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Libros Libertad 2020
“I write because I enjoy it and because it torments me. However, he adds, today’s way of life doesn’t inspire me although I may write about it in the near future. I keep notes, observe pictures, process stimuli and compose thoughts. From these, a material may emerge that may later on be channeled into verse. All certainties are under scrutiny and revision and the bottom line is that I can’t exist without us.’
THE CITY I WAS BORN
I touch the walls of houses
no one answers.
I am in a city with no name.
I search the sky for its mark
the colorful neon signs blind me.
The city I was born had two coordinates:
North latitude: blood.
East longitude: death.
about Titos Patrikios
Titos Patrikios was born in Athens in 1928. His father, Spyros, and his mother, Lela, were actors and Titos grew up in an artistic environment. He studied Law at the University of Athens and later sociology and philosophy in Paris, at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and at the Sorbonne. He was active in the resistance movement against the German Occupation, but during the years of military dictatorship following the Greek Civil War he was “displaced” within the borders of his own country (to detention camps on the islands of Makronissos and Ai-Stratis), where he established links with communist intellectuals and poets, and in particular with Yánnis Rítsos. Later he was exiled to Paris and Rome, once from 1959-1964 and again from 1967-1975. Titos Patríkios held on to his ideals after the defeat of the Greek left in the 1940s and fought against their corruption in later years, against moral decay and compromise, against the repression of the individual. His combination of political engagement and thought process about the human species added to the low tone of his poetry, which had a profound impact on the generation of ’70.
During the Second World War occupation he joined a left-wing resistance group and narrowly escaped death at the hands of German informers. He published his first poem in 1943. After the civil war he was arrested for his left-wing sympathies and imprisoned on ‘concentration islands’ for three years. In 1954 he published his first book of poems and helped set up the influential progressive magazine Arts Review, to which he contributed features, reviews and poetry. In those years he worked as a lawyer, journalist and translator. In 1959- 1964 he took postgraduate courses in sociology and philosophy in Paris. From 1964 he worked as head of research at the Greek Centre of Social Sciences, until the military dictatorship (1967-1974) forced him to seek refuge in Italy and France. Since his return to Athens he has worked as a lawyer, sociologist and translator. He has several sociological studies to his name.
Apart from numerous collections of poetry, Patríkios has published essays and three books of prose. He translated works of Lukács, Aragon, Stendhal, Balzac and Valéry. A three-volume edition of his poems appeared in 1998: Poems I, 1943-1953; Poems II, 1953- 1959; and Poems III, 1959-1973. His poetry was translated into French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Arabic, and other languages. In 1992 Italy honoured him with the ‘Salerno ’92’ international poetry prize, and in 1994 he received the Greek national poetry prize for his entire oeuvre.
His work is deeply marked by his political commitment and by his experience of imprisonment and exile. Thus the themes of confrontation, isolation, poverty but also of the suffering as well as the desiring body come back frequently. Deeply moral, his work is without illusion on the human adventure and singularly critical of the world as it goes; however, his poetry of resistance also affirms its necessity, despite everything, to take part in the life of the city and to defend the values which make the individual a free man.
about the translator
Emmanuel Aligizakis, (Manolis) is a Cretan-Canadian poet and author. He was recently appointed an honorary instructor and fellow of the International Arts Academy, and awarded a Master’s for the Arts in Literature. He emigrated to Vancouver in 1973, where he worked as an iron worker, train labourer, taxi driver, and stock broker, and studied English Literature at Simon Fraser University. 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, Jordan, Serbia and Greece. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Romanian, Swedish, German, Hungarian, Ukrainian, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish, Serbian, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, languages and has been published in book form or in magazines in various countries.
He now lives in White Rock, where he spends his time writing, gardening, traveling, and heading Libros Libertad, an unorthodox and independent publishing company which he founded in 2006 with the mission of publishing literary books.
His translation George Seferis: Collected Poems was shortlisted for the Greek National Literary Awards, the highest literary recognition of Greece. In September 2017 he was awarded the First Poetry Prize of the Mihai Eminescu International Poetry Festival, in Craiova, Romania.