After enduring a bitter divorce, Silva Karaptyan found that putting her thoughts on paper helped her cope.
The 62-year-old former English and literature teacher started writing poems about her experiences and soon learned that her writing not only provided her the therapy she needed, but it helped others who were unhappy with their lives.
Karaptyan, who taught English in her native Armenia, also read literature in English, Armenian and Russian to keep her mind active.
When she moved to the United States, Karaptyan continued to immerse herself in poetry and literature and met others who showed an interest in writing, reciting and discussing books and poems.
Karaptyan still seeks refuge in books and can often be found reading at the local library.
But when she isn’t reading or writing, Karaptyan can be found reciting poetry to anyone who will listen.
Glendale News-Press news assistant Ani Amirkhanian sat down with Karaptyan and asked her a few questions.
How did literature and poetry help you deal with the divorce?
After getting divorced, for 10 years I couldn’t find myself. My faith was too strong, and I thought I could overcome my problems. I started writing poetry — one of my poems is eight lines, the other is six lines — about my life. I wrote about the value of life and finding life again after a broken heart. I was in a difficult situation, and writing helped me overcome what I was feeling inside.
What kind of poetry do you recite to people?
I recite poems not only from writers in Armenia, but from Armenian authors living here. When I present the poems to people, they are astonished. They listen to it and realize that a lot of times, all they do is worry about their problems. They forget that poetry has the power to keep the mind active and thinking. If I see someone in a difficult situation, I try to help them overcome their problems.
The library has a lot of reading material to offer. What do you look for when you go to the library?
I take interest in writers, their autobiographies and books about opinions and criticisms about their writings. I’ve read biographies about [Princess] Diana’s life, [Mikhail] Gorbachev’s life.
I don’t read in English that much. I read mostly in Armenian.
How does literature play a major role in your life today?
If I have a new book, it’s like bread and water. I’ve learned through literature to say, ‘never say never.’ You find a lot of answers with paradoxes. Oscar Wilde has a lot of paradoxes in his writing. A paradox gets you to think about your own life.
What would you tell parents to say to their children to get them to read more?
A lot of parents who don’t know English don’t know any better. If they don’t know the language before they come here, it would be good for them to study it before they come. It’s imperative that they get their children to do the same so they can read and learn. It’s never too late to learn.