Yannis Ritsos

ritsos front cover

ΑΝΤΑΠΟΚΡΙΣΗ

(Ένας ποιητής μιλάει σ’ έναν ποιητή τού μέλλοντος)

Άν δεν ήξερα πως εσύ θα μ’ ακούσεις μια μέρα
δε θάχα πια τί να πω, δε θα μπορούσα να μιλήσω,
κ’ η αράχνη που μας δίδαξε την κάθετη άνοδο
στο γυμνό τοίχο, θα στάθμευε στο στόμα μου
σπρώχνοντας ίσα μέσα στο λαιμό μου
τα τρία μαύρα κουμπιά του σακκακιού μου
και τ’ άλλα τα λευκά απ’ τις πουκαμίσες των νεκρών.
DISPATCH

(A poet speaks to a future poet)

If I didn’t know that you would listen to me one day
I wouldn’t have anything to say, I couldn’t talk,
and the spider who taught us the vertical ascend
on the bare wall, would have stopped in my mouth
pushing straight inside my larynx
the three black buttons of my coat
and the others the white ones from the nightshirts of the dead.

~Γιάννη Ρίτσου-ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Yannis Ritsos-Poems/translated by Manolis Aligizakis
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com
http://www.ekstasiseditions.com
http://www.libroslibertad.ca

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CONSTANTINE CAVAFY

cavafy copy

CONSTANTINE CAVAFY: a discussion

Constantine P. Cavafy, along with a few other twentieth century Greek poets such as George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis, Yiannis Ritsos, Kostis Palamas and Andreas Kalvos, established the revival of Greek poetry both in Greece and abroad. They emerged as the new era of contemporary Greek poets at a time when the use of the Greek language was swept by the conflict between the old, “καθαρεύουσα—katharevoussa” traditional form of language and the more common “δημοτική—demotiki”, plebian or demotic as it was called.
Cavafy used both the traditional and the demotic modes although mostly the latter; he spent most of his life in Alexandria under the influence of the almighty Greek Orthodox Church and the day before his death he took communion as if to declare that he was ready; as if he was prepared for his transformation, from the modern poet, Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis of Greece to the Cavafy of the World. It is said that in the last minutes of his life he took pencil and paper and drew a big circle with a single dot in the middle.
It had only been twenty years since his death when one of the most famous bookstores in London advertised that: “We carry the best ever books: from Chaucer to Cavafy.” In 1919 Cavafy was introduced to the English reading public by E.M. Forster who helped establish his reputation in the Western World.
His poems combine the precision of a master craftsman with the sensitivity of Sappho as they are concise, yet intimate when their subject is erotic love, mostly between men. Real characters as well as imaginary, historical events as well as fictional are his inspiration; the questionable future, the sensual pleasures, the wandering morality of the many, the psychology of the individual and that of the masses, homosexuality, certain atavistic beliefs and an existential nostalgia are some of his themes. Cavafy’s conscience projected his crystal clear belief in the immortal written word, which he bequeathed unto the four corners of the world.
On the 100th anniversary of his birthday and thirty years after his death, his complete works were published by “Ikaros” in 1963. This edition was prepared up to a point, we could say, by the poet himself who had kept all his poems in a concise and exact order; each poem on a page (which was pinned in exact chronological order on top of the proceeding page); his older poems were turned into booklet form which traditionally consisted of 16 pages although in this case the length is questionable. The sequence of the poems in these booklets was not chronological but thematic and depended on how he chose to emphasize their coherence. These booklets were mailed to anyone who asked for them. In the last years of his life he published two such booklets, one containing his poems written between the years 1905-1915 and the other with his poems of 1916-1918; every poem published during those fourteen years were included in these two booklets.
Cavafy was concise and accurate; so much so that he would work on each of his verses again and again making sure that it was in its final and perfect form before he would mail it to anyone; most of this of course is lost in the translation, as such an element in writing is impossible to replicate in another language. He drew most of his inspiration for the historical poems from the first and second centuries B.C. and the Hellinistic Era of Alexandria around and after the days of Alexander the Great. His love poems were entirely devoted to adult love between men; there is not a single mention of a woman as the subject of erotic love in his poems. The image of the kore, an erotic subject of other poets, is absent from his stanzas. Reference to women in Cavafy’s work is only about older, mature and gracious figures playing out their roles in the Hellinistic era or Byzantium’s golden age.
Cavafy wrote mostly in free verse although there were times when he used rhyme to emphasize irony; the number of syllables per verse varied from ten to seventeen.
Cavafy’s inspiration derives from many different subjects; in one of the well- known poems, Ithaka, he explores, like Odysseus on his return to his home island after the Trojan War, the pleasure and importance of the way to a goal rather than the goal itself, and shows that the process of achieving something is important because of all the experience it makes possible.
In the poem Waiting for the Barbarians we see the importance of the influence that people and events outside of the country may have in the lives of the inhabitants of a certain place and it can quite easily be related to today’s doctrine of “war on terror” after the attack of September, 2001 and the role that fear of the foreigner, or the enemy, plays in the decision making process of a nation. A parallel can be drawn between today’s “war on terror” and the final verses of the poem…
“And what are we to become without the barbarians?
These people were some kind of a solution.”

In the poem Thermopylae Cavafy explores the subject of duty, responsibility, and most importantly, the idea of paying the “debt”; he seems to believe in the philosophical principle of the Universal Balance which exists everywhere, and when that balance is disturbed by the actions of one man another person needs to reestablish it: in this case the poem refers to the treason by Ephialtes which disturbs that preexisting balance and which the leader of the 300 Lacedaimonians, Leonidas, tries to counter—balance by his act of self sacrifice. The crucifixion of Christ has the same philosophical base. Odusseus Elytis refers to the same subject in the Genesis of his Axion Esti (it is worthy) where he says that the Old Wise Creator prepared the four Great Voids on earth and in the body of man:

“…the void of Death for the Upcoming Child
the void of Killing for the Right Judgment
the void of Sacrifice for the Equal Retribution
the void of the Soul for the Responsibility of the Other…”

Isolation and the sense of enclosure unfolds in Cavafy’s poem “Walls” which is relevant to today as some countries tend to resort to it as a means of defense against foreign influences coming from the outside and changing the thinking of the people, but also as a reason for becoming self-sufficient and self-reliant.
There are a lot of satirical connotations and humor in some poems and one such poem stands out: Nero’s Deadline where the poet laughs at the way a person perceives their time on earth. The same subject is referred to by the better known Greek saying: “You like to make God laugh, go and tell Him your plans…”
The extent to which a politician or a system may stretch truth in order to achieve a goal and the axiom “history repeats itself” are adamantly present in Cavafy’s poetry as we see the travesty of events when presented to the public from an official position:
“…the gigantic lie of the palace—Antony triumphed in Greece.”
The lies a government may throw at people in order to deceive. Today’s “…war on terror…” is such a travesty and it resembles an umbrella harboring under it various means and purposes of deluding the populace; at other times this is a means of camouflaging the inability of the governing party to conduct themselves in a fair and balanced way.
Cavafy’s work was at times caustic and irony was used frequently to emphasize a point. Vagenas writes: “Cavafy is the only poet who uses irony as the main mechanism of poetic creativity. His precise dramatic as well as tragic irony is the element that makes his use of the language produce a deep poetic emotion, rendering the verbal sensualism unnecessary.”
Cavafy expresses views of his era looked at through the eyes of the Greek immigrant, or the Greek of the Diaspora. The survival of and adherence to Greek values is what Cavafy cares to preserve and his poetry reflects this by doing justice to his great wish that the Greek language might spread to the far ends of the Bactrian Lands. The heroic stubbornness that proudly said ‘No’ to convention and settling down, the pursuit of true life which carries on ceaselessly, dragging along mud and diamonds, mixing the old with the new, joining the yes with the no, opening new horizons at any moment, birthing new hopes and views at any second is the life Cavafy wanted to spread all over the known world.
Most reviewers and analysts of Cavafy’s work have pronounced him a homosexual although that may be taken with a grain of salt. The western commentaries clearly and as a matter of fact have concluded that he was
homosexual whereas some of the Greek commentators are reluctant to openly agree with that notion; In our view the author can only be classified this or that based on documented data such as pictures, or direct associations of the commentator with the author, and in this case there are no such data available. Yet when a poet writes so many erotic poems having as his subject young men of twenty to twenty nine years old and with not a single woman ever being referred to as a subject of erotic love, it is easy and understandable to assume that the person under discussion is a homosexual; yet there is another angle one may take: the angle of the alter ego that a writer creates in his work to compliment or better yet to refine his image in his own eyes before the eyes of the reading public, as in the case of Cavafy; In some of his personal writings we read:
“I have to put an end to this myself, by the first of April otherwise I won’t be able to travel. I’ll get sick and how am I to enjoy my voyage when I’m sick?”
“March 16th: Midnight. I succumbed again. Despair, despair, despair. There is no hope. Unless I end this by the 15th of April. God help me.”
In another note:
“I am tormented. I got up and I am writing now. What am I to do and
what is going to happen. What am I to do? Help. I am lost.”
In these personal notes of a despairing man who seeks help we see the distress of a person not because they react to their just concluded homosexual encounter but rather their despair in their self-consumed sexual satisfaction through masturbation and the guilt associated with it…Let us not forget that Cavafy grew up in an era of the Diaspora when the Greek Orthodox Church dominated the lives of the populace in such a strict way that any movement outside the dogmatic rules of Christian doctrine was considered a serious and unforgivable sin; I personally remember as a young lad reading the famous booklet “Holy Epistle” with its frightening images of brimstone and fire coming down from the heavens to sear the sinners who would commit any kind of sexual or other sin. It was quite purposefully given to me to read in my early teen years and it took decades before I came to the realization that I didn’t need this nonsense in my life. This was the world Cavafy grew up in and when he had his first chance of being on his own he made his best effort of rebellion against such suppressing doctrine in order to liberate himself from the pangs of church inflicted fear; when one looks at his life from this point of view one can simply see the reaction of a man expressed in a unique way directly opposed to the expected and well formatted way of the church.
Atanasio Cortato, Cavafy’s personal friend and confidant, writes:
“Cavafy’s homosexuality is questionable. One needs to apply a deep
and objective study on his life and perhaps conclude that Cavafy was not homosexual. None ever came along with concrete evidence for this and no scandal of any kind is attributed to him.”
This declaration is of double importance because it is the declaration of Cavafy’s personal friend who knew the poet well and who would have known of any scandal should there have been one in which the poet was involved. Yet there was no such scandal documented or told.
Another view expressed by Stratis Tsirkas and J.M. Hatzifotis was that
Cavafy’s passion was not his homosexuality but rather his alcoholism and his tendency to masturbation. The poet was a very shy person by nature, and although when his mood struck him was a very stimulating and entertaining host, it was impossible for him to proceed into a homosexual relationship. Under this lens his erotic poetry is nothing but his fantasizing of the unrealized…
George Seferis referring to Cavafy as the deceptive old man of the Alexandrian Sea, Proteus, who always changes appearance, says: “For this reason we have to be careful, and exercise caution, not to be seduced by our own tendencies or by taking as given his words and dialectic inventions based on their superficial sense.”
A different aspect of his erotic poems can be found when one sees the time and place in which the poet lived as an adult and on his own. We make this last comment because it is known that Cavafy lived with his mother until her death in 1899 and after that he moved in with his brother John until 1906 when John left for Cairo. At that time Cavafy moved in with his brother Paul until he also moved away to Paris. Then the poet started living on his own. Having to work for a living in such a polyethnic city as Alexandria where the influences of three continents mingled and at times collided and always being under the watchful eye of the all- powerful Greek Orthodox Church with its dogmatism and stubbornness, Cavafy, like any other man of letters, questioned a lot of what was going on around him.
One can easily theorize that all the eroticism and rebelliousness expressed by the young lovers of his poems are nothing but the reactions of a person who lived almost all his adult life with family members and who, in his new found freedom, rebelled against established values and questioned well positioned dogmatism. One can easily theorize that Cavafy fantasized about things he wished for rather than recording things he had experienced. From that point of view the eroticism of his poems can be seen as an expression of suppressed feelings he had for years, yet feelings he never got the courage to act upon.
Cavafy lived in the polyethnic city of Alexandria; he moved and
breathed around the Greek Community and a moral and law abiding way of life is clearly Greek in its essence. The law that applied to Greeks in Alexandria is that of France which is not much different than the Greek law yet different than the law applied to the locals. Therefore the homosexuality and lawlessness of some of his poetry has to do with the moral, communal and law abiding way of life of the Greek Community of Alexandrian society. Cavafy had a good knowledge of that and that knowledge guided him in such a way that his bolder and more daring poems which would have created an uproar in the established code of conduct of Alexandrian Greek Society were only released in 1920 when the poet had become very well-known and had carved a space in the creative society of his era. He was at that time established as a very successful poet and none dared dispute this or accuse him of anything.

~Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, BC, 2011

MANOLIS ANAGNOSTAKIS

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MANOLIS ANAGNOSTAKIS

Manolis Anagnostakis (10 March 1925 – 23 June 2005) was a Greek poet and critic at the forefront of the Marxist and existentialist poetry movements arising during and after the Greek Civil War in the late 1940s. Anagnostakis was a leader amongst his contemporaries and influenced the generation of poets immediately after him. His poems have been honored in Greece’s national awards and arranged and sung by contemporary musicians. In spite of his accomplishments, Philip Ramp notes that Anagnostakis “is the least known, to an English speaking audience, of the major Greek poets of his generation.”
Anagnostakis was born in Thessaloniki and trained as a doctor, specializing in radiology. During the chaotic period of 1944, Anagnostakis served as the Editor-in-Chief of Xekinima (The Start), a student magazine. Anagnostakis’ first book of poetry, Epoches (Seasons) was published in 1945, at which point, according to Ramp, the poet’s Marxist “dream had already failed him”. His left-wing sympathies had inspired him to join the Resistance, which would lead to his being sentenced to death by a military court during the Civil War. Arrested for his involvement with the Student Movement at the University of Thessaloniki in 1948, Anagnostakis spent several years in Heptapyrgion, a state prison. His second volume, Epoches 2 was published after he was imprisoned in 1948. In the next year, Anagnostakis was both expelled from the Communist Party of Greece and tried in court. He received a death sentence, but out-Seasons,survived the regime. Upon his release in 1951, he published the last book in the cycle.
Anagnostakis began a new cycle of work with his Synecheia (The Continuation), in 1954, and its sequel in 1955. A collection of his works was published the next year. The poet spent 1955 and the next year in Vienna, continuing his medical studies in radiology, before returning to Greece. He spent 1959 through 1961 as editor of Criticism, a journal of literary criticism, and finished his Continuation cycle in 1962. While he did not publish any more major works until 1971’s Ta piimata 1941-1971, (The Poems 1941-1971), he continued to contribute to newspapers and magazines.
Although Anagnostakis’ 1971 collection represented the end of the published works he was best known for, his existentialism-influenced verse left its mark on a younger generation of Greek poets. This influence is in part owing to his poetry having been set to music by Mikis Theodorakis, as part of his Ballades cycle, written during the seven-year Regime of the Colonels. The Ballades have been performed by vocalist Margarita Zorbala (recorded on her 1975 debut album), amongst others. Anagnostakis moved his practice and family to Athens in 1978. Lakis Papastathis produced a 52-minute film, Manolis Anagnostakis, on Anagnostakis’ life, for the Greek television series Paraskenio in 1983. Two volumes of Anagnostakis’, another collection and O piitis Manussos Fassis, (The Poet Manussos Fassis) were issued in the following four years. Anagnostakis died June 23, 2005 in Athens.
Poetry
Anagnostakis’ poetry has been described as “terse”. His early works may be comparable in number of lines to Cavafy, but do contain single-word lines and single-line verse paragraphs. Other characteristics of the early poems are its “bold, conversational tone”, sometimes in the form of an epistle, and at others culminating in direct advice to the reader. This style, along with Anagnostakis’ simple, direct description of a hostile world was emulated by other left-wing poets of his generation.
Beaton also notes “a deep distrust of the poet’s very medium, which runs through almost all the poetry of his generation”, as, for instance, in the poem “Now He Is A Simple Spectator”. Also unusual amongst those contemporary poets sharing Anagnostakis’ politics is Anagnostakis’ use of Christian imagery in his poetry, and, unusual amongst Greek poets in general is a lack of romanticizing of the sea.
In the Synecheia series, written between the Civil War and the Regime of the Colonels, Vangelis Hadjivassiliou notes that Anagnostakis extends that ambivalence to his politics, as well. Anagnostakis asserts both that “…the War is not over yet…/ For no war is ever over!” and that he is “Laughing at your wealth of armours/ Suddenly infiltrating your lines/ Upsetting the solid arrays”.
The O stochos poems were written during the Regime of the Colonels. This work contains poems differing from the above characterizations of Anagnostakis as “ambivalent” and “grim”. The book contains both a defense of poetry (“Poetics”), and a sardonic response to Cavafy’s “Young Men of Sidon (A.D. 400)”, titled “Young Men of Sidon, 1970”, which defends levity against the demand for seriousness from Cavafy’s “vivacious young man”. Ekdotike Athenon S.A. cites the work as exemplary of Greek poetry after the Second World War, describing it as “[representing] the social questioning typical of the poetry of the post-war generation”.
The post-1971 poems were, in some cases, even more terse than the Epoches poems, often being only epigrams. Categorizing Anagnostakis’ poetry into a movement has proven somewhat challenging for critics. Hadjivassiliou characterizes the period of the Continuations as “wholly political”. Nassos Vagenas, on the other hand, divides post-war Greek poetry into Marxist, existentialist, and surrealist, and then places Anagnostakis in the existentialist movement. Ramp suggests that the poet’s lack of recognition outside of Greece can be attributed to the fact that Anagnostakis’ poetry is politically “committed”, but agrees that the poetry is not influenced by surrealism.
~Wikipedia

ΜΑΝΩΛΗΣ ΑΝΑΓΝΩΣΤΑΚΗΣ

Με αφορμή τη συμπλήρωση δέκα χρόνων από τον θάνατο του Μανόλη Αναγνωστάκη, το Μέγαρο Μουσικής Αθηνών, στο πλαίσιο των εκδηλώσεων του Megaron Plus, τίμησε τη μνήμη του μεγάλου ποιητή.

Στην εκδήλωση μνήμης συμμετείχαν και μίλησαν: για τη σατιρική ποίηση του Μανόλη Αναγνωστάκη ο καθηγητής της Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας στο Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών Ευριπίδης Γαραντούδης, για τη λογοτεχνική κριτική του ο ποιητής και κριτικός Νάσος Βαγενάς, για την υπόλοιπη συγγραφική δραστηριότητά του ο μελετητής λογοτεχνίας Γιώργος Ζεβελάκης. Τέλος, ο σκηνοθέτης και πεζογράφος Λάκης Παπαστάθης θα μιλήσει για τις συνεντεύξεις που είχε παραχωρήσει ο ποιητής στην τηλεοπτική εκπομπή «Παρασκήνιο», ενώ παράλληλα θα υπάρχει προβολή αποσπασμάτων από αυτές τις συνεντεύξεις, με τον Μανόλη Αναγνωστάκη να μιλά για την τέχνη του και την εποχή του. Την εκδήλωση, την οποία επιμελήθηκε ο Νάσος Βαγενάς, συντόνισε η καθηγήτρια Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας στη Φιλοσοφική Σχολή του ΕΚΠΑ, Χριστίνα Ντουνιά.

Ο Μανόλης Αναγνωστάκης υπήρξε ένας από τους κορυφαίους ποιητές και δοκιμιογράφους της μεταπολεμικής γενιάς. Φυλακίστηκε και καταδικάστηκε σε θάνατο για τις πολιτικές του πεποιθήσεις, ενώ χαρακτηρίστηκε ο «ποιητής της ήττας» αφού οι στίχοι του αποτύπωσαν τη διάψευση των οραμάτων της Αριστεράς. «Δεν είναι ποίηση της ήττας. Είναι μια αγωνία για την εποχή», έλεγε ο ίδιος. «Κατά καιρούς μ’ έχουν χαρακτηρίσει καθαρά πολιτικό ποιητή. Προσωπικά δεν νομίζω ότι είμαι πολιτικός ποιητής. Είμαι ερωτικός και πολιτικός μαζί. Συνδυάζονται αυτά τα δύο. Είναι η εποχή που τα συνδύαζε αυτά τα δύο. Δηλαδή δεν μπορούσε να είναι κανείς ερωτικός ποιητής, ξεχνώντας το πολιτικό πλαίσιο εκείνης της εποχής που ήταν φουντωμένα τα πολιτικά πάθη. Υπήρχε το πολιτικό στοιχείο μέσα, η έκφραση της πολιτικής, μέσα από μια ερωτική κατάσταση όμως. Δεν είμαι επαγγελματίας ποιητής. Αισθάνομαι την ποίηση σαν τρόπο έκφρασης επειδή δεν μπορούσα να εκφραστώ διαφορετικά. Δηλαδή ήταν η εποχή τόσο πιεσμένη, τόσο δύσκολη, που μόνο εκφράζοντας τον πόνο του μπορούσε κανείς να την αντέξει».

Ο Μανόλης Αναγνωστάκης γεννήθηκε στη Θεσσαλονίκη στις 10 Μαρτίου του 1925. Σπούδασε Ιατρική στο Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο. Κατά τη διάρκεια της γερμανικής Κατοχής εντάχθηκε στην ΕΠΟΝ. Την διετία 1943-1944 διετέλεσε αρχισυντάκτης του περιοδικού «Ξεκίνημα», του εκπολιτιστικού ομίλου του Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης, ενώ την ίδια περίοδο εμφανίστηκαν τα πρώτα του γραπτά στο περιοδικό «Πειραϊκά Γράμματα».
Το 1948 φυλακίστηκε για την έντονη δράση του στο φοιτητικό κίνημα. Το επόμενο έτος καταδικάστηκε σε θάνατο από έκτακτο στρατοδικείο, όμως απελευθερώθηκε με την γενική αμνηστία το 1951. Τα χρόνια 1955-1956 ειδικεύτηκε ως ακτινολόγος στην Βιέννη και στη συνέχεια άσκησε το επάγγελμα του ακτινολόγου στην Θεσσαλονίκη. Την περίοδο 1959 – 1961 εξέδωσε το περιοδικό «Κριτική» ενώ υπήρξε μέλος της εκδοτικής ομάδας των «Δεκαοκτώ κειμένων» (1970), των «Νέων Κειμένων» και του περιοδικού «Η Συνέχεια» (1973). Το 1978 εγκαταστάθηκε στην Αθήνα. Τιμήθηκε με το «Κρατικό Βραβείο Ποίησης» (1986) και το «Μεγάλο Βραβείο Λογοτεχνίας» (2002), ενώ αναγορεύτηκε Επίτιμος Διδάκτορας του Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης.

Ο Μανόλης Αναγνωστάκης έφυγε από τη ζωή στις 23 Ιουνίου του 2005, στην Αθήνα. Άφησε πίσω του 88 δημοσιευμένα ποιήματα που γράφτηκαν από το 1941 έως το 1971. Το 1979 κυκλοφόρησε ο συγκεντρωτικός τόμος των ποιημάτων του, και το 1983 κυκλοφόρησε το αυτοβιογραφικό σχόλιο «Y.Γ.» σε ιδιωτική έκδοση. Ποιήματά του έχουν μεταφραστεί στα αγγλικά, γαλλικά, γερμανικά, ιταλικά, ενώ μελοποιήθηκαν από συνθέτες όπως ο Μίκης Θεοδωράκης, ο Θάνος Μικρούτσικος, ο Μιχάλης Γρηγορίου, ο Γιάννης Μαρκόπουλος και ο Δημήτρης Παπαδημητρίου.

http://www.blod.gr/lectures/Pages/viewlecture.aspx?LectureID=2467

Kostis Palamas//Κωστής Παλαμάς

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Kostis Palamas

Kostis Palamas (Greek: Κωστής Παλαμάς; 13 January 1859 – 27 February 1943) was a Greek poet who wrote the words to the Olympic Hymn. He was a central figure of the Greek literary generation of the 1880s and one of the cofounders of the so-called New Athenian School (or Palamian School, or Second Athenian School) along with Georgios Drosinis, Nikos Kampas, Ioanis Polemis.
Born in Patras, he received his primary and secondary education in Mesolonghi. In 1880s, he worked as a journalist. He published his first collection of verses, the “Songs of My Fatherland”, in 1886. He held an administrative post at the University of Athens between 1897 and 1926, and died during the German occupation of Greece during World War II. His funeral was a major event of the Greek resistance: the funerary poem composed and recited by fellow poet Angelos Sikelianos roused the mourners and culminated in an angry demonstration of a 100,000 people against Nazi occupation.
Palamas wrote the lyrics to the Olympic Hymn, composed by Spyridon Samaras. It was first performed at the 1896 Summer Olympics, the first modern Olympic Games. The Hymn was then shelved as each host city from then until the 1960 Winter Olympics commissioned an original piece for its edition of the Games, but the version by Samaras and Palamas was declared the official Olympic Anthem in 1958 and has been performed at each edition of the Games since the 1960 Winter Olympics.
The old administration building of the University of Athens, in downtown Athens, where his work office was located, is now dedicated to him as the “Kosti Palamas Building” and houses the “Greek Theater Museum”, as well as many temporary exhibitions.
He has been informally called the “national” poet of Greece and was closely associated with the struggle to rid Modern Greece of the “purist” language and with political liberalism. He dominated literary life for 30 or more years and greatly influenced the entire political-intellectual climate of his time. Romain Rolland considered him the greatest poet of Europe and he was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature but never received it. His most important poem, “The Twelve Lays of the Gypsy” (1907), is a poetical and philosophical journey. His “Gypsy” is a free-thinking, intellectual rebel, a Greek Gypsy in a post-classical, post-Byzantine Greek world, an explorer of work, love, art, country, history, religion and science, keenly aware of his roots and of the contradictions between his classical and Christian heritages.

Κωστής Παλαμάς

Ο Κωστής Παλαμάς (Πάτρα, 13 Ιανουαρίου 1859 – Αθήνα, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 1943) ήταν ποιητής, πεζογράφος, θεατρικός συγγραφέας, ιστορικός και κριτικός της λογοτεχνίας. Θεωρείται ένας από τους σημαντικότερους Έλληνες ποιητές, με σημαντική συνεισφορά στην εξέλιξη και ανανέωση της νεοελληνικής ποίησης. Αποτέλεσε κεντρική μορφή της λογοτεχνικής γενιάς του 1880, πρωτοπόρος, μαζί με το Νίκο Καμπά και το Γεώργιο Δροσίνη, της αποκαλούμενης Νέας Αθηναϊκής (ή Παλαμικής) σχολής. Επίσης, είχε σπουδάσει και ως θεατρικός παραγωγός της ελληνικής λογοτεχνίας
Γεννήθηκε στην Πάτρα στις 13 Ιανουαρίου 1859 από γονείς που κατάγονταν από το Μεσολόγγι. Η οικογένεια του πατέρα του ήταν οικογένεια λογίων, με αξιόλογη πνευματική δραστηριότητα, και ασχολούμενων με τη θρησκεία. Ο προπάππος του Παναγιώτης Παλαμάς (1722-1803) είχε ιδρύσει στο Μεσολόγγι την περίφημη “Παλαμαία Σχολή” και ο παππούς του Ιωάννης είχε διδάξει στην Πατριαρχική Ακαδημία της Κωνσταντινούπολης. Ο θείος του Ανδρέας Παλαμάς υπήρξε πρωτοψάλτης και υμνογράφος, τον οποίο ο Κωστής Παλαμάς αναφέρει στα “Διηγήματά” του (Β’ έκδοση, 1929, σελ. 200). Ο Μιχαήλ Ευσταθίου Παλαμάς (αδελφός του Ανδρέα) και ο Πανάρετος Παλαμάς ήταν ασκητές. Ο Δημήτριος Ι. Παλαμάς, επίσης θείος του Κωστή, ήταν ψάλτης και υμνογράφος στο Μεσολόγγι.
Όταν ο ποιητής ήταν 6 χρονών έχασε και τους δύο γονείς του σε διάστημα σαράντα ημερών (Δεκέμβριος 1864-Φεβρουάριος 1865). Στενοί συγγενείς ανέλαβαν τότε τα τρία παιδιά της οικογένειας, το μικρότερο αδερφό του η αδερφή της μητέρας του και εκείνον και το μεγαλύτερο αδερφό του ο θείος τους Δημήτριος Παλαμάς, που κατοικούσε στο Μεσολόγγι. Εκεί έζησε από το 1867 ως το 1875 σε ατμόσφαιρα μάλλον δυσάρεστη και καταθλιπτική, που ήταν φυσικό να επηρεάσει τον ευαίσθητο ψυχισμό του, όπως φαίνεται και από ποιήματα που αναφέρονται στην παιδική του ηλικία.
Μετά την αποφοίτησή του από το γυμνάσιο εγκαταστάθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1875, όπου γράφτηκε στην Νομική Σχολή. Σύντομα όμως εγκατέλειψε τις σπουδές του αποφασισμένος να ασχοληθεί με τη λογοτεχνία. Το πρώτο του ποίημα το είχε γράψει σε ηλικία 9 ετών, μιμούμενος τα πρότυπα της εποχής του, “ποίημα για γέλια”, όπως το χαρακτήρισε αργότερα ο ίδιος. Η αρχή του ποιήματος εκείνου ήταν: “Σ΄ αγαπώ εφώνησα, / κι εσύ μ΄ αστράπτον βλέμμα /Μη – μ΄ απεκρίθης – μη θνητέ, / τολμήσης να μιάνης / δια της παρουσίας σου / τας ώρας τας ωραίας / που έζησα στον κόσμον /…”.
Από το 1875 δημοσίευε σε εφημερίδες και περιοδικά διάφορα ποιήματα και το 1876 υπέβαλε στον Βουτσιναίο ποιητικό διαγωνισμό την ποιητική συλλογή Ερώτων Έπη, σε καθαρεύουσα, με σαφείς τις επιρροές της Α’ Αθηναϊκής Σχολής. Η συλλογή απορρίφθηκε με το χαρακτηρισμό “λογιωτάτου γραμματικού ψυχρότατα στιχουργικά γυμνάσματα”. Η πρώτη του αυτοτελής έκδοση ήταν το 1878 το ποίημα “Μεσολόγγι”. Από το 1898 εκείνος και οι δύο φίλοι και συμφοιτητές του Νίκος Καμπάς (με τον οποίο μοιραζόταν το ίδιο δωμάτιο) και Γεώργιος Δροσίνης άρχισαν να συνεργάζονται με τις πολιτικές-σατιρικές εφημερίδες “Ραμπαγάς” και “Μη χάνεσαι”. Οι τρεις φίλοι είχαν συνειδητοποιήσει την παρακμή του αθηναϊκού ρομαντισμού και με το έργο τους παρουσίαζαν μια νέα ποιητική πρόταση, η οποία βέβαια ενόχλησε τους παλαιότερους ποιητές, που τους αποκαλούσαν περιφρονητικά “παιδαρέλια” ή ποιητές της “Νέας Σχολής”.
Το 1886 δημοσιεύτηκε η πρώτη του ποιητική συλλογή Τραγούδια της Πατρίδος μου στη δημοτική γλώσσα, η οποία εναρμονίζεται απόλυτα με το κλίμα της Νέας Αθηναϊκής Σχολής. Το 1887 παντρεύτηκε τη συμπατριώτισσά του Μαρία Βάλβη, με την οποία απέκτησαν τρία παιδιά, μεταξύ των οποίων και ο Λέανδρος Παλαμάς. το 1889 δημοσιεύτηκε ο Ύμνος εις την Αθηνάν, αφιερωμένος στη γυναίκα του, για τον οποίο βραβεύτηκε στον Φιλαδέλφειο ποιητικό διαγωνισμό την ίδια χρονιά. Ένδειξη της καθιέρωσής του ως ποιητή ήταν η ανάθεση της σύνθεσης του Ύμνου των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων, το 1896. Το 1898, μετά το θάνατο του γιου του Άλκη σε ηλικία τεσσάρων ετών, δημοσίευσε την ποιητική σύνθεση “Ο Τάφος”. Το 1897 διορίστηκε γραμματέας στο Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών, απ’ όπου αποχώρησε το 1928. Από την ίδια χρονιά (1897) άρχισε να δημοσιεύει τις σημαντικότερες ποιητικές του συλλογές και συνθέσεις, όπως οι “Ίαμβοι και Ανάπαιστοι” (1897), “Ασάλευτη Ζωή” (1904), “ο Δωδεκάλογος του Γύφτου” (1907), “Η Φλογέρα του Βασιλιά” (1910). Το 1918 του απονεμήθηκε το Εθνικό Αριστείο Γραμμάτων και Τεχνών, ενώ από το 1926 αποτέλεσε βασικό μέλος της Ακαδημίας των Αθηνών, της οποίας έγινε πρόεδρος το 1930.
Κατά τον Ελληνοϊταλικό πόλεμο του 1940 ο Κωστής Παλαμάς μαζί με άλλους Έλληνες λογίους προσυπέγραψε την έκκληση των Ελλήνων Διανοουμένων προς τους διανοούμενους ολόκληρου του κόσμου, με την οποία αφενός μεν καυτηριάζονταν η κακόβουλη ιταλική επίθεση, αφετέρου δε, διέγειρε την παγκόσμια κοινή γνώμη σε επανάσταση συνειδήσεων για κοινό νέο πνευματικό Μαραθώνα.
Πέθανε στις 27 Φεβρουαρίου του 1943 έπειτα από σοβαρή ασθένεια, 40 ημέρες μετά το θάνατο της συζύγου του (τον οποίο δεν είχε πληροφορηθεί επειδή και η δική του υγεία ήταν σε κρίσιμη κατάσταση). Η κηδεία του έμεινε ιστορική, καθώς μπροστά σε έκπληκτους Γερμανούς κατακτητές, χιλιάδες κόσμου τον συνόδευσαν στην τελευταία του κατοικία, στο Α΄ νεκροταφείο Αθηνών, ψάλλοντας τον εθνικό ύμνο.

Η οικία του Παλαμά στην Πάτρα σώζεται ως σήμερα στην οδό Κορίνθου 241. Τρία χρόνια πριν τη γέννηση του Παλαμά στο ίδιο σπίτι γεννήθηκε η μεγάλη Ιταλίδα πεζογράφος Ματθίλδη Σεράο.
Ήταν υποψήφιος για το Βραβείο Νόμπελ Λογοτεχνίας 14 φορές (1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938 και 1940).[3] Ανάμεσα σε αυτούς που πρότειναν τον Παλαμά για το βραβείο υπήρξε και ο νικητής του 1916 Καρλ Γκούσταφ Βέρνερ φον Χάιντενσταμ, ο οποίος πρότεινε τον Παλαμά τρεις φορές (1928, 1930 και 1935).[4]
Σήμερα “τιμής ένεκεν” φέρεται αφιερωμένη στο όνομά του μεγάλη αίθουσα εκθέσεων του πολυχώρου Τεχνόπολις στην Αθήνα.
Ο Παλαμάς ήταν ένας από τους πολυγραφότερους Έλληνες λογοτέχνες και πνευματικούς ανθρώπους. Δημοσίευσε συνολικά σαράντα ποιητικές συλλογές, καθώς και θεατρικά έργα, κριτικά και ιστορικά δοκίμια, συγκριτικές μελέτες και βιβλιοκριτικές. Την επιμέλεια της επανέκδοσης των έργων του μετά το θάνατό του ανέλαβε ο γιος του Λέανδρος Παλαμάς επίσης ποιητής και κριτικός της λογοτεχνίας.

Ποιητικό έργο

Το ποιητικό του έργο είναι μεγάλο σε έκταση και σε σημασία και είχε τεράστια απήχηση στην εποχή του. Διαμετρικά αντίθετες πολιτικές και πνευματικές προσωπικότητες, όπως ο Κωνσταντίνος Τσάτσος και ο Νίκος Ζαχαριάδης αισθάνθηκαν την ανάγκη να τοποθετηθούν απέναντι στο Δωδεκάλογο του Γύφτου. Ο Μίκης Θεοδωράκης έχει πει ότι ο Παλαμάς είχε μεγαλύτερη επιρροή από 10 Πρωθυπουργούς. Το ενδιαφέρον για το έργο του μειώθηκε στη μεταπολεμική Ελλάδα, όταν επεκράτησαν διαφορετικά αισθητικά ρεύματα ενώ υποχώρησε και το ενδιαφέρον για την ποίηση γενικότερα.
Οι δύο πρώτες του συλλογές, Τραγούδια της πατρίδος μου και Τα μάτια της ψυχής μου είχαν ακόμα απηχήσεις του ρομαντισμού της Α’ Αθηναϊκής Σχολής και κάποια κατάλοιπα καθαρεύουσας. Η πρώτη σημαντική στάση στο έργο του ήταν η συλλογή Ίαμβοι και Ανάπαιστοι (1897), κυρίως για την ανανεωμένη μετρική της, με την εναλλαγή ιαμβικού και αναπαιστικού ρυθμού (ο ίδιος επισήμανε ότι παρακινήθηκε από την μετρική του Κάλβου), αλλά και για την εκφραστική λιτότητα και σαφήνεια. Το επόμενο έργο του, ο Τάφος (1898), αποτελείται από ποιήματα – μοιρολόγια για τον θάνατο του γιου του Άλκη. Η πρώτη περίοδος της δημιουργίας του κλείνει με την συλλογή Ασάλευτη Ζωή (1904), η οποία περιέχει υλικό από όλα τα προηγούμενα χρόνια της δράσης του. Κεντρική θέση στη συλλογή έχουν τα ποιήματα Η Φοινικιά (αναγνωρίζεται ως το καλύτερο ίσως έργο του), Ασκραίος και Αλυσίδες (συναποτελούν την ενότητα “Μεγάλα οράματα”) και η ενότητα σονέτων Πατρίδες.
Η κορυφαία έκφραση της “λυρικής σκέψης” του Παλαμά είναι Ο Δωδεκάλογος του Γύφτου (1907). Στο πνευματικό του ταξίδι ο Γύφτος θα γκρεμίσει και θα ξαναχτίσει τον κόσμον όλο. Θα απαρνηθεί τη δουλειά, την αγάπη, τη θρησκεία, την αρχαιότητα, το βυζάντιο και όλες τις πατρίδες, αλλά και θα τα αναστήσει όλα μέσα από την Τέχνη, μαζί και τη μεγάλη χίμαιρα της εποχής, τη Μεγάλη Ιδέα. Θα υμνήσει τον ελεύθερο λαό του, αλλά θα τραγουδήσει και έναν νιτσεϊκό αδάκρυτο ήρωα. Θα καταλήξει προσκυνώντας τη Φύση και την Επιστήμη.
‘Η Φλογέρα του βασιλιά (1910) διαδραματίζεται στο Βυζάντιο και αφηγείται το ταξίδι του Βασίλειου Β’ (“Βουλγαροκτόνου”) στην Αθήνα. Κεντρικό σημείο του έργου είναι το προσκύνημα του αυτοκράτορα στον Παρθενώνα, που έχει γίνει ναός της Παναγίας. Αυτό συμβολίζει για τον ποιητή τη σύνθεση και την ενότητα όλης της ιστορίας του Ελληνισμού, αρχαίας, βυζαντινής και σύγχρονης. Η έμπνευση της Φλογέρας του Βασιλιά είναι αποτέλεσμα και του ανανεωμένου τότε ενδιαφέροντος για το Βυζαντινή Αυτοκρατορία, αλλά κυρίως του Μακεδονικού Αγώνα.
Μετά τις μεγάλες συνθέσεις επανήλθε σε μικρότερες λυρικές φόρμες με τις συλλογές Οι καημοί της Λιμνοθάλασσας και Η Πολιτεία και η Μοναξιά (1912), μαζί με τις οποίες εξέδωσε και τα σατιρικά ποιήματά του (Σατιρικά γυμνάσματα). Στις επόμενες συλλογές του γενικά δεν παρουσιάστηκε κάτι νέο στην ποιητική του εξέλιξη, παρά μόνο στις τελευταίες, Ο κύκλος των τετράστιχων (1929) και Οι νύχτες του Φήμιου(1935) αποτελούνται αποκλειστικά από σύντομα τετράστιχα ποιήματα.

Η σχέση με το δημοτικισμό

Η εποχή της εμφάνισης του Κωστή Παλαμά, αλλά και των άλλων ποιητών της Νέας Αθηναϊκής Σχολής συνέπεσε με την έξαρση του προβληματισμού για το γλωσσικό ζήτημα. Το 1888 εκδόθηκε το Ταξίδι μου του Ψυχάρη, ενώ είχε προηγηθεί η διαμάχη Κωνσταντίνου Κόντου- Δημ. Βερναρδάκη, το 1882. Ενώ σταδιακά στην ποίηση η δημοτική καθιερώθηκε (με τη συμβολή και των ποιητών της Νέας Αθηναϊκής Σχολής), στην πεζογραφία (και φυσικά στον επίσημο λόγο) επικρατούσε η καθαρεύουσα. Ο Παλαμάς, υποστηρικτής της δημοτικής, υποδέχθηκε με ευνοϊκή κριτική το Ταξίδι μου. Μια μόλις μέρα αφ’ ότου το διάβασε, έγραψε το άρθρο “Το επαναστατικόν βιβλίον του κ. Ψυχάρη” εκφράζοντας ενθουσιώδεις κρίσεις, χωρίς βέβαια να παραλείψει να επισημάνει και τις ακρότητες του συγγραφέα. Η υποστήριξή του προς όλες τις προσπάθειες καθιέρωσης της δημοτικής ήταν συνεχής και έμπρακτη. Συνεργαζόταν με το περιοδικό-όργανο του δημοτικισμού Ο Νουμάς από το πρώτο κιόλας τεύχος και στη δημοτική έγραψε όχι μόνο τα ποιήματα αλλά και τα (λίγα) διηγήματά του.
Είναι αξιοσημείωτο το γεγονός ότι ενώ στο λογοτεχνικό (και αργότερα και στο κριτικό) έργο χρησιμοποιούσε τη δημοτική, ως Γραμματέας του Πανεπιστημίου ήταν υποχρεωμένος να συντάσσει τα επίσημα έγγραφα σε αυστηρή καθαρεύουσα. Όπως ανέφερε ο ίδιος σε επιστολή του, στην φιλολογική του εργασία ήταν “μαλλιαρός” και στην υπηρεσία του “αττικιστής απ’ την κορφή ως τα νύχια”. Η επίσημη θέση του, όπως ήταν φυσικό, δύσκολα μπορούσε να συνδυαστεί με την υποστήριξη στο δημοτικισμό. Βρέθηκε πολλές φορές στο επίκεντρο επιθέσεων, ειδικά κατά τα “Ευαγγελικά” (1901) και τα “Ορεστειακά” (1903). Παρά ταύτα ο ίδιος δε δίστασε να δηλώσει δημοσίως ότι ο δημοτικισμός ήταν η αρετή του (1908).

Ποιητικό έργο

Τραγούδια της πατρίδος μου (1886)
Ύμνος εις την Αθηνάν (1889)
Τα μάτια της ψυχής μου (1892)
Ίαμβοι και ανάπαιστοι (1897)
Ο Τάφος (1898)
Οι χαιρετισμοί της Ηλιογέννητης (1900)
Η ασάλευτη ζωή (1904)
Ο Δωδεκάλογος του Γύφτου (1907)
Η φλογέρα του Βασιλιά (1910)
Οι καημοί της λιμνοθάλασσας (1912)
Σατιρικά Γυμνάσματα (1912)
Η πολιτεία και η μοναξιά (1912)
Βωμοί (1915)
Τα παράκαιρα (1919)
Τα δεκατετράστιχα (1919)
Οι πεντασύλλαβοι και Τα παθητικά κρυφομιλήματα- Οι λύκοι- Δυο λουλούδια από τα ξένα (1925)
Δειλοί και σκληροί στίχοι (1928)
Ο κύκλος των τετράστιχων (1929)
Περάσματα και χαιρετισμοί (1931
Οι νύχτες του Φήμιου (1935)
Βραδινή φωτιά (1944, μεταθανάτια έκδοση επιμελημένη από τον γιό του Λέανδρο)
Η Κασσιανή

http://www.wikipedia.org

Hedonism

A fleshless string of beads made of songs
I haven’t given you today
with the spells and games of a charmer
I’ll cloy you, my love.

Naked. And like a vine I’ll climb
to taste your body that devours me
the tender hairs of your mound
with my fingers I’ll conflagrate

wine that enraptures and milk that soothes
to sleep drop by drop I’ll bring
to moisten you with all my body

and on your white sculptured legs
two vases that drive me crazy
my honey like a maniac, at last, I’ll ejaculate.

Ἡδονισμός

Ἀπὸ τραγούδια ἒν᾿ ἄυλο κομπολόϊ
σ᾿ ἐσὲ δεν ἦρθα σήμερα να δώσω.
Με τα παιγνίδια ἐγὼ θα σε λιγώσω
και με τα ξόρκια, ἀγάπη μου, ἑνὸς γόη.
Γυμνοί. Και σαν κισσὸς θα σκαρφαλώσω
για να φάω το κορμί σου που με τρώει.
Του λαγκαδιοῦ σου τη δροσάτη χλόη
με το χέρι θρασὰ θα την πυρώσω.
Το κρασὶ που ξανάφτει και το γάλα
που κοιμίζει, θα φέρω στάλα-στάλα,
μ᾿ ὅλο μου τὸ κορμί, νὰ σὲ ποτίσω.
Και στα πόδια σου τ᾿ ἀσπροσκαλισμένα,
δύο βάζα που μου παίρνουνε τα φρένα,
στερνὴ μανία το μέλι μου θα χύσω.

Humility

It is my pride to stand before you
naked; down with my pride!
I bring my soul to you, a tender flower
my thought I bring to you, my orphanhood
I bring to you my love, my poverty.
I came wishing to be caught in the net of your lust.

I bring to you the mirror that reflects
all the sunsets and all the stars
as you wish them, as your desire commands
smash it to pieces with your golden hands.

To the lands of immenseness: dreamy
voyages, wishes for a safe trip…instead
of these the earth I want that I’m stepped on
by your beloved tender soles.

Ταπείνωση

Η περηφάνια μου εἶναι να σταθῶ
γυμνὸς μπροστά σου· κάτου η περηφάνια!
Σου φέρνω την ψυχή μου, ἀστάλωτον ἀνθὸ
τη σκέψη μου σου φέρνω, την ὀρφάνια,
σου φέρνω την ἀγάπη μου, τη φτώχια.
Ἦρθα, και θέλω να δεθῶ στου πόθου σου τα βρόχια.
Σου φέρνω το γυαλὶ που καθρεφτίζει
του ἡλιοῦ τα γέρματα ὅλα, ὅλα τ᾿ ἀστέρια·
ὅπως σ᾿ ἀρέσει κ᾿ η ὄρεξή σου ὅπως ὁρίζει,
σύντριψέ το με τα χρυσά σου χέρια.
Στη χώρα των ἀπέραντων ὀνειρευτὰ
ταξίδια, εὐτυχισμένα κατευόδια…
Κάλλιο ἀπὸ σας ἔχω τη γη που με πατᾶν τα λατρευτά,
τα πλαστικά σου πόδια…

~Κωστή Παλαμά, μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη

UBERMENSCH — ΥΠΕΡΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ

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FUNERAL

We buried him, yesterday afternoon, in the freshly dug soil,
a small twig that he was, the poet with his thin gray beard.
His only sin: so much he loved the birds that didn’t come
to his funeral.
The sun went down behind the army barracks where the future
dead slept and the lone hawk, lover of songs, sat on the oak
branch; women lamented for the day’s yellow rapture and after
approving everything the hawk flew away, as if to define
distance. Wind blew over the surface of the lake searching
for the traitor who had run to the opposite shore where
judgement was passed and the ancient cross remained with
no corpse.
Everyone felt joyous, wine and finger food had to do with it
the hawk returned without news and the beggar extended
his hand and softly begged:
“two bits, man, God bless your soul, two bits.’

ΚΗΔΕΙΑ

Χθες το απόγευμα, τον θάψαμε στο φρεσκοσκαμμένο χώμα,
λες να `τανε βλαστάρι ενός δεντρού, το ποιητή με τ’ αραιό
γκρίζο γενάκι. Μόνη του αμαρτία που αγαπούσε πολύ
τα πουλιά κι αυτά ξέχασαν στην κηδεία του να έρθουν.
Ο ήλιος έδυσε πίσω απ’ το στρατόπεδο με τους νεκρούς
της αύριον και το γεράκι, μονιάς της λαγκαδιάς, καθόταν
στης οξιάς κλαδί. Γυναίκες κλάψαν για το κίτρινο συναίσθημα
της μέρας και το γεράκι αφού όλα τα επιδοκίμασε, πέταξε
μακρυά τις αποστάσεις για να καθορίσει, ο αγέρας φύσηξε
πάνω απ’ τη λίμνη, λες κι έψαχνε για τον προδότη που είχε
πάει στην αντιπέρα όχθη, εκεί που κρίνονται οι δίκαιοι
κι ο πανάρχαιος σταυρός έμεινε δίχως κορμί.
Όλοι ένιωσαν ευέλπιστοι απ’ το κρασί και τους μεζέδες,
ξανάρθε το γεράκι δίχως να φέρει νέα κι ο ζητιάνος έτεινε
το χέρι και καλοκάγαθα ψυθίριζε:
‘ελεημοσύνη χριστιανοί, ελεημοσύνη.’

~Υπεράνθρωπος/Ubermensch, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2013

Édouard Schuré

Edouard_Schuré_01

Eduard (Édouard) Schuré (January 21, 1841 in Strasbourg – April 7, 1929 in Paris) was a French philosopher, poet, playwright, novelist, music critic, and publicist of esoteric literature.

Biography

Schuré was the son of a doctor in the Alsatian town of Strasbourg, who died when Édouard was fourteen years old. Schuré mastered French as well as German, and was influenced by German and French culture in his formative years. He received his degree in law at the University of Strasbourg, but he never entered into practice. Schuré called the three most significant of his friendships those with Richard Wagner, Marguerita Albana Mignaty and Rudolf Steiner.[1]
Schuré’s interest and studies led to an extensive knowledge of German literature. The discovery of Wagner’s “music drama” Tristan and Isolde impressed him sufficiently to seek—and obtain—Wagner’s personal acquaintance.
In France, he published his first work Histoire du Lied—a history of the German folk song, which earned him some recognition in the country of his family. With the publication of the essay Richard Wagner et le Drame Musical, he established himself as a major French Wagner expert and advocate of the time.
When the Franco-German war of 1870-71 poisoned the German arts for many French, it would seem that Schuré was not immune from this influence. His nationalism is reflected in his remarks of this time—and later in his life—in a comparison of glorified Celtism (France) and a negatively viewed “Teutonism” (Germany).
On a trip to Italy during this time he met, twenty years his junior, a Greek girl, Marguerita Albana Mignaty, whom he subsequently described as his “muse”, although he himself was married.
After the tide of war had ebbed, Schuré reestablished his relationship with Wagner. In 1873, he met the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche; with frequent contact they shared enthusiasm for Wagner. The cultist veneration of Wagner, however, seeded Schuré’s alienation from the composer.
Schuré now turned increasingly to the esoteric and the occult; his major influence being the famous French occultist-scholar Fabre d’ Olivet. In 1884, he met the founder of the Theosophical Society Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Although unwelcome in the Theosophical Society, he nevertheless entered. In 1889, he published, after some smaller works on similar topics, his major work Les Grands Initiés (The Great Initiates).
In 1900, the actress Marie von Sivers came into contact with him because she intended to translate his works into German (The Great Initiates, The Sacred Drama of Eleusis and The Children of Lucifer). At the German Section of the Theosophical Society, he met the Austrian philosopher and later founder of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner. In 1906, Sivers brought about a meeting between Schuré and Steiner. Schuré was deeply impressed and thought of Steiner as an authentic ‘initiate’ in line with his The Great Initiates. After hearing Steiner lecture in Paris for the first time in 1906, Schuré in an ecstatic state ran home and wrote down the entirety of the lecture from memory. This first lecture, and the other lectures in the series (which Schuré wrote down) were published as Esoteric Cosmology.[2] Subsequently, Steiner and von Sivers staged Schuré’s esoteric dramas at the following Theosophical Congresses in Berlin and Munich. Schuré’s The Children of Lucifer, served as a precursor of Rudolf Steiner’s own esoteric dramas.
In 1908 Schuré brought out Le Mystère Chrétien et les Mystères Antiques,[3] a French translation of Steiner’s work Christianity as Mystical Fact and the Mysteries of Antiquity.[4] With the outbreak of World War I, Schuré’s relationship with Steiner and his wife became strained. Schuré threw in the two secret intentions about Germanic and Pan and stepped out of Steiner’s Anthroposophical Society. Four years after the war, Schuré re-consolidated his friendship with Steiner.
In subsequent years, Schuré published his autobiography.

Esoteric and literary meaning

Schuré’s The Great Initiates is described by some as a masterpiece. In it, he describes the path allegedly followed by some of the ancient philosophers in search of profound esoteric knowledge, often called the “initiation”, as describing the process of becoming a mystic master or spiritual healer.
Those familiar with Rama, Hermes Trismegistus, Socrates, Jesus, Orpheus will find frequent references in Schuré’s work. Schuré pursued the notion that a secret esoteric knowledge was known to them all, that this group were among the pillars of civilization and represented the founders of spiritual and philosophical ways of being as well as in some cases—though contrary to their message—religions. Schuré recognized that the path to a harmonious world was not to be found through a bigoted denial of the value found by other civilizations by their own sages. He wanted people to recognize the value of democracy in spiritual, philosophical, and religious ways. .
Schuré wrote a considerable number of books and plays. His plays enjoyed relative fame in his days in Europe, and some of them were put on stage by Steiner. He also influenced Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.

~Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

SIMPLE TALK–TASOS LIVADITIS

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SIMPLE TALK by TASOS LIVADITIS

Once we dreamed of becoming great poets
we talked of the sun.
Now our heart pierces us
like a nail in our boot.
When once we said: sky, now we say: courage.
We aren’t poets anymore
only comrades
with big scars and even bigger dreams.

ΑΠΛΗ ΚΟΥΒΕΝΤΑ
Κάποτε ονειρευόμαστε να γίνουμε μεγάλοι ποιητές
μιλούσαμε για τον ήλιο.
Τώρα μας τρυπάει η καρδιά
σαν μια πρόκα στην αρβύλα μας.
Εκεί που άλλοτε λέγαμε: ουρανός, τώρα λέμε: κουράγιο.
Δεν είμαστε πια ποιητές
παρά μονάχα
σύντροφοι
με μεγάλες πληγές και πιο μεγάλα όνειρα.

~SIMPLE TALK, by Tasos Livaditis, translated by Manolis Aligizakis
~Τάσου Λειβαδίτη, ΑΠΛΗ ΚΟΥΒΕΝΤΑ, μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη

NOSTOS and ALGOS (Nostalgia)

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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

The Concept of Love

 

 By Dr Dimitri Karalis

The Persian poet Saadi once in his spiritual ecstasy, found himself walking among the burgeon gardens of Elysian Fields (paradise), brimming with exotic blooms and rare perfumed heavenly flowers.

He thought to gather a few in his apron for friends at home, but the exquisite fragrances intoxicated him so much that he dropped the apron together with the flowers.

Endeavouring to tell his friends of the wonderful sight and the rare aromatic scents of paradise on his return, he found it impossible, because the human tongue was too poor for such heavenly description.

The same can be said of love.

Attempting to define it, we arrive often at the same dilemma, as when we try to measure the sea with a drinking cup and counting the universe with a yardstick.

Love is too subtle to be defined in simple human terms. Yet an answer for its mysterious nature will be forever a longing in the human heart. What is love then someone might ask?

But there is no answer for such question.

You can feel love, you can sense love, you can look love, you can smile love, you can touch love, you can live love and you can breathe, BUT YOU CAN NEVER BE ABLE TO DESCRIBE LOVE. Love is God and God is indefinable. Love is not just affection; affections usually call for specific objects of endearment and vanish with the subject.

Affection is personal, changeable, and transient: While love is universal, steadfast, and eternal. Affection likes to be cherished, while love wants nothing but the privilege of loving. Affection twines itself most closely about human relations, while love finds its fruition beyond the human race.

Love is not just sympathy. Sympathy deplores, pities, or commiserates, but love understands. Love only to be understood, is the sweetest kind of sympathy treasured by the human Soul. The depth of love signifies always the success in our life.

Love your partner and your children and your success will be finally to supply their economic needs.

Love your country and its people and you will be lead into a government or civil position to serve them.

Love truth and knowledge and you will be incarnated to a spiritual torch in order to light the path of your fellow man.

Nothing in life moves forwards without the power of love. All the gates of paradise open only with the key of love. The enamoured couple, travel jointly with an escort of angels through the celestial gardens. Their love and happiness are the only ones that can freely pass through the gates of heaven. Love is the mighty voice of God who speaks through our mind heart and Soul.

“The reason for instance why some men fail to attract women, is that their bodies and minds, fail to express their SOUL- and your sweetheart needs your Soul first to respond. You satisfy the Soul of woman and all of her is yours, neglect or insult her Soul- and none of her are yours. You may complain that she is cold, artificial, uninteresting and the like. No, no that, you are little course and unfeeling, you do not understand the subtle emotion of women’s nature. Women feel more with their heart and understand young children’s innocence better than man’s coarse affection.”

Wise was Purintton when expressing what love really is.

  • Understand love, he said and you will solve the riddle of human existence.
  • Welcome love and you will open the arms of the angels.
  • Live love and you will have won the hearts of humanity.
  • Trust love and you will insure your life with the God.”

No one ever lived really yet without experiencing the glory of true love. Thousand times better wounded, bleeding and suffering from its arrows, than to live sound and ignorant from this divine grace.

Love, said Socrates in his ‘symposium speech’, is “the spiritual vehicle, which aims for soul travelling and everlasting immortality”.

What are the obstacles that do not allow love to bloom in every human heart? My experience taught me for the followings reasons.

  • Wrong upbringing, excess and
  • Wrong of food in the body and
  • Wrong thoughts stored in the brain are often the main obstacles to love spontaneously.

We eat what tradition customs taught us and we believe what superstition suggests us, as a result we are too sick physically and mentally to love.

It is impossible in uncongenial environment with alcohol, meat, tobacco, coffee and other harmful stimulants, to make pure blood for body’s metabolism.

Soul needs superb health, pure heart, open mind and clear windows (eyes) in order to express its inner glory.

Only with good health and correct upbringing can we learn to love.

  • Like it shines from the Sun,
  • Blossoms in the flowers,
  • Sings in the birds,
  • Sooths in silence,
  • Dreams in the stars and
  • Blushes angelically in the pomegranate colour of woman are loving cheeks”.

Dimitri Karalis
Hermanus -South Africa

http://www.diasporic.org