How Does Armenian Lyricism Taste?

Mr. Daduryan has told AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School 9th grade Armenian Honors students that the lyrical poetry is the most “fragrant” part of the Armenian literature. It seems only appropriate that we think of Armenian Romanticism as nothing other than sweet! To put this claim to a test, last week, the student participants turned to Misak Medzarents, one of the great lyrical poets, to discover a very fragrant word – mastic.

First, the group searched around in local ethnic food stores, hoping to spot something made of mastic (prepared from tree sap, which originated in the Greek island of Chios) to test out its sweetness, and perhaps even place themselves in Medzarents’s shoes when he felt inspired to compose his poem “Untitled.” Upon discovering mastic gum, and they all chewed some in the classroom, and Mr. Daduryan was no exception! It was pure, refreshing, cleansing, aromatic and even saccharine just the way the then 21-year-old poet explained: “Մազտաքէ բուրող ծաղիկ.”

To provide a bit of context, roughly 23 villages on the island of Chios produce mastic – often in the form of chewing gum. It is lauded for its antibacterial properties, as well as pain relief, particularly for those suffering from lung disease. It was even said to cure stomach ulcers, and oddly enough, to whiten teeth. In the Mediterranean basin and in the Middle East, mastic also has culinary uses, and the Greeks appreciate it so much that they even produce mastic wine.

The students thanks Armenian poetry, for showing them the fragrant aspect of Armenian literature.

AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School, 2495 East Mountain St., Pasadena, (626) 794-0363 or visit








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