 1927. In 1931 Charents married to Izabella Kodabashyan. They had two daughters, Arpenik and Anahit (b. 1935).
His home at 17 Mashtots Avenue in Yerevan was turned into a museum in 1975. The Armenian city Charentsavan was named after him.
A commemorative stamp of 40 kopecks was issued by the Soviet Union in 1958 honoring Charents after his rehabilitation. Another commemorative stamp of 150 Armenian drams as well as a commemorative coin of 100 Armenian drams were issued by the Republic of Armenia in 1997. The new Republic of Armenia currency denomination for 1000 drams carried on one of its two sides the photo of Charents and a famous quotation in Armenian of one of his poems: (Armenian) "Ես իմ անուշ Հայաստանի արեւահամ բառն եմ սիրում" (I love the sun sweet taste of Armenia).
Critical Works on Charents 
The first monograph on Charents was published by Simon Hakobyan (1888–1937) in 1924 in Vienna. Among the other researchers of Charents' poetry during that period were Paolo Makintsyan, Harutyun Surkhatyan, Tigran Hakhumyan. After the Stalinist terror in 1937 charentsology was banned for 17 years. In 1954 N. Dabaghyan (who previously attacked Charents in the 1930s) published "Yeghishe Charents" critical monograph. Researches on Charents were published by Hakob Salakhyan, Suren Aghababyan, Garnik Ananyan, Almast Zakaryan, Anahit Charents, David Gasparyan and others.
Krikor Beledian's Haykakan futurizm (Armenian Futurism, 2009) includes Charents in the study of the development of Futurism in three major centers of Armenian communities: Constantinople from 1910 to 1914; Tbilisi from 1914 to 1923; and Yerevan from 1922 to 1924. A chapter in Marc Nichanian's Writers of Disaster: Armenian Literature in the Twentieth Century focuses on the question of mourning in the poetry of Charents.
- "Three songs to the sad and pale girl...", poems (1914)
- "Blue-eyed Homeland", poem (1915)
- "Dantesque legend", poem (1915–1916)
- "Soma", poem (1918)
- "Charents-Name", poem (1922)
- "Uncle Lenin", poem (1924)
- "Country of Nairi" (Yerkir Nairi) (1926)
- "Epical Sunrise", poems (1930)
- "Book of the Way", poems (1933–34)
Additional reading 
- Nichanian, Marc; Vartan Matiossian, Vardan Matteosean (2003). Yeghishe Charents: Poet of the Revolution. Mazda Publishers. ISBN 1-56859-112-8.
- (Armenian) Aghababyan, S. «Չարենց, Եղիշե Աբգարի» (Charents, Yeghishe Abgari). Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia. vol. viii. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1982, pp. 670-672.
- Hacikyan, Agop J.; Gabriel Basmajian, Edward S. Franchuk (2005). The Heritage of Armenian Literature, Vol. 3: From The Eighteenth Century To Modern Times, vol. 3. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 959. ISBN 0-8143-3221-8.
- Hacikyan et al. Heritage of Armenian Literature, p. 959.
See also 
|Armenian Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Yeghishe Charents poems
- Yeghishe Charents House-Museum in Yerevan
- Yeghishe Charents, biography, by Shant Norashkharian
- Charents, an Armenian site
- Yeghishe Charents, By Eddie Arnavoudian, Groong.Com
- Charents Izabella Movsesovna, wife Yeghishe Charents (rus)