‘For the Love of Yannis Ritsos’ by Manolis

Posted: 07/12/2015 by vequinox in Literature

Manolis

Ritsos_front large
Yannis Ritsos (1909-1990)

Yannis Ritsos, quite literally came into my life like a song. In 1960, at home in Greece, at the age of thirteen, I heard for the first time the musical composition Epitaphios, which combined poetic verses of Ritsos set to music by the internationally celebrated composer, Mikis Theodorakis. Even as a young man, I was moved in an unprecedented way by the songs. Importantly, these songs were a soothing caress over our young and rebellious souls at a time when the Cold War was causing deep divisions between the communist east and capitalist west, and the recent civil war in Greece had seen our country reduced to ruins.

It may be accurately stated that the effects of the civil war would define the continuous dichotomy influencing the lives of Greek citizens until the middle of the nineteen-eighties, and in Yannis Ritsos’ life, became emblematic of this struggle.

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