NOSTOS and ALGOS (Nostalgia)

nostos and algos cover

FIRES

Ancient fires burning
still inside the temples
outside the porticos,

center of the agora
where an eloquent poet once

orated verses before
the paranoid oligarchy
expelled him from the city

images come to us
and nothing has really

changed over eons
except the invention

of bullets to speed
the process of apathy

ΦΩΤΙΕΣ

Προαιώνιες φωτιές καίουν
μέσα στους ναούς
κι έξω στα περιστύλια

και στο κέντρο της αγοράς
που κάποτε ο εύγλωτος ποιητής

πρίν τον εξωστρακίσει
η παρανοϊκη ολιγαρχία
απάγγελνε αιθέριες στροφές.

Εικόνες που έρχονται στη μνήμη
και τίποτα δεν έχει αλλάξει

μέσα στούς αιώνες
παρα η εφεύρεση της σφαίρας

που με ταχύτητα φωτός
κοσμει τη γενικήν απάθεια

~ Nostos and Algos, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2012
~ Φυλλορροές, ΕΝΕΚΕΝ, Θεσσαλονίκη, 2013

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GEORGE SEFERIS-COLLECTED POEMS/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis

George Seferis_cover

THRUSH

THE LIGHT

As the years go by
the judges who condemn you multiply;
as the years go by and you speak with fewer
voices,
you see the sun with different eyes;
you know that those who stayed behind, deceived you,
delirium of the flesh, the beautiful dance
that ends in nakedness.
Like when at night you turn in the empty road
suddenly you see the eyes of an animal shine
that have already vanished, thus you feel your own eyes.
you look at the sun, then you are lost in the dark;
the Doric chiton
that your fingers touched and it swayed like the mountains,
is a marble in the light, but its head lies
in darkness.

ΚΙΧΛΗ
ΤΟ ΦΩΣ

Καθώς περνούν τα χρόνια
πληθαίνουν οι κριτές που σε καταδικάζουν
καθώς περνούν τα χρόνια και κουβεντιάζεις με λιγώτερες
φωνές
βλέπεις τον ήλιο μ’ άλλα μάτια
ξέρεις πως εκείνοι που έμειναν, σε γελούσαν
το παραμίλημα της σάρκας, ο όμορφος χορός
που τελειώνει στη γύμνια.
Όπως, τη νύχτα στρίβοντας στην έρμη δημοσιά
άξαφνα βλέπεις να γυαλίζουν τα μάτια ενός ζώου
που έφυγαν κιόλας, έτσι νιώθεις τα μάτια σου,
τον ήλιο τον κοιτάς, έπειτα χάνεσαι μες στο σκοτάδι
ο δωρικός χιτώνας
που αγγίξανε τα δάχτυλά σου και λύγισε σαν τα βουνά
είναι ένα μάρμαρο στο φως, μα το κεφάλι του είναι στο
σκοτάδι.

~Γιώργου Σεφέρη-Άπαντα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~George Seferis-Collected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis

http://www.libroslibertad.ca

TASOS LIVADITIS-SELECTED POEMS

cover

SILENT FACES

“Don’t go”, I say to him, but he had already started along with
the other convicts; he only left behind his hand that often held me
by the edge of the bridge; a sick horse was rotting away on the side
of the road and at night I would hear the weathervane helping it to
turn to the other side
I remembered the first night when we buried father — oh, how
I hated him for the role of the servant he played, opening our door
to the great darkness
forlornness and only the cracked walls made visible the horrible
silent faces we often pass by.
There I lived so lonely that I heard the other voices and when
night came the dead stole my blanket and lied outside the door
until the new day broke and the rooster’s call was crucified
over my body.

ΒΟΥΒΑ ΠΡΟΣΩΠΑ

“Μή φεύγεις” του λέω, μα εκείνος είχε κιόλας ξεκινήσει με τους
άλλους καταδίκους, μου άφησε μόνο το χέρι του, που συχνά με
κράτησε στην άκρη της γέφυρας, ένα άρρωστο άλογο σάπιζε στην
άκρη του δρόμου, και τις νύχτες άκουγα τους ανεμοδείχτες που το
βοηθούσαν ν’ αλλάξει πλευρό,
θυμήθηκα το πρώτο βράδυ που θάψαμε τον πατέρα — πως τον
μισούσα γι’ αυτόν το βρόμικο ρόλο του υπηρέτη που έπαιξε, ανοί-
γοντας την πόρτα μας στο μεγάλο σκοτάδι,
ερημιά, και μόνο οι ραγισμένοι τοίχοι άφηναν να φαίνονται τα
φοβερά, βουβά πρόσωπα, που περνάμε κάποτε πλάι τους.
Εκεί έζησα τόσο μονάχος, που άκουσα τις άλλες φωνές, κι όταν
νύχτωνε, οι νεκροί μου κλέβαν την κουβέρτα και πλάγιαζαν έξω
απ’ την πόρτα, ώσπου ξημέρωνε και σταυρωνόταν πάνω μου το
λάλημα του πετεινού.

~Τάσου Λειβαδίτη-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis
http://www.libroslibertad.ca
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com

YANNIS RITSOS-SELECTED POEMS/TRANSLATED BY MANOLIS ALIGIZAKIS

Ritsos_front large

Yannis Ritsos – Poems

A careful hand is needed to translate the poems of Yannis Ritsos, and Manolis is the ideal poet to undertake such an enormous task. Born in Crete, Manolis’s youth was intermingled with the poetry of Ritsos. Once a young man moved by the Theodorakis version of Epitaphios, he’s now a successful poet in his own right who is still moved to tears hearing the refrains of those notes from half a century ago. His Greek heritage, with its knowledge of the terrain, people, history and cultural themes, makes his translation all the more true to what Ritsos intended. Having visited the very places of which Ritsos wrote, he knows how the light and sea shift, and how Ritsos imagined those changes as being a temperament and personality of the Greece itself. The parallels in their lives are uncanny: when Ritsos was imprisoned, Manolis’ father also was imprisoned on false charges. Both men dealt with the forces of dictators and censorship, and experienced the cruel and unreasoning forces of those times. In fact, they even lived for a time in the same neighborhood. In his foreword to Poems, Manolis relates that he viewed him as a comrade, one whose “work resonated with our intense passion for our motherland and also in our veracity and strong-willed quest to find justice for all Greeks.” In Poems, Manolis chose to honor Ritsos first by not just picking and choosing a few titles to translate, although that might have been far easier. Instead, he undertook the complex task of translating fifteen entire books of Ritsos work-an endeavor that took years of meticulous research and patience. It should be noted that along with the translation, edited by Apryl Leaf, that he also includes a significant Introduction that gives a reader unfamiliar with Ritsos an excellent background on the poet from his own perspective. Dated according to when Ritsos composed them, it’s fascinating to see how some days were especially productive for him. These small details are helpful in understanding the context and meaning. For example, in Notes on the Margins of Time, written from 1938-1941, Ritsos explores the forces of war that are trickling into even the smallest villages. Without direct commentary, he alludes to trains, blood, and the sea that takes soldiers away, seldom to return. Playing an active role in these violent times, the moon observes all, and even appears as a thief ready to steal life from whom it is still new. From “In the Barracks”:

The moon entered the barracks It rummaged in the soldiers’ blankets Touched an undressed arm Sleep Someone talks in his sleep Someone snores A shadow gesture on the long wall The last trolley bus went by Quietness

Can all these be dead tomorrow? Can they be dead from right now?

A soldier wakes up He looks around with glassy eyes A thread of blood hangs from the moon’s lips

In Romiosini, the postwar years are a focus (1945-1947), and they have not been kind. The seven parts to this piece each reflect a soldier’s journey home.

These trees don’t take comfort in less sky These rocks don’t take comfort under foreigners’ Footsteps These faces don’t’ take comfort but only In the sun These hearts don’t take comfort except in justice.

The return to his country is marked by bullet-ridden walls, burnt-out homes, decay, and the predominantly female populace, one that still hears the bombs falling and the screams of the dead as they dully gaze about, looking for fathers, husbands, and sons. The traveler’s journey is marked by introspection and grim memories reflected on to the surfaces of places and things he thought he knew.

And now is the time when the moon kisses him sorrowfully Close to his ear The seaweed the flowerpot the stool and the stone ladder Say good evening to him And the mountains the seas and cities and the sky Say good evening to him And then finally shaking the ash off his cigarette Over the iron railing He may cry because of his assurance He may cry because of the assurance of the trees and The stars and his brothers

An entirely different feeling is found in Parentheses, composed 1946-1947. In it, healing is observed and a generosity of spirit exerts itself among those whose hearts had been previously crushed. In “Understanding”:

A woman said good morning to someone – so simple and natural Good morning… Neither division nor subtraction To be able to look outside Yourself-warmth and serenity Not to be ‘just yourself’ but ‘you too’ A small addition A small act of practical arithmetic easily understood…

On the surface, it may appear simple, a return to familiarity that may have been difficulty in times of war. Yet on another level, he appears to be referring to the unity among the Greek people-the ‘practical arithmetic’ that kept them united though their political state was volatile. Essentially timeless, his counsel goes far beyond nationalism.

Moonlight Sonata, written in 1956, is an impossibly romantic and poignant lyric poem that feels more like a short story. In it, a middle-aged woman talks to a young man in her rustic home. As he prepares to leave, she asks to walk with him a bit in the moonlight. “The moon is good –it doesn’t show my gray hair. The moon will turn my hair gold again. You won’t see the difference. Let me come with you”

Her refrain is repeated over and over as they walk, with him silent and her practically begging him to take her away from the house and its memories:

I know that everyone marches to love alone Alone to glory and to death I know it I tried it It’s of no use Let me come with you

The poem reveals her memories as well as his awkward silence, yet at the end of their journey, she doesn’t leave. Ritsos leaves the ending open: was it a dream? If not, why did she not go? What hold did the house have over her? Was it just the moonlight or a song on the radio that emboldened her?

In 1971, Ritsos wrote The Caretaker’s Desk in Athens, where he was under surveillance but essentially free. At this time he seems to be translating himself-that of how he was processing his own personal history. Already acclaimed for his work, perhaps he was uncertain of his own identity.

From “The Unknown”,

He knew what his successive disguises stood for (even with them often out of time and always vague) A fencer a herald a priest a rope-walker A hero a victim a dead Iphigenia He didn’t know The one he disguised himself as His colorful costumes Pile on the floor covering the hole of the floor And on top of the pile the carved golden mask And in the cavity of the mask the unfired pistol

If he is indeed discussing his identity, it’s with incredible honesty as to both his public persona and his private character. After all, he’d been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968 (and eight more times) and he was likely weighing, in his later years, all that he’d endured.

The beauty of this particular translation is that, while subjects and emotions change over time, they still feel united by the underlying character of Ritsos. Some translators leave their own imprint or influence, yet this feels free of such adjustment. It’s as if Ritsos’ voice itself has been translated, with the pauses, humor, and pace that identify the subtle characteristics of an individual.

~Wikipedia

Τάσου Λειβαδίτη-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems

Tasos Livaditis_Vanilla

ΜΙΑ ΚΟΙΝΗ ΚΑΜΑΡΑ

Ανέβαινα απ’ ώρα τη σκάλα, μου άνοιξε μια γριά με μια μαύρη
σκούφια, “εδώ έχουν πεθάνει πολλοί” μου λέει “γι αυτό ό,τι κι αν
πεις δεν ακούγεται”, τότε είδα κάποιον που σερνόταν κάτω απ’ τον
καναπέ, “τί ψάχνει;” ρώτησα, “ο Χριστός” μου λέει “θα `ρθει κι
άλλες φορές”, η γυναίκα έριχνε τα χαρτιά, τρόμαξα καθώς είδα το
χέρι της ν’ ανεβαίνει, “θα χάσεις πολλές φορές το δρόμο” μου λέει,
“μα πώς θα τον χάσω” της λέω “εγώ είμαι ανήπηρος και δεν περ-
πατάω, άλλος σέρνει το καροτσάκι”, “κι όμως θα τον χάσεις” μου
λέει, “είσαι μια πουτάνα” της λέω “να με ταράζεις άγιον άνθρωπο
—κι εσύ, αφού κανένας δε σε θέλει, γιατί κουνιέσαι;”, “δεν κουνιέ-
μαι εγώ” μου λέει “το καντήλι τρέμει”, την λυπήθηκα, “σε ξέρω”
τής λέω “δέν αποκλείεται, μάλιστα, να `χουμε ζήσει πολύν καιρό
μαζί”, η ώρα ήταν επτά ακριβώς, κοίταξα το ρολόι μου κι έδειχνε
κι εκείνο το ίδιο, “τώρα αρχίζει” σκέφτηκα με απόγνωση, κι η
γριά με συρτά βήματα πήγε και μαντάλωσε την πόρτα.

A COMMON ROOM

I was going up the stairs for a while when an old woman with a black
hood opened the door “everyone has died here” she says to me
“whatever you say nobody listens”; then I saw someone crawling
under the sofa “what is he looking for?” I asked “Christ” she says to me
“will come a few more times”; the woman started to read the cards
I was scared when I saw her hand pointing at me “you will lose
your way many a time” she says to me “how can I lose it” I say
“I’m crippled, I don’t walk, someone else pulls the cart”, “you will still
lose it”, “you are a whore” I say to her “and you disturb me, a holy man
—and you, if no one wants you why do you tease me?”, “I don’t tease
you, it’s the candle that flickers”; I felt sorry for her. “I know you”
I say to her “in fact it’s possible that we lived together long time ago”
the time was exactly seven o’clock; I looked at my watch and it showed
the same time “now she’ll start again” I thought in despair and
the old woman with slow steps went and locked the door.

~Τάσου Λειβαδίτη-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis
http://www.libroslibertad.ca

Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems/Τασος Λειβαδίτης-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα

Tasos Livaditis_Vanilla
Η ΕΚΤΗ ΗΜΕΡΑ

Ήταν η έκτη μέρα της δημιουργίας, η μητέρα είχε ντυθεί στα
μαύρα, φορούσε και το καλό καπέλο της με το βέλο, “δεν έπρεπε να
μας το κάνει αυτό ο Θεός” είπε, στο βάθος χλωμοί άντρες στήναν
τη μεγάλη σκηνή του τσίρκου,
“γύρισε σπίτι είναι αργά”, “ποιό σπίτι», είπα κι αγκάλιασα το
φανάρι του δρόμου,
η μικρή ξαδέλφη όπου να `ναι θα πέθαινε, την έσπρωξα πίσω απ’
την ντουλάπα, “σ’ αγαπάω” έλεγε, μα εγώ την έγδυνα κιόλας σαν
πόρνη — κι όταν τη θάψαμε, εγώ έμεινα για πάντα εκεί, πίσω απ’
την ντουλάπα, μισοφαγωμένος απ’ τα ποντίκια,
κι ήταν η έκτη μέρα της δημιουργίας,
οι τροχαλίες γρύλιζαν καθώς ανέβαζαν το πρώτο ρολόι στη στέ-
γη του σταθμού,
κάθισα στην άκρη του δρόμου, τόσο θλιμμένος, που οι τυφλοί
μ’ έβλεπαν.

THE SIXTH DAY

It was the sixth day of creation; mother was dressed in black;
she wore her good hat with the veil “God shouldn’t had done this
to us” she said; at the far end pale workers put together the big
stage of the circus
“come back home, it’s late”, “which home?” I asked and hugged
the lamp-post of the street
my young cousin was almost dead when I pushed her behind the
closet, “I love you” she’d say but I had already undressed her — like
a whore; — when we buried her, I stayed there forever, behind the
closet, half eaten by the mice
and it was the sixth day of creation
pulleys grunted as they lifted the first clock up to the roof
of the station
I sat by the side of the street, so sorry, that even the blind
could see me.

~Τάσου Λειβαδίτη-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis
http://www.libroslibertad.ca

George Seferis-Collected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis

George Seferis_cover

Είναι μεγάλη μου τιμή και χαρά που πληροφορήθηκα ότι το βιβλίο απάντων Γεωργίου Σεφέρη σε μετάφρασή μου, Libros Libertad, έκδοση 2012, κατέληξε στη βραχεία λίστα του διαγωνισμού για τα Κρατικά Βραβεία Λογοτεχνίας στην κατηγορία Μετάφρασης.

It’s my honor and pleasure to inform you that my translation book “George Seferis-Collected Poems”, Libros Libertad, 2012, is a finalist (shortlisted) in the Greek National Literary Awards Competition in the translation category.
http://www.tovima.gr/culture/article/?aid=578672

WORLD POETRY COMPETITION

                                                  International Art Academy

 

1st World Poetry Competition

“Manolis Aligizakis”

 

The International Art Academy invites entries from around the world for its

1st World Poetry Competition “Manolis Aligizakis”.

Participation is open to everyone, no restrictions based on age, nationality, location of poets.

All submissions must be of unpublished poems and written in the Greek language.

AWARDS

First three prizes established and funded by Greek-Canadian poet Manolis Aligizakis

1st prize 1500 Euros and a Medal

2nd prize 1000 Euros and a Medal

3rd prize 500 euros and a Medal

Other honorary prizes, distinctions and mentions will be awarded to the finalists by the International Art Academy.

Information

 

e-mail: info@artsociety.gr

artacademy@artsociety.gr

web page: www.artsociety.gr/artacademy