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About Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian, Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize, Harvard
Seamus Heaney and Nicholas Alahverdian


Nicholas Alahverdian is a Harvard-educated scholar and political activist. As an adolescent, Nicholas survived torture and abuse inflicted upon him by the Rhode Island government under the direct orders of a chief judge and a governor following his political activism against them while Alahverdian was an employee of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Providence,
Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas was sent to two facilities far from New England that had extensive records of torture, abuse, and negligence. He was forced to remain in these abusive facilities until his 18th birthday and was not allowed to contact anyone, go to school, or prepare for adulthood.

Alahverdian survived the torture, sued his abusers, settled in court, and studied at Harvard University.

The primary scholarly focus of Nicholas Alahverdian is the intersection of philology, rhetoric, and politics. He has been featured in The Providence Journal, NPR, BBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC News as well as The Buddy Cianci Show, The Boston Globe and countless other media entities.

Thomas Wolfe’s Existentialism with Harvard Scholar Nicholas Alahverdian

2010 Harvard Barker Center interview with Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian
© 2012 Nicholas Alahverdian.

Thomas Wolfe, a writer who lived and worked during what is colloquially called the Southern Literary Renaissance, was a troubled genius. Wolfe was an existentialist. He loved spending money but he never threw things away. Wolfe was concerned about the most basic existence of things, even inanimate objects. We interviewed Wolfe expert Nicholas Alahverdian about the life and work of this enigmatic author.

Nicholas Alahverdian
Nicholas Alahverdian

A troubled genius

Thomas Wolfe was clearly a genius, but he was quite troubled,” said Harvard Scholar Nicholas Alahverdian. “He had extreme obsessions. Wolfe was at one moment a man of the world: he loved the best food and ate at the finest restaurants.”

Nicholas Alahverdian, Thomas Wolfe
© 2012 Nicholas Alahverdian.

“However,” Nicholas Alahverdian continued, “Wolfe began to starve himself day after day, almost as a sacrifice to the gods of writing, ensuring that they knew he would do whatever it took to write the great American novel.”

“Ever the existentialist, he performed a bit of imitation of his idols. Wolfe consumed cigarettes and coffee, perhaps ironically, perhaps not.” he said.

Wolfe’s vices

It’s no secret that Wolfe was an alcoholic. Alahverdian said, “While he did work sober on occasion, he spent a prolonged phase of his work completely inebriated. While this may have been due to other strains on his life — women, money, or emotional distress — Wolfe was ordinarily enticed by the power of alcohol.”

Nicholas Alahverdian
© 2012 Nicholas Alahverdian. All rights reserved

“Alcohol helped him work. It helped him forget the perils of life. It helped him reduce the pain he so regularly suffered.”

Thomas Wolfe was just like many existentialists. The troubles imposed by Southern culture as a result of Reconstruction, including discouragement, loss, and anguish led him to be steeped in despair.

Nicholas Alahverdian said that Thomas Wolfe also “had a predilection to talk about his history in conversations with strangers ad infinitum in letters. He wanted to talk non-stop about his desire to highlight the importance of individualism and personal freedom.” Wolfe would occasionally and irrationally treat his contemporaries, even close friends, with unjustified contempt.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Thomas Wolfe
© 2012 Nicholas Alahverdian. All rights reserved

Other times, he would contemplate the depths of his heart and mind. “He had an extraordinary talent, but he was very unsettled in his emotional state. Diversions, however slight, would immerse Wolfe in the worst state of hopelessness and desperation, leading him to aimlessly wander the local roads and seek refuge from his ever-faithful liquor and spirits,” said Nicholas Alahverdian.

Wolfe constantly and fruitlessly sought confirmation from whatever deity would reply. He wanted to converse with deity, to confirm his or her existence. Not only would it justify his writing, but he could also interrogate the deity about the form and purpose of his writing, according to Alahverdian.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Thomas Wolfe
© 2012 Nicholas Alahverdian. All rights reserved

“Interestingly enough,” said Alahverdian, “Thomas Wolfe thought he was one with the gods. But this was to be expected with a writer of his stature and talent. Thomas Wolfe had what is colloquially known as the “God complex” — that is, he felt that because of his God-like stature, his writing could save the world and cure it of its ailments.”

The Southern reconstruction

This was especially important during the Southern Reconstruction. The region was afflicted by post-war consequences, incessant famine, and destructive community strife. The South, after the American Civil War, was a horrible place to be. Resources were scarce. “There were no easy solutions to the conflict caused between the North and the South,” said Nicholas Alahverdian. “And the Northern states weren’t particularly keen on getting the South back to its prosperous condition.”

“Thomas Wolfe saw all of this. He lived through all of this. And he wanted to somehow utilize his existence to instantaneously cure the troubles of the South. But he couldn’t do it — especially as an author,” said Alahverdian. “However, that didn’t inhibit Wolfe from having a lasting impact on literature and across other facets of Americana, especially politics and contemporary American thought and opinion leadership.”

Thomas Wolfe, Nicholas Alahverdian
Thomas Wolfe © 2012 Nicholas Alahverdian. All rights reserved

“No one at that time in the South could precipitate a cultural and socioeconomic revolution,” said Alahverdian. “It would take decades. But Thomas Wolfe certainly left his mark, which, as an author, isn’t an easy feat.”

Nicholas Alahverdian concentrated in political science and comparative literature at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While studying the Southern Literary Renaissance with the preeminent academician on the subject, Harvard Professor Thomas Underwood, Alahverdian gained a passion for the life and work of Thomas Wolfe. Professor Underwood, while being the foremost authority on the Southern Literary Renaissance, is also the author of the widely cited biography of Allen Tate — Allen Tate: Orphan of the South. 

Nicholas Alahverdian, Willow
© 2009 Nicholas Alahverdian. All rights reserved.

Nicholas Alahverdian is currently completing his long-awaited biography on the poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, due in mid-2019. Alahverdian’s other interests include reading, memorizing poetry, watching historical documentaries, and learning new skills. In a former life, Nicholas Alahverdian was heavily involved in politics, leading a nationwide coalition to reform the worst orphan and foster care system in the nation.

Nicholas Alahverdian exige que Gina Raimondo abandone a campanha do governador devido ao abuso generalizado e morte de crianças

Comunicado de imprensa
Para sua liberação imediata
18 de outubro de 2018

O acadêmico de Harvard e ativista da reforma do DCYF, Nicholas Alahverdian, desencadeou um aviso feroz para o povo de Rhode Island hoje depois de descobrir que mais crianças aos cuidados do Departamento de Crianças, Jovens e Famílias de Rhode Island (DCYF) foram assassinado ou quase morto desde que governador Gina Raimondo e presidente da Câmara dos Representantes Nicholas Mattiello subiram ao poder no governo do estado.

Nicholas Alahverdian, 2018, Election, Endorsements

O relatório é publicado pelo escritório de Nicholas Alahverdian, juntamente com um vídeo detalhando as falhas de Raimondo e Mattiello que podem ser vistos em

“Isso é o que encontramos”, disse Nicholas Alahverdian. “Analisamos tudo, desde os arquivos do Providence Journal até as solicitações do FOIA. As crianças nos cuidados do DCYF correm mais riscos do que nunca. Este é um ano eleitoral e não posso ignorar o óbvio: Gina Raimondo e Nicholas Mattiello falharam. Não há ordens executivas ou legislação para ajudar as crianças. Por causa disso, as crianças dos lares adotivos do DCYF estão morrendo ”.

“Gina Raimondo e Nicholas Mattiello têm sangue nas mãos”, continuou Nicholas Alahverdian. “Uma das últimas vezes que uma criança morreu no estado foi o caso de Thomas” T.J. “Wright, sob a administração do ex-governador Donald Carcieri. Coincidentemente, eu tive o mesmo assistente social que o pequeno T.J. Wright.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Gina Raimondo
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo

Durante o mesmo tempo em que Thomas foi morto em Woonsocket, fui torturado e estuprado na Flórida. Tudo isso aconteceu no mês de outubro de 2004. A pobre Patricia Chabot estava tão sobrecarregada com uma alta taxa de casos que uma criança foi torturada e estuprada e outra morta, tudo em um mês. Esta prática continua inabalável até hoje sob a administração de Raimondo, exceto que é literalmente e exatamente 1.450% pior “.

À medida que a eleição de 2018 se aproxima, é importante destacar os atuais funcionários. “Tivemos mais de 30 mortes ou quase mortes nos últimos 3 anos e meio”, disse Nicholas Alahverdian. “Gina Raimondo, em seu onipresente tom blasé, descartou os problemas do DCYF como” de longa data. “Embora esses problemas sejam de longa duração, essas crianças mortas têm 8 e 9 anos. Elas não têm uma chance justa de vida”.

Quanto à situação do presidente da Câmara dos Representantes Nicholas Mattiello, Alahverdian estava furioso consideravelmente: “Mais de 50% da Câmara dos Deputados aprovou um projeto de lei geral e as contas individuais de revisão DCYF. A legislação nunca foi votada “.

“O consultor jurídico Nicholas Mattiello e os membros da Comissão Mista de Serviços Legislativos da trabalhado ativamente para inibir qualquer legislação que iria melhorar ou revisar DCYF. Vicariamente, Nicholas Mattiello é co-responsável pelas mortes e abusos sofridos pelas crianças sob os cuidados do DCYF. ”

Nicholas Alahverdian, Nicholas Mattiello
Nicholas Mattiello, Speaker of the House

Nicholas Alahverdian, ex-conselheiro legislativo da Câmara dos Representantes de Rhode Island contratado com a idade de 14, tem lutado para a reforma DCYF desde 2002. Alahverdian sofreu tortura, abuso e negligência no programa infame todas as noites no mesmo tempo que funcionou para o governo do estado.

Quando os legisladores e os meios de comunicação começaram a agir e relatou o abuso Alahverdian estava sofrendo, ele foi exilado pelo juiz da Vara de Família Jeremiah S. Jeremias e Donald L. Carcieri Governador de duas instalações: Manatee Palms na Flórida e Centro Residencial Residencial Boys Town em Nebraska – que mais tarde foram fechados por seus próprios estados para tortura, abuso e negligência. Durante esse período de tempo, Alahverdian não permitidos entrar em contato com quaisquer advogados, tribunais, assistentes sociais DCYF, a polícia.

Alahverdian mais tarde processou seus agressores em um tribunal federal de Rhode Island, ele liderou uma tentativa de Estado e ataque legislativo federal para tentar melhorar as políticas e práticas DCYF, e estudou literatura comparada na Universidade de Harvard.

Nicholas Alahverdian apóia Allan Fung: “Vote em Allan Fung para proteger as crianças de Rhode Island!”



Nicholas Alahverdian exige a Gina Raimondo abandonar la campaña del gobernador debido a un amplio abuso y muerte de niños

Presione soltar
Para su liberación inmediata
18 de octubre de 2018

Gina Raimondo

El académico de Harvard y activista de la reforma de DCYF, Nicholas Alahverdian, desató una feroz advertencia a la gente de Rhode Island hoy después de descubrir que más niños al cuidado del Departamento de Niños, Jóvenes y Familias de Rhode Island (DCYF) han sido asesinados o casi asesinados desde que el Gobernador Gina Raimondo y el presidente de la cámara de representantes Nicholas Mattiello se han elevado al poder en el gobierno estatal.

El informe es publicado por la Oficina de Nicholas Alahverdian junto con un video que detalla los fallos de Raimondo y Mattiello que se puede ver en

“Esto es lo que encontramos”, dijo Nicholas Alahverdian. “Analizamos todo, desde los archivos de Providence Journal hasta las solicitudes de la FOIA. Los niños bajo el cuidado de DCYF están más en riesgo que nunca. Este es un año electoral y no me ignoro decir lo obvio: Gina Raimondo y Nicholas Mattiello han fracasado. No hay órdenes ejecutivas ni legislación para ayudar a los niños. Debido a esto, los niños en hogares de guarda de DCYF están muriendo “.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Harvard
Harvard scholar Nicholas Alahverdian

“Gina Raimondo y Nicholas Mattiello tienen sangre en sus manos”, continuó Nicholas Alahverdian. “Una de las últimas veces que un niño murió en la atención estatal fue el caso de Thomas “T.J.” Wright, bajo la administración del ex gobernador Donald Carcieri. Casualmente, tuve la misma trabajadora social que la pequeña T.J. Wright

Durante el mismo tiempo en que mataron a Thomas en Woonsocket, fui torturado y violado en Florida. Todo esto sucedió en el mes de octubre de 2004. La pobre Patricia Chabot estaba tan sobrecargada con una alta tasa de casos que tuvo un niño torturado y violado y otro muerto, todo en un mes. Esta práctica continúa sin cesar hasta el día de hoy bajo la administración de Raimondo, excepto que es literalmente y exactamente 1,450% peor “.

A medida que se acerca la elección de 2018, es importante destacar a los actuales funcionarios. “Hemos tenido más de 30 muertes o casi muertes en los últimos 3 años y medio”, dijo Nicholas Alahverdian. “Gina Raimondo, en su tono blasé omnipresente, ha descartado los problemas de DCYF como” de larga data. “Aunque estos problemas son de larga data, estos niños muertos tienen 8 y 9. No se les da una oportunidad justa de vida”.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Rhode Island, State House

Con respecto a la situación del presidente del Casa of RepresentantesNicholas Mattiello, Alahverdian se enfureció considerablemente: “Más del 50% de la Cámara de Representantes apoyó un proyecto de ley general y proyectos de ley individuales para revisar DCYF. La legislación nunca fue votada.”

“El asesor legal de Nicholas Mattiello y los miembros del Comité de Servicios Legislativos Conjuntos trabajaron para inhibir activamente cualquier legislación que pudiera mejorar o revisar DCYF. Vicariamente, Nicholas Mattiello es responsable conjunto de las muertes y abusos sufridos por los niños bajo el cuidado de DCYF. ”

Nicholas Alahverdian, ex asesor legislativo de la Cámara de Representantes de Rhode Island contratada a la edad de 14 años, ha estado luchando por la reforma de DCYF desde 2002. Alahverdian sufrió tortura, abuso y negligencia en el infame programa de noche a noche en el mismo Tiempo que trabajó para el gobierno estatal.

Cuando los legisladores y los medios de comunicación comenzaron a actuar e informaron sobre el abuso que Alahverdian estaba sufriendo, fue exiliado por el Juez de la Corte de Familia Jeremiah S. Jeremiah y el Gobernador Donald L. Carcieri a dos instalaciones: Manatee Palms en Florida y Boys Town Residential Residential Center en Nebraska – que más tarde fueron cerrados por sus propios estados por tortura, abuso y negligencia. Durante ese período de tiempo, a Alahverdian no se le permitió ponerse en contacto con nadie: abogados, tribunales, trabajadores sociales de DCYF, la policía.

Alahverdian más tarde demandó a sus abusadores en un tribunal federal de Rhode Island, dirigió un intento de ataque legislativo estatal y federal para intentar mejorar las políticas y prácticas de DCYF, y estudió literatura comparada en la Universidad de Harvard.

Nicholas Alahverdian apoya a Allan Fung: “Vote por Allan Fung para proteger a los niños de Rhode Island!”


Nicholas Alahverdian es un académico y activista político educado en Harvard. Como adolescente, Nicholas sobrevivió a la tortura y los abusos que le infligió el gobierno de Rhode Island bajo las órdenes directas de un juez principal y un gobernador después de su activismo político contra ellos, mientras que Alahverdian era empleado de la Rhode Island Cámara de Representantes. Nicholas fue enviado a dos instalaciones lejos de Nueva Inglaterra que tenían extensos registros de tortura, abuso y negligencia. Se vio obligado a permanecer en estas instalaciones abusivas hasta que cumplió 18 años y no se le permitió ponerse en contacto con nadie, ir a la escuela ni prepararse para la edad adulta. Alahverdian sobrevivió a la tortura, demandó a sus abusadores, se estableció en la corte y estudió en la Universidad de Harvard.

Nicholas Alahverdian uncovers 1,450% increase in child deaths or near-deaths since Gina Raimondo elected

DCYF expert releases statement on foster child deaths during the first 3 years of the tenure of Governor Gina Raimondo


Nicholas Alahverdian uncovers 1,450% increase in child deaths or near-deaths since Gina Raimondo was inaugurated

OCTOBER 18, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. ( — Harvard scholar and DCYF reform activist Nicholas Alahverdian unleashed a fierce warning to the people of Rhode Island today after discovering that more children in the care of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) have been killed or nearly killed since Governor Gina Raimondo and Speaker Nicholas Mattiello have risen to power in state government. 

Gina Raimondo
Gov. Gina Raimondo has turned a blind eye to the chaos at DCYF

The report is released by the Office of Nicholas Alahverdian in conjunction with a video detailing the failures of Raimondo and Mattiello which can be viewed at

“What we have found,” said Nicholas Alahverdian, “Through diving into everything from Providence Journal archives to FOIA requests, is that children in DCYF care are more at risk than ever. This is an election year and I take no ignominy in stating the obvious: Gina Raimondo and Nicholas Mattiello have not — though executive order or legislation — done anything to substantially curve this dangerous trend of dead or nearly-dead DCYF kids.”

Nicholas Alahverdian, Gina Raimondo
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo

“Gina Raimondo and Nicholas Mattiello have blood on their hands,” Nicholas Alahverdian continued. “One of the last times a child died in state care was the case of Thomas Wright, under the administration of former Governor Donald Carcieri. Coincidentally, I had the same social worker as little T.J. Wright — and while he was being killed in Woonsocket, I was being tortured and raped in Florida — all in the month of October 2004. Poor Patricia Chabot was so overburdened with a high rate of cases that she had one kid being tortured and raped and another ending up dead — all in one month. This practice continues unabated to this day under the Raimondo administration — except it is literally and exactly 1,450% worse.”

Nicholas Alahverdian, Nicholas Mattiello
Nicholas Mattiello, Speaker of the House

As the 2018 election draws near, it is important to highlight the records of the incumbents. “We have had over 30 deaths or near-deaths in the past 3 and a half years,” said Nicholas Alahverdian. “Gina Raimondo, in her ubiquitous blasé tone, has dismissed DCYF issues as ‘longstanding.’ While these issues are longstanding, these dead kids are 8 and 9 years old. They are not given a fair chance at life.”

Turning to the situation of Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Alahverdian was considerably infuriated: “Over 50% of the House Chamber supported an omnibus bill and individual bills to overhaul DCYF. Not one bill — bills which were introduced year after year — made it out of committee. Not one. Nicholas Mattiello’s legal counsel and members of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services worked to actively inhibit any legislation that would improve or overhaul DCYF. Vicariously, Nicholas Mattiello is jointly responsible for the deaths and abuse suffered by children in DCYF care.” 

Nicholas Alahverdian, Harvard
Harvard scholar Nicholas Alahverdian

The study, conducted by Nicholas Alahverdian and his team of researchers, found that within the past three gubernatorial administrations, there has been a stark increase in DCYF child deaths since Raimondo became Governor. “In 2008, DCYF investigated reports of the death of a child in their care. In 2003, we saw the tragic death of T.J. Wright. Within a five year timespan, we had two investigations of DCYF-related deaths,” said Alahverdian. In the Chafee administration from 2011 to 2015, there were no child deaths. Yet under Gina Raimondo, we as a state have to take a seat and say to ourselves ‘within 4 years there have been over 30 deaths or near-deaths’” 

“It’s unconscionable,” said Alahverdian. “We have dead Rhode Island kids while Raimondo mingles in glitzy ballrooms raising funds for her campaign — policies which, by practice, include the disregard of DCYF-related killings.” 

Mike Chippendale, Nicholas Alahverdian, Doreen Costa, DCYF
Rep Michael Chippendale, Lobbyist Nicholas Alahverdian, and Rep. Doreen Costa at the Rhode Island State House Press Conference on DCYF

Nicholas Alahverdian, a former legislative aide for the Rhode Island House of Representatives hired at the age of 14, has been fighting for DCYF reform since 2002. Alahverdian suffered torture, abuse, and negligence in the infamous night-to-night program at the same time he worked for the state government. 

When legislators and the media began to act and report on the abuse Alahverdian was suffering, he was exiled by Family Court Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah and Governor Donald L. Carcieri to two facilities — Manatee Palms in Florida and Boys Town Residential Treatment Center in Nebraska — which were later closed by their own states for torture, abuse, and neglect. Thought that period of time, Alahverdian was allowed to contact no one at all — lawyers, the courts, DCYF social workers, the police.

Alahverdian later sued his abusers in federal court in Rhode Island, led an attempted state and federal legislative blitz to attempt to enhance DCYF policies and practices, and studied comparative literature at Harvard University. 


Contact: Nicholas Alahverdian
+1 401 472 4955


T.J. Wright Killing:

Nicholas Alahverdian Biography:

Brief Nicholas Alahverdian biographical video (2011):

2011 WPRI 12 Story on Nicholas Alahverdian story and legislation:

2002 Providence Journal Column by Bob Kerr- 

2011 Providence Journal Column by Bob Kerr-

Providence Journal op-ed 2017 –

Time to go, Raimondo: Nicholas Alahverdian releases 2018 endorsements for upcoming November election

It’s that time again. And Gina Raimondo’s days before losing the election are numbered.

The signs and pins come out.

Your door is knocked upon by seemingly friendly and overexcited volunteers.

You’re caught off guard by the random candidates you’ve seen on tv standing on line at Dunkin’ Donuts (we can still call it that for the time being, right?).

It’s election season. Continue reading Time to go, Raimondo: Nicholas Alahverdian releases 2018 endorsements for upcoming November election

Press Release: Rhode Island DCYF expert calls for House and Senate review of long-delayed legislation

Nicholas Alahverdian legislation would satisfy federal concerns

Continue reading Press Release: Rhode Island DCYF expert calls for House and Senate review of long-delayed legislation

DCYF Report: Recurrent, vile and ominous abuse findings. Again.

Mattiello and Raimondo need to go. Here’s why.

By Nicholas Alahverdian

I have, in collaboration with current and former Representatives Bob DaSilva, Raymond Hull, Michael Marcello, Anastasia Williams and multitudinous others, drafted and submitted bills to ameliorate the seemingly irremediable Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). We have introduced this legislation year after year. Each bill, year after year, has been held for further study.

Interestingly enough, when I was actively lobbying for this legislation in my 2011 DCYF reform blitz, we had over 40 co-sponsors in the House. Think about that for a second. The House of Representatives has 75 members. There were forty co-sponsors. If those bills were transmitted from committee to the floor for a vote, they would have passed with flying colors. Continue reading DCYF Report: Recurrent, vile and ominous abuse findings. Again.

Why are so few children being adopted? | Nicholas Alahverdian

Adapting is the solution to a successful adoption

Author: Nicholas Alahverdian

Adopted children are very rare — especially older children. In my view, couples looking to adopt want a fresh start with a young baby — they don’t want to inherit the potentially copious amount of problems that a child or adolescent who has already been scarred by the system may bring. Continue reading Why are so few children being adopted? | Nicholas Alahverdian

The Public Current – Nicholas Alahverdian Podcast 2011 | Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian, Harvard
Harvard scholar Nicholas Alahverdian

From the archive: Nicholas Alahverdian twice tried his hand at podcasting. His first attempt – a 2011 podcast from NexusGovernment on legislative issues facing the people of . Continue reading The Public Current – Nicholas Alahverdian Podcast 2011 | Nicholas Alahverdian

A twist of fate for Will DeVogue / William Arena

Like many people, I was touched to learn of William Arena’s (a/k/a Will DeVogue) story of the search for his dad. I learned of his story from WJAR NBC 10’s RJ Heim, who did a piece on DeVogue.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Will Devogue
Nicholas Alahverdian and Will Devogue

William Arena/DeVogue thought Bob Dylan was his father and had a garrulous conjecture along with a few serendipitous details about why he surmised these elements united to confirm his theory. A fan and amateur Dylan scholar, I reached out to him and we had a few heartfelt discussions about adoption and foster care, characteristics that we share since I grew up in DCYF care myself and didn’t have a particularly pleasant experience.

I’m also a fan of Bob Dylan’s music and think that he’s had a profound impact on the arts, music, and society – perhaps the most profound impact of the 20th century. I found it to be tremendously interesting to get involved with what could be a great discovery. I was hoping that everything was exactly the way that it seemed.

Nicholas Alahverdian
Nicholas Alahverdian, Will DeVogue, and others

William explained how he had made a few queries to Dylan’s manager, Jeff Rosen. I helped to facilitate some communication with my connections at Harvard University. I involved lawyers, scholars, musicians, even Warhol superstar Ultra Violet, to try to find some veracity to this theory that William’s mother Tina DeVogue (also known as Anita Voyes) knew Bob Dylan — not even yet piercing the veil of whether or not Dylan could conceivably be Arena’s father.

He was told that his father was Gene Michaels, another Greenwich Village folksinger. But a DNA test with a half-sibling refuted that speculation.

Because I, like so many, were captivated by Arena’s story, I invested personal resources and money in trying to get some sort of documentary-type production off the ground to at least find out the truth. I remember bringing him to the Rhode Island Department of Health to spend the $25 or so to obtain his birth certificate — just to see who was listed in the “father” box. It was Michaels.

A big part of me wanted Dylan to be his dad because, admittedly, that would be a rather fascinating addition to the citizenry of Rhode Island; a man who was the posterity of the greatest singer and songwriter to have lived. It would also add to Dylan’s numerous and riveting Rhode Island connections.

I assembled my friends and colleagues, including website developers, attorneys, journalists, writers, Harvard-affiliated sound engineers and Cambridge cinematographers.

Nicholas Alahverdian
Nicholas Alahverdian

We rented and paid for a conference room at The Liberty Hotel and a suite for William DeVogue / William Arena, his kids, and his girlfriend. The team of experts met to get things moving so we could get the project off the ground as soon as possible.

I had a meeting, coincidentally on the day of of Dylan’s September 11, 2012 release of Tempest, at the Massachusetts State House with a legal team to discuss tax credits and assess the legal parameters for making a film that would put the potential posterity of an amazing poet in the limelight. I even mentioned DeVogue and the project during a personal appearance on WPRO’s The Buddy Cianci Show.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Buddy Cianci, Vincent Cianci, Vincent A. Cianci Jr., Providence
Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci, Jr., host of WPRO’s The Buddy Cianci Show and former longtime Mayor of Providence, R.I.

But with every passing day, Will’s demands became insurmountable. Nothing was ever enough. He was penurious, to say the least, and his odd jobs as a house painter around Portsmouth and the East Bay were making it difficult for him to survive.

I felt sad for Will. But there was very little I could do to ameliorate his circumstance. I never expect to discover why Will was so intent on proving why Dylan is his dad, and nor do I care. I have my suspicions. But I know what his mother said, and I have proof of that conversation.

I know who his father might be. I suppose the principal intention in writing this essay is to process the impact that he had on me as a wearisome Pierrot peddling a half-baked assumption. If it was a personal issue, why go public at all? I began very quickly to regret being involved.

After a while, I stopped taking his calls. I shut him off completely. He was very overwhelming and demanding. He acted with such an air of entitlement that it was incredibly arduous to cope with his rigorous demands. I was doing this pro bono. I was running a full time media campaign against DCYF for what I had suffered as a youth.

I was in the middle of two federal lawsuits. DeVogue’s obsessive insistence on absorbing every minute of my time was intolerable. Will’s unhealthy obsession with attempting to prove that Dylan might be his father was a catastrophic cadger in his life. It was quickly becoming a similar plight for me. I had to snuff out his swarthy overtone and savage attitude.

It was a healthy decision to part with Will and The DeVogue Project. He finally got the hint. He even wished me well.

Nicholas Alahverdian, William DeVogue, William Arena

What follows below is a 2012 Providence Journal article by my longtime friend Bob Kerr.

A twist of fate in search for dad

Bob Kerr ProJo, Nicholas Alahverdian
Bob Kerr

By Bob Kerr

In trying to put the story of his earliest days together, William Arena turns the pages of a book of iconic photographs from Life magazine. There is, as there has to be, a photo of Bob Dylan, walking a New York street with a girlfriend. That was a recurring image in the ’60s — Dylan, slightly hunched, leaning close to his sweetie on a city street. Continue reading A twist of fate for Will DeVogue / William Arena