Silva Kaputikyan

(1919-2006)

Biography of Silva Kaputikyan

Silva Kaputikyan poet

Sirvard "Silva" Kaputikyan (Armenian: Սիլվա Կապուտիկյան) (20 January 1919 – 25 August 2006) was a prominent Armenian poet, writer, academian and public activist. She is recognized as "the leading poetess of Armenia".

Born to parents from Van, Turkey, she was raised in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, and lived there her entire life. She finished the Faculty of philology of the Yerevan State University, and then studied at the Higher courses of Gorky Institute of World Literature.

She made her literary debut in 1930's and published her first collection of poems in 1945. It included "Khosk im vordun" (A word to my son), which is recognized as one of the most popular poems of Kaputikyan.
Two main themes of her works were the national identity and lyric poetry. Kaputikyan, whose ancestors were refugees from Van, remembers their ordeal in "Hin karote" (The Old Yearning, 1992).She was recognized as the leading poetess of Armenia.

She also wrote two popular travel books, The caravans are still on the move and A mosaic composed of the soul and the map, dedicated to her visits to the Armenian communities.
Her works were translated by Bulat Okudjava, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Bella Akhmadulina, Desanka Maksimović and others. She was awarded the "Renowned Master of Arts" Armenian SSR (1970) and "Renowned Worker of Arts" Georgian SSR (1980) official titles, State prizes of USSR (1952) and Armenian SSR (1988), "Nosside" Italian prize, orders of St. Mesrop Mashtots (Armenia) and "Knyaginia Olga" (Ukraine). Kaputikyan was an academic of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences and a member of International PEN.

She was one of the leaders of Karabakh movement. In February 1988, during a reception in the Kremlin, Mikhail Gorbachev said he and his wife, Raisa, greatly admired Kaputikyan's poetry.
Kaputikyan appeared as herself in the 1992 documentary, Parajanov: The Last Spring, about Sergei Parajanov, a film-maker of Armenian descent who was persecuted by the Soviet authorities. On 14 April 2004, she wrote an open letter Kocharyan Must Go, where she protested President Robert Kocharyan's harsh methods towards the demonstrators on 12 April/13 April 2004, and returned the Mesrop Mashtots Medal she had been awarded by Kocharyan in 1999.
She died in Yerevan of a stroke, aged 87.

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