Daniel Varoujan

Through his poetry and activism, Daniel Varoujan verbalized the struggles and aspirations of the Armenians at the start of the 20th Century, fighting for deliverance from a rebirth in Armenian arts.

Daniel Varoujan was born on April 20th, 1884 in Sebastia, a village in central Turkey neighboring the city of Sivas, and is considered one of the most influential Armenian poets of the early 20th Century. As a teenager, he attended different schools throughout Europe, including the Mkhitarian School in Constantinople and the Mourad-Rafaelian school in Venice. In 1905, he enrolled in Ghent University in Belgium where he studied literature, sociology and economics.

He published his first book of poems, The Trembling, in 1906, followed by The Heart of a Nation in 1909. That same year he returned to his village to teach, and soon after marrying his wife, Araksi Varoujan, he became the principal of Constantinople’s St. Gregory The Illuminator School in 1912. Shortly after, he published a third book titled Pagan Songs.

In an effort to promote Armenian arts and literature, Varoujan teamed up with fellow Armenian writers Gostan Zarian, Hagop Oshagan, and Aharon and Kegham Parseghian to establish the Mehian (Temple) Literary Group and Magazine in 1914. Through its many activities, the group sought to use the arts as a tool to awaken their community and establish an Armenian Renaissance.

Daniel Varoujan was arrested and jailed on April 24th, 1915, the year following the creation of the Mehian (Temple) Literary Group and Magazine. While being transferred to a nearby village with four other prisoners, Turkish officials intercepted the convoy and took them to the woods where they were tortured and left to die.

During the Armenian Genocide, the fifty-page collection of poems The Song of the Bread was confiscated. It was later found and published posthumously in 1921. To this day, it is considered one of the most important works of Armenian poetry, celebrating the majesty of Armenian agricultural life.


Daniel Varoujan Poetry