‘At this moment a dry oleander leaf will fall,
the pretext of your life, that you’ll remain naked’
‘Maria Polydouri wrote her poems as she did her personal diary. The transmutation took place automatically since expression for her meant the straight transcription of her internal world into a poetic language with all its generalizations and exaggerations her romantic nature dictated.’
about the authors
Kostas Karyotakis (11/11/1896 – 21/07/1928) is considered one of the most representative Greek poets of the 1920s and one of the first poets who used iconoclastic themes. His poetry, lyrical and romantic, conveys a great deal of nature, imagery and traces of expressionism and surrealism and it has been translated in more than thirty languages. He also belongs to the Greek Lost Generation movement. The majority of Karyotakis’ contemporaries viewed him in a dim light throughout his lifetime without a pragmatic accountability for their negative views; for after his suicide, the majority began to revert to the view that he was indeed a great poet. He had a significant, disproportionately progressive influence on later Greek poets. His works are taught in universities both in Hellas and abroad. Karyotakis gave existential depth as well as a tragic dimension to the emotional nuances and melancholic tones of the neo-symbolist and new-Romantic poetry of the time. With a rare clarity of spirit and penetrating vision, he captures and conveys with poetic daring the climate of dissolution and the impasses of his generation, as well as the traumas of his own inner spiritual self.
Maria Polydouri was the daughter of the teacher philologist Eugene Polydouri and Kiriaki Markatou a woman of early feministic views. She graduated from high-school in Kalamata. She appeared in the letters at the age of fourteen with the prose poem Pain of a Mother which related the death of a seaman who was washed out at the beaches of Filliatra, a costal Peloponese town. The prose poem was influenced by lamentations she heard in Mani, Peloponese. At the age of sixteen she was appointed at the town hall of Messinia while she expressed special interest about the women’s issues of those days. During the year 1920 and in a span of only forty days she lost both her parents.
In 1921 she was transferred to the Prefecture of Attica and at the same time she was enrolled in the Law department of the University of Athens. While working at the Prefecture of Attica she met the poet and colleague Kostas Karyotakis. A mutual strong attraction joined them that lasted for a short while although it marked their lives to their end. They met January 1922 for the first time. Maria was 20 years old while he was 26. She had published a few poems up to that day and Karyotakis and two books of poetry already published which won him the respect of a few critics and other poets of that era.
about the translator
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.
More on Manolis Aligizakis
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