Varujan Boghosian in Provincetown
by Marguerite Serkin
Varujan Boghosian works from a place of poetry. Born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut in the 1920s, Professor Boghosian has not forgotten the teachers from his early life who influenced him the most. He credits these early teachers with instilling a lifelong passion for learning and discovery, notably poet Constance Carrier, who taught English and Latin at the local high school and was widely regarded for her translations of Propertius and Tibullus. Not one to be limited by classicism, Boghosian is effusive in his admiration of American popular song and film, which he considers among the great art forms of our time. At 90, his enthusiasm is unmitigated.
Proving that the most interesting life follows an unpredictable path, during a recent visit to his home Professor Boghosian recounted image-filled stories of growing up in an immigrant community, rich with international influences and mores in a time when industrial production along the East Coast still flourished.
“I was born and grew up in New Britain, which was the hardware city of the world during my early years,” Boghosian explained. “Things changed after the Second World War ended — a lot of the factories closed down and moved out of New Britain, but I think it was in a way more American than say The Heartland, like Kansas and places, because it was where the immigrants came. And talk about a melting pot. I mean, my gang was composed of Greeks, Italians, Polish, and that combined with wonderful women teachers — there were not many men teaching in those days — combined with a great Carnegie Library, and a great museum, and a great Olmsted Park, these all.
He added, “I was so blessed by having teachers who introduced me to poetry and literature and then the city in its way did the rest of the teaching. The locomotive came right down through Main Street. What can I say? It all contributed to the development of an American artist.”