Signed by the Author
Paperback 5.5 x 8.5 in
96 pages
ISBN: 9780978186548
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It’s hard to write poetry of affirmation in a post-modernist culture where irony is a compulsive tic. But this new collection by Manolis, a series of meditations on the life and work of the great Cretan artist Domenikos Theotokopoulos – El Greco – triumphs in its lyric intensity and open-hearted transcendentalism. This is a celebration of Hellenic culture and an affirmation of human aspiration amid the chaos of history and the muddle of consensus reality. The poet discovers epiphanies of a heightened vision in the iconography of the paintings. The offset four-line stanza form gives space for reflection and shape to his unfolding narrative.
As the poet enters the space where El Greco worked and sits before the canvasses he’s overcome by what the philosopher Colin Wilson calls “Faculty X” – an existential grasp of the actuality of the past as a living present, an intuitive gnosis. “The movement of the brush / waves through the air of / sulphur and darkness…” Vivid images from nature are linked with the exalted vision of the painter, creating a Blakean sense of the world as suffused with a divine energy. As we contemplate the paintings, reproduced in the book, our own vision is re-energized and refreshed.


Nauseated with the littleness
of city non-living,
the savage humdrum
mind grasping splinters

on the surface of nowhere
never sated with the neck-down delights
and all carnal pleasures,
I embark on a quest for that

special conifer, the sequoia,
that special flower in the midst
of the impassable thicket
the man who sees man as man.

Many a time with tenderness
I shared a soft pillow with
a hardened, suspicious Death.
Many a time I took Him by the hand…

…He shares with me a non-fat latte
at the neighborhood Starbucks.
Many a time I challenged Him, and,
always with a short giggle

He walked away gracefully saying…
“Not yet…
Not yet…I
have things for you to do…”

My spirit I summon from the
realms of the void,
to descend in the roots and
trace a course.

I dive deep past all
sunlit gates of consciousness
looking for a sign,
straight like a blue spruce

with duty marked on its fresh bark.
I search for a beacon,
as the lyre slices the air
in pieces of silver.

about the author

Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) is a Greek-Canadian poet and author who has written three novels and numerous collections of poetry. His articles, poems and short stories in both Greek and English have appeared in various magazines and newspapers in Canada, United States, Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Australia, and Greece. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Romanian, Swedish, German, Hungarian languages and has been published in book form or in magazines in various countries. His translation book George Seferis-Collected Poems was shortlisted for the Greek National Literary Awards, the highest literary recognition of Greece.
He heads Libros Libertad, an unorthodox and independent publishing company that he founded in 2006 with the mission of publishing literary books. He was recently appointed an honorary instructor and fellow of the International Arts Academy, and awarded a Masters for the Arts in Literature.
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