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Nare Garibyan, When Ruins Speak: A Journey of Poems

  • Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse 1010 Foothill Boulevard La Cañada Flintridge (map)

Reading and Booksigning


Nare Garibyan is a poet. When Ruins Speak is her inaugural collection of poetry. Pervious to the collection, her original poem Lover was published in the Eclipse literary journal housed at Glendale Community College.  She also has an extensive publishing resume as an editor and arts writer at Yerevan Magazine.

Nare was born in Yerevan, Armenia and lived in Tallinn, Estonia as a young child. Growing up in Glendale, California, Nare became an active member of the Armenian community from an early age. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA. She also holds a master’s degree in college counseling from USC. She is currently an academic counselor in the California Community College system at Glendale Community College and Los Angeles City College. 

Nare Garibyan Photo.jpg

In 2005, my friends and I, with whom I had grown up, ventured from Glendale, California towards Western Armenia (present day Eastern Turkey) on a quest to reconnect with our ancestral land, in an attempt to gain a visceral understanding of our heritage. Our journey began six months prior to our departure; we gathered weekly and together discussed the historical background of each region, city or village we would visit, along with how the regions had changed over the years and what we might expect to see. We went back in time and walked in the footsteps of the Armenian villager, poet, and clergyman by reading accounts of life in Western Armenia before and after the Armenian Genocide. We read the journal entries and memoirs of American government officials and missionaries. These preparatory steps united us further and prepared us to genuinely experience this once in a life time journey.  

We came across areas where historical elements where no longer in existence. We came across extremely vulnerable environments. We came across large spans of silence lingering amongst the ruins. We conversed with our ancestors and returned with a deepened sense of loss and an understanding of our responsibility to maintain our connection to the homeland. We learned the true value of the human breath and how we can sometimes take our own existence for granted.    

In an effort to personally interpret my journey, as well as our journey as a group, I present 11 poems spanning the full 11 days we spent in present-day Eastern Turkey, where we purposefully wandered throughout our ancestral homeland with a group of 11, stopping to hear the ruins speak. These poems are my attempt to reach out to humanity and encourage people to explore their own cultural elements, including the truths hidden in the dark corners; in an attempt to rekindle the common human thread of temporality and impermanency, along with resuscitating the belief of empathic survival in a tumultuous world, simultaneously filled with uncertainty and optimism

Later Event: April 27
Independent Bookstore Day