Armenian Jerusalem

New Jersey-based Robert Marashlian, whose parents hail from

Jerusalem, has been writing poetry for as long as he can remember.

But somehow he never got around to having any of his work

published. Until now.

New York publisher Vantage Press has now made that dream of his come true. The new poetry anthology is entitled "The Odyssey of Life" and will contain some of his latest poem "The poetry of Robert Marashlian is frequently a criticism of contemporary society's beliefs as well as the way we now live. His work reflects his feelings toward the outstanding events of our times, not to mention his profound appreciation of life," according to a book review. "The Odyssey of Life," Robert's first published collection, brings together the best of his work spanning three decades. Subtitled "Poems of Truth," this forthright volume presents social and political concerns, underscores the poet's love of the natural world, pays tribute to the great importance of an irreplaceable friendship, and honors the ideas of "filling the present with joyous times" and "being blessed with musician friends who are talented and kind," the review says. Poems such as "The Good Old Days," "A Message to My Muslim Friends," "Jihad," and "Iran" are eloquent in their representation of the volatile times in which we live. Ever the attentive observer, the poet also ponders his "Conscience" with introspection while acknowledging the fragility of life in "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow." The Odyssey of Life combines artistic flair with a straightforward outpouring of honest emotion. With their varying joy, beauty, and conflict, these poems happily compel readers to see the world through Robert's discerning eyes. Robert graduated from Colorado State University and enjoyed a long career as a teacher. As an educator, musician, and member of the Armed Forces, he faced many challenges in his life, with perhaps his greatest challenge being his diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in the prime of his life. Not to be deterred, Robert refused to be defined or limited by his affliction, and began writing poetry to express his feelings. Through his writing, the poet gives readers the opportunity to meet a huge challenge as well: "to understand life for what it truly is and how to live it to its fullest." In addition to writing, the poet loves music, worked for a time as a musician, and composes creatively whenever he can. Now retired, Robert resides in New Jersey. The new poetry book is to be published in April, 2008. Robert is an accomplished musician, singer and composer but has also found time to turn his talents to poetry. Robert has become a vocal champion of the unfortunate, the abused and the downtrodden. He has a particular dislike of self-serving politicians and cannot tolerate aggression, and he is constantly bewailing the rape of his ancestral land and its people. Although he can hardly move his body around, his heart and soul soar to inspiring heights in his poetry when he proclaims to the world that despite the dispersion and persecution of the past, the spirit of Armenians "still breathes and flutters alive." Robert, who also happens to have devoted himself to mathematics, believes the "foundation of the future lies somewhere in the past." Evocative thoughts from a sensitive human being who knows the true meaning of courage in the face of relentless suffering. In "Armenia Speaks" he accuses the aggressor of killing, maiming and torturing, of leaving "nothing there to be spared." But Armenia remains strong in its faith and knows that "the foundation of the future, lies somewhere" in its glorious past.