The poems from My Burning City are a result of my history. They are part of a more extensive collection released through Black Lawrence Press. I was born in Iran in 1977. I remember the word “Visa” was thrown around in my family. My parents tried desperately to get passports so that we could escape the Ayatolla invasion. Khomeini took everything from my family. The chaos in Iran today caused by the Islamic Republic of Iran is precisely why we took refuge in the United States 40 years ago. We are a product of refuge and displacement. My bloodline is Armenian, and my culture is Iranian. This is how I make peace with my past.
My Burning City
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Lory Bedikian, The Book of Lamenting
In “My Burning City,” Arthur Kayzakian skillfully constructs “Instructions for Survival” with sonnet, anthem and translated imaginings. He reconstructs what is disconnected due to history, exile and “make[s] poems out of cemeteries.” This collection is only the beginning of a necessary, urgent voice, oath making for us a “song / of the body,” “a wild hive / of prayers.”
Sandra Alcosser, Except by Nature
Like the great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, who, when asked in a whisper by a blue-lipped stranger during the Yezhov Terror — Can you describe this? replied– I can, Arthur Kayzakian an Iranian-Armenian-American poet, grandchild of the Genocide, on the move with his family almost since birth, follows the same tradition of witnessing, hammering, annealing an architecture of grief into passionate and eloquent forms. And always, when we are almost overwhelmed by the telling, he shifts our gaze to the faces of his family, with simple reverence for the humility of home: տուն (home)The night I kissed my father on his cheek,/his smile,/from a charcoal Armenian, hard Armenian/glazed with the scent of smoke and bravado,/softened./Not even silence has a name for that.