Ashkhen Ed. Jrbashyan
The article is dedicated to the study of the metric art of Daniel Varuzhan, one of the brightest representatives of Western Armenian poetry. His first collection of poems, “Tremors” (1906), was written on the metric principles developed by the Mkhitarist philologists. Critics then noted that in this book Varuzhan is making his first steps, and he still has a long way to achieve poetic mastery. In particular, the rhymes and poetic forms he used were considered unfortunate and inappropriate.
Varuzhan’s second collection, “Heart of the Nation” (1909), already marked the birth of a mature poet. The heroic spirit permeating this collection, the naturalness of speech, the spontaneous flow of images, gave his poetry a new impulse and quality and found a unique expression in metric forms. Here we find a large number of astrophic and non-rhymed verses. Varuzhan’s attitude to rhyme has changed somewhat since the 1910s. If earlier he denied the role of rhyme and considered it “backward”, then in “Pagan Songs” (1912) he gradually increased the proportion of rhyming poems, giving them a new sound. His poetry also used new ways, new methods and means of constructing poetic stanzas. Without abandoning astrophic verses, Varuzhan was simultaneously looking for new stanza forms, he also used one of the most beloved solid forms of Western Armenian poets – the sonnet. It should be noted that both of his latest collections open with sonnets, which are more suitable for the holistic transmission of the main ideological tendencies of poetic cycles.
Varuzhan used a unique structure and metric forms in his latest collection “Song of Bread”, which the poet never managed to finish. The book was published a few years after his death – in 1921, based on 29 poems published in the press. Literary criticism has long noticed the direct influence of idyllic and instructive poems of world literature, the traditions of which date back to ancient literature, the Renaissance and Classicism, on Varuzhan’s last collection. Obviously, Varuzhan does not repeat the structure and form of these works, but they certainly were a powerful incentive for the general idea of the cycle to promote new creative ideas and forms. The collection “Song of Bread” is formed as a complete and constructive poem, where all the poems have a solid stanza structure and rhyming lines. In this cycle we see not only new ways of constructing stanzas, but also metric forms that were not previously used in his poems.
It can be argued that the poetry of Varuzhan is a solid and integral system of poetic forms and structures. Changes from one collection to another should be seen as a natural result of the legitimate development of this system and the maturation of poetic talent.