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Kristen D. Scott Reviews Rumor (Cold River Press, 2015) from Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

 

Silva Zanoyan Merjanian´s Rumor from Cold River Press (2015), explores themes such as place, the muse, and roles of women betwixt its pages. She transports the reader from Lebanon´s Beirut to cities with “no name,” as in her poem “ROOFTOP”:

          I die at dusk every day

          on a rooftop in a city with no name

          daughters unborn to me mourn

          in bruised nights’ wombs

          voices I do not recognize

          utter prayers to deaf trees

          shaking my limbs off their leaves

          (1-6)

In “Doves of Beirut” the reader inhales familiar Middle Eastern scents such as “jasmine,” “figs,” and “sea air,” but Zanoyan Merjanian takes the familiar and turns it into the unfamiliar by creating new tropes that correlate to these images such as: “diesel,” “sweat,” “damp alleys,” “and white droppings” (21-26, 42).

This is her Beirut.

 

She continues to fragment images of Lebanon in her poem, “My Slivered Lebanon,” where she guides the reader on a multi-cultured journey through kaleidoscopic lens. One sees symbols such as the known biblical Cedars of Lebanon, transform into a violent one:

          but she whispers in shadows of her nights

          of another time

          when biblical cedars bowed in others’ blood

          and clouds wept salted Mediterranean prayers

          sanguine vines on alabaster legs

          held balconies by one iron thread

          terror on tongues wet with warm milk

          brought mothers to their knees

          doves on rooftops flying in circles

          witnessed vultures pecking at cadavers

          smell of burning flesh feel of red shrapnel

          sound of explosions ferment only in her head

          yet still deafen thunders

          (14-29).

 

Ever-present in Silva Zanoyan Merjanian´s Rumor are women - they are not subtle allusions, but firmly-fixed visible images. Zanoyan Merjanian again plays with metaphor by suggesting new pictures  for women. Reader´s minds will connect with gender in new ways. In “WE THE WOMEN,” she reshapes gender roles:

          We hold our liqueur ‘tween our teeth

          celebrate sisterhood as spit and swear

          see our moistened pitted tongues

          flick and flatter in daylight

          pregnant magnets spinning in flight

          (1-5)

 

In the same poem, she tantalizes the reader onward, challenging female stereotypes. In Rumor, women will not fit into preconceived hourglass shaped boxes:

          we measure power in galloping breasts

          enhanced, reduced, stretched, rounded, supported, bare

          they wobble and trounce miles before our voices hound

          to hold between our legs knowing smiles

          gathered from each others lashed raw backs

 

          we bring our mines to blessed hills with severed sights

          flirt within our lips drawn thin over stringed faux pas

          we lie in crinoline holding the devil hostage intrauterine

          smoldering alone until rivalry rings grow dim

          while we kegel our resolve in stories misty and grim

          (11-20).

 

At other times women are personified as ancient Phoenician goddesses as in “My Slivered Lebanon,” where she mourns loss of culture and love, interchanging them with the destruction of war:

          she (Shapash)whispers in shadows of her nights

          of another time

          where once Anath feasted on figs and dates

          licked honey off her fingers

          rolled ethnic bulging dice

          dashing hope and ashes wide

          (30-35)

 

In Sylvia Zanoyan Merjanian´s new poetry collection Rumor, she challenges preconceived notions. She does this by cleverly creating new tropes for known images. What remains are pictures of women, landscapes, etc.  that will form a new language - one that is hers. 

 

All proceeds of Rumor are donated to the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund. 

RUMOR is available at:
www.silvamerjanian.com 
www.amazon.com - All proceeds to Syrian Armenian Relief Fund sent by publisher
www.coldriverpress.org

Silva Zanoyan Merjanian is a widely published poet who grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. She moved to Geneva during the Lebanese civil war after personally experiencing the devastation of her beloved country. She later settled in California to raise her two sons with her husband. Her poetry reflects a little of what she took with her from each city she lived in. The nostalgia for her roots, her Armenian heritage, her deep sense of humanity reduced and elevated at the same time in life’s events, permeate through her poems. Her work is featured in anthologies and international poetry journals. Irish writer and performer Eabha Rose recently read five of her poems; Choices, Rooftop, Doves of Beirut, Suicide and Home which gained international acclaim. Her first volume of poetry, Uncoil a Night, was released in 2013. You may contact her at silvamerjanian@gmail.com.

Kristen D. Scott  is a nominee of the Pushcart prize in poetry for five works from her 2014 collection OPIATE. She is  an award-winning essayist for her work on Federico Garcia Lorca and his books the Divan del Tamarit, Poet of the Deep Song, and essay, "The Duende." 

 

She has published in several Anthologies, newspapers, and ezines, including the San Diego Poetry Annuals, Nomos Review, Perigee, Alesbuyia, and published two poetry collection from Garden Oak Press; LIAISONS (2012) and OPIATE (2014). She has also been translated into Arabic, Albanian Turkish and Sanskrit. Her recent publication was featured poet in MeArteka (May, 2015) where she had several poems translated into Albanian. Her new and selected poems are forthcoming from Garden Oak Press in September 2015. 

 

Scott is currently the Editor-In-Chief, founder, and web designer

of KNOT Magazine, holds a MFA in Creative Writing, MA in English Literature, and is progressing with her Ph.D in Global Education and Comparative Literature.

 

Originally from Colorado, Scott has resided on the Riviera in Türkiye, where she has lived for several years.