Diana Der-Hovanessian, March 1, 2018

Diana Der-Hovanessian, accomplished poet, translator, and long-time President (champion!) of the New England Poetry Club, passed away on March 1, 2018 at home.

Diana, a New England-born poet, was twice a Fulbright professor of American Poetry and was author of more than 25 books of poetry and translations. She recieved awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Society of America, PEN/Columbia Translation Center, National Writers Union, Armenian Writers Union, Paterson Poetry Center, Prairie Schooner, American Scholar, and the Armenian Ministry of Culture. Her poems appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, Ararat, CSM, Poetry, Partisan, Prairie Schooner, Nation, etc., and in anthologies such as Against Forgetting, Women on War, On Prejudice, Finding Home, Leading Contemporary Poets, Orpheus and Company, Identity Lessons, Voices of Conscience, Two Worlds Walking, etc. Among the several plays written by DDH, two (The Secret of Survival and Growing Up Armenian) were produced and in 1984 and 1985 traveled to many college campuses in the 80s telling the Armenian story with poetry and music.  After 1989, The Secret of Survival with Michael Kermoyan and later with Vahan Khanzadian was performed for earthquake relief benefits. She worked as a visiting poet and guest lecturer on American poetry, Armenian poetry in translation, and the literature of human rights at various universities here and abroad.

Diana served as President of the New England Poetry Club for over three decades. She stated the mission of the Club in the following way: “To expand poetry. To bring people into the art. To show off the best. To be a forum for an exchange of ideas.” We strive to honor her vision of the NEPC!


Diana Der-Hovanessian

May 21, 1934 – March 1, 2018

Selection of poems by Diana Der-Hovanessian


Once Sona gave me an angel. Or I should say
a drawing of one sprinkling stars
like snow, inscribing it, “Diana scattering
light.”  Not mother, not mommy, not mom —
she used my name.  I taped it to the door
of her old room and there it stayed until

it came to life today.  Walking in Somerville
I saw a woman in an empty parking lot
scattering crumbs St. Francis style
to swarming pigeons at her feet,
Sona’s angel strewing stars, chatting as regent,
angel, queen, — bag lady no more, but mother
feeding her children, dispensing grace.



When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When you father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.


SALT (published in AGNI)


Interview with Diana Der-Hovanessian by Doug Holder:


Biography: https://armenianweekly.com/2018/03/02/diana-der-hovanessian-dispensing-grace/

Obituary: http://www.giragosianfuneralhome.com/m/?p=memorial&id=2078443

Victor Howes, 1923-2018

With great sadness and a heavy heart, we say goodbye to Victor Howes. Victor passed away on January 1, 2018, at the age of 94. All who knew Victor remember his kindness and generosity, his good humor and his erudition.  He served many years on the Board of the New England Poetry Club welcoming new members and facilitating writing workshops. He regaled us with stories about the Club’s founders, Robert Frost and Amy Lowell, and members Ann Sexton and Robert Lowell, among others—he was the dear memory keeper for Club. Victor will be sorely missed.



by Victor Howes, from Thoughts after Spenser: Collected Light Verse, 2017


I found a faded King, a King of Hearts,

Between the pages of a borrowed book,

A frayed, worn King, a played-out playing card,

Lost in the shuffle, hardly worth a look.

And with a flip, I flipped him on the face,

This player King, who by convention took

A player Queen, but fell to player Ace.

What glory now, without the servile pack,

The Jacks who followed suit, the cardboard crew

Who honored him? What hand had he been dealt

to live, outlive those other kings who knew

His rank, however keenly they had felt

His rivalry? They left before he came

To this sad pass. They knew it was a game.


@Yenching Library

7:00 Meeting and Election (members only)

7:30 Reading (open to the public)

Paula Bonnell, honorable mention, Rosalie Boyle/Norma Farber Award

Rhina Espaillat, Der Hovanessian Prize

Len Krisak, honorable mention, Der Hovanessian Prize

Alfred Nicol, co-winner, Rosalie Boyle/Norma Farber Award

Jean L. Kreiling, co-winner, Rosalie Boyle/Norma Farber Award

Suellen Wedmore, winner of the Erika Mumford Prize

Followed by OPEN MIC