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Jen Siraganian
I explore the straddling of opposing cultures

Artist Statement

My work investigates the concept of home and displacement. Growing up with grandparents who were survivors of the Armenian Genocide, I learned that safety, belonging, and security were tenuous concepts and many poems explores these ideas.

My book-length manuscript, Journal for Pomegranates, is based on the intersection of my family’s history in the Middle East with my identity as an Armenian-American woman. With an American parent and an Armenian one, one grandmother in Palestine and another in Lebanon, I explore the straddling of opposing cultures, and write from a perspective as never having a firm footing in either one.

Whether recounting a visit to my family’s old house in Palestine or being questioned due to my father’s birthplace in Syria, I explore origins and belonging. In addition, I strive to expose invisible narratives.

Writing about Lebanese refugees, Armenians searching empty shelves in Artsakh, and the declining birthrate of girls in Yerevan, I draw attention to what is hidden in the news or people’s own awareness. I continue to investigate these ideas in my work, so silenced voices are spotlighted, rather than cloaked in secrecy.

Artist Bio

Jen Siraganian is a writer, educator, literary organizer, and former Poet Laureate of Los Gatos. A graduate of Brown University and University of Arkansas, she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, awarded a Lucas Arts Fellowship, and profiled in San Francisco Chronicle and The Mercury News. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, AGNI, Prairie Schooner, Southwest Review, Mid-American Review, Smartish Pace, and other journals and anthologies. She has served as Managing Director for Litquake: San Francisco’s Literary Festival and taught literature and creative writing in schools, universities, and community settings for twenty years.
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