Pulitzer Prize Winner wrote Poetry about Sarajevo

13022265_1759465387623471_1316815915_nAmerican writer, poet and professor with Armenian roots, Peter Balakian (65), won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his collection of poems “Ozone Journal”.

“This work that is consisted of 55 parts was published in 2015, and it talks about the author’s memories of 2009 and the excavation of the remains of his ancestors – the victims of genocide in Armenia in the Syrian Desert. While digging up bones, he remembers New York City at the time of the crisis of the 80’s and creates “inventive lyrical insight into the global age of uncertainty and danger.” Balakian is masterfully doing what no one else does, he paints poetry with history,” said critics.

It is interesting that this American writer in the collection “Ziggurat” from 2010, dedicated the last song of the 14 parts to Sarajevo. The city attracted him, as it represents a connection of conflict and suffering. Just as he found the way to talk about the genocide in Armenia, he found the way to approach the physical and psychological trauma that Sarajevo under the siege has survived.

In the poem “Sarajevo”, Balakian leaves reader with his own sense of desire in the once beautiful world affected by racial and ethnic madness, which despite everything continues to live. The entire song can be found at this LINK.

Balakian has 7 books of poetry in his collection, as well as memoirs “Black Dog of Fate” and the book “The Burning Tigris,” which was published in 2004. He wrote the first piece in 1980, and according to him, poetry was the center of his life from the beginning, even when he was writing other genres. The collection ‘Ziggurat’ revived the spirits of the terrible wars from the Appomattox to Cambodia, from Armenia to Sarajevo.

About the awards that he received, he said: “The awards are a wonderful confirmation of the jury for your work, but I think they do not change anything in writing.”

(Source: A. Pobric/



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