April 20–July 20, 2021, online
Time: two days per week for two hours, TBD based on participants’ schedules, mostly likely morning hours in the US time zones, afternoon in Europe, evening in the Caucasus
We are happy to announce the opening of our new mejlis program. For three months we will be gathering to enjoy and learn from the poetry of Sayat-Nova – sayyad-i nava – a celebrated eighteenth-century poet known for having composed poems in Turkish, Armenian and Georgian, making use of Persianate poetic imagery and playing consciously with scripts, words and meanings. Sayat-Nova might be a household name in the part of the world where he lived, and far beyond it, thanks in no small part to Sergei Parajanov’s exploration of Sayat-Nova’s poetic world in film, but few people have had a chance to read his poetry closely. Our goal in gathering this mejlis is to do just that: to read Sayat-Nova’s poetry closely, in different languages, learn to understand him through his own words and journey together through the beautiful world of his poetic imagery. While the participants will be provided with a bibliography of secondary works dedicated to Sayat-Nova’s life and oeuvre, the focus of the meetings will be exclusively on the poetic works themselves. To the extent that it will be made possible by participants’ linguistic abilities we will read the poems in original languages and scripts, sometimes resorting to using transliterations. Our chosen format of mejlis – well known to Sayat-Nova himself – means that it is not an ordinary course with students and instructors. Mejlis implies the place and the occasion of sitting together for the sake of reading poetry, playing music and enjoying good company, wine, and conversation. The program is open to anyone interested in the subject though competency in at least one of Sayat-Nova’s languages is expected. Attendance of all sessions is not mandatory – participants will be free to join as many sessions as they wish/are able to attend. The working language of the meetings will be decided based on the preferences of the participants as we aim to be flexible and inclusive.
To apply for the program please fill out this form. Application deadline is April 10, 2021.
Maryam Torabi and guest specialists
Maryam Torabi is a scholar of Medieval Armenian and Persian literary traditions. Having studied Armenian and Persian literature in Isfahan Ms. Torabi came to Armenia to work on her doctoral dissertation, which she is currently completing in the Department of Linguistics at Yerevan State University. She focuses on the language of Sayat-Nova, exploring his engagement with Persian among other aspects.
Participation fee is $300 paid as a donation to Mejlis Institute. Mejlis Institute is a non-profit organization. Apart from modest honoraria paid to the convenors, all proceeds will be donated to Trails for Change – a non-profit organization that specializes in building hiking trails in Armenia and is now supporting refugee families from Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh who have lost their homes in the aftermath of the 2020 war. A financial report will be made available to the program participants upon the completion of the program. The fees must be paid by via bank transfer by April 15, 2021. Those who would like to take part in the course but cannot afford to pay the fees can be admitted on partial or full tuition waivers. To qualify for a tuition waiver send us an email at email@example.com explaining your motivation and circumstances.