Silva Kaputikyan

Born on January 20, 1919, Silva Kaputikyan was a prominent Armenian poet, writer, academic and public activist, widely recognized as "the leading poetess of Armenia".

Born to parents from Van, Turkey, she was raised in Yerevan, where throughout her life. After completing her studies at the faculty of philology of Yerevan State University, she pursued post graduate education at the Gorky Institute of World Literature.

The two main themes Kaputikyan dealt with were national identity and lyric poetry. She made her literary debut in 1930's, publishing her first poem in 1933 and became a member of the Writers Union of Armenia in 1941. In 1945 she published her first collection of poems, her first major publication. It included "Khosk im vordun" (A word to my son), recognized as one of her most popular poems, becoming a standard verse in recognizing national identity. The last verse reads: "Look, my son, wherever you are, / Wherever you go under this moon, / Even if you forget your mother, / Do not forget your Mother tongue."

In the 1960s and 70s she traveled throughout Armenian diaspora communities in the Middle East and North America, and later published two travel books (in 1964 and 1976), in which she describes her visits to these Armenian communities, largely composed of genocide survivors and their descendants. During these two decades, her writing focuses on the history of the Armenian people and their future, maintaining a positive outlook throughout. All the while, she still wrote and published several poems for children, as well as to two dramas.

Among her many awards, are the "Renowned Master of Arts" in 1970, and "Renowned Worker of Arts" Georgian ten years later, the "Nosside" Italian prize, the order St. Mesrop Mashtots, and "Knyaginia Olga" in Ukraine. Kaputikyan was an academic of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences and a member of International PEN.

In addition to authoring over sixty books in Armenian, and some in Russian, Kaputikyan was a very involved activist, and was one of the leaders of the Karabakh movement. She appeared as herself in the 1992 documentary, Parajanov: The Last Spring, about the celebrated Armenian filmmaker who was persecuted by the Soviet authorities. On April 14, 2004, she wrote an open letter in protest of President Robert Kocharyan’s severe methods towards public demonstrators, and went on to return the St. Mesrop Mashtots medal she had been awarded by Kocharyan in 1999.

She passed away in Yerevan in 2006, at the age of 87.


English Poetry
French Poetry
Spanish Poetry
Italian Poetry