The Center for Literary Arts celebrates National Poetry Month with Peter Balakian and President Mary Papazian at the Hammer Theatre.
Peter Balakian recently won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Ozone Journal which recounts the speaker’s experience in excavating bones of victims of Armenian genocide in the Syrian desert. His writing has received praise from critics and readers alike. For Ozone Journal, the Pulitzer Prize committee praises Balakian for bearing “witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty.”
As a writer, Balakian pulls from his experience as an Armenian American. He became inspired to explore and reconnect with his Armenian heritage after learning that his grandmother was a survivor of the Syrian Death March. Since this discovery, Balakian has been writing to unearth his family’s legacy and to study the relationship between the Armenian Genocides and the Armenian Diaspora.
Presiden Mary Papazian will join the stage after Peter Balakian. She became SJSU’s 30th president in 2016. Since her inaugural, she has been committed to student success and building a campus of cultural and intellectual diversity. Papazian is responsible for the appointment of a chief diversity officer to lead a newly-established Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SJSU. As an Armenian American, Mary Papazian will provide insight and engage in a dialogue about the importance of diversity with Peter Balakian.