Archive for the ‘Αίγυπτος’ Category

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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

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Ideal and beloved voices
of the dead or those who
for us are lost like the dead.
At times they talk in our dreams;
at times our minds hear them when in thought.
And with their sound, for a moment, echoes
return from the first poetry of our lives—
like distant music, at night, that slowly fades away.


Ιδανικές φωνές κι αγαπημένες
εκείνων που πεθάναν, η εκείνων που είναι
για μας χαμένοι σαν τους πεθαμένους
Κάποτε μες τα όνειρα μας ομιλούνε
κάποτε μες τη σκέψη τες ακούει το μυαλό
Και με τον ήχο των για μια στιγμή επιστρέφουν
ήχοι από την πρώτη ποίηση της ζωής μας —
σα μουσική, την νύχτα, μακρινή, που σβύνει.


The days of the future stand in front of us
like a line of lit candles—
golden, warm, and lively little candles.
The days of the past remain behind,
a sorrowful line of burned out candles;
the closest ones are still smoking,
cold candles, melted, and drooping.
I don’t want to look at them; their shape saddens me,
and it saddens me to remember their previous light.
I look ahead at my lit candles.
I don’t want to look back and see in horror
how fast the dark line lengthens,
how quickly the burned out candles multiply.


Του μέλλοντος η μέρες στέκοντ’ εμπροστά μας
σα μια σειρά κεράκια αναμένα—
χρυσά, ζεστά, και ζωηρά κεράκια.
Η περασμένες μέρες πίσω μένουν,
μια θλιβερή γραμμή κεριών σβυσμένων
τα πιο κοντά βγάζουν κανπνόν ακόμη,
κρύα κεριά, λυωμένα, και κυρτά
Δεν θέλω να τα βλέπω με λυπεί η μορφή των
και με λυπεί το πρώτο φως των να θυμούμαι.
Εμπρός κυττάζω τ’ αναμένα μου κεριά
Δεν θέλω να γυρίσω να μην διω και φρίξω
τί γρήγορα που η σκοτεινή γραμμή μακραίνει
τί γρήγορα που τα σβυστά κεριά πληθαίνουν.


‘I am from Constantinople by descent, but I was born in Alexandria— at a house on Seriph Street; I left at a young age and spent many of years of my childhood in England. I visited that country later on as an adult although for a short period of time. I also lived in France. During my adolescence I lived in Constantinople for about two years. I haven’t visited Greece for long time. My last employment was as a clerk at a Government office under the Ministry of Public works of Egypt. I speak English, French, and some Italian.’
This auto-biographical note of Constantine P. Cavafy or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, (Κωνσταντίνος Πέτρου Καβάφης), published in 1924 in the celebratory issue of the magazine New Art, may be supplemented with the following.
Cavafy was born on April 17/29th of 1863. Son of a family of merchants, he had eight older siblings all of whom died before him. Two of his brothers were painters, and another wrote poems in English and French; a cousin of his translated Shakespeare.
His father died in 1870 leaving the family in difficult financial position. Cavafy’s mother moved the family to England, where the two eldest sons took over their father’s business. However, their inexperience caused the ruin of the family fortunes and they returned to Alexandria. But the few years that Cavafy spent in England shaped his poetic sensibility and he became so comfortable with the second language that he wrote his first poems in English.
After the brief time he spent in England he moved with his mother to Constantinople where he lived with his grandfather; his stay here was brief and he arrived in Alexandria in 1879. Although they lived in great poverty and discomfort, he wrote his first poems during this period. After working for short periods for the Alexandrian Newspaper and the Egyptian Stock Exchange, at the age of twenty-nine Cavafy took up an appointment as a special clerk in the Irrigation Service of the Ministry of public works, a position he held for the next thirty years. Much of his young ambition during those years was devoted to writing poems and prose essays.
Constantine Cavafy had a very small circle of people around him. He lived with his mother until her death in 1899, and after that with his unmarried brothers. For much of his adult life he lived alone. Influential relationships included his twenty-year acquaintance with E.M. Forster.
Cavafy had one long lasting friendship with Alexander Singopoulos, whom Cavafy designated as his heir and literary executor when he was sixty years old, ten years before his death.
Cavafy remained virtually unknown in Greece until late in his career. He was introduced to the mainland Greek literary circles through a favorable review written by the well known Greek writer Xenopoulos in 1903; however, he got little recognition since his writing style was different from the mainstream Greek poetry of the time. Some twenty years later, after the war of 1919-1923 between Greece and Turkey, a new generation of poets such as Karyotakis would find some inspiration in Cavafy’s work.
It is generally accepted that Cavafy was a homosexual and themes of gay relationships appear in a number of his poems; indeed there is hardly any reference to a woman or a kore, as in Elytis’ works where the kore is a predominant sensual image. In Cavafy, we find numerous sensual references to young men or ephebes, all in their early twenties.
Since his death his reputation has grown and now he is considered one of the finest Greek poets; his work has been published again and again and is taught in schools in Greece, and in colleges and universities throughout the world. A film about his life was produced in Greece in 1996.
He is considered one of the most influential poets of modern Greece and along with Palamas, Kalvos, Seferis, Elytis, Egonopoulos and Ritsos he was instrumental in the revival and recognition of Greek poetry both in Greece and abroad.
His first published poem was printed for the magazine Hesperos in 1886. After that he kept publishing his poems in various magazines in Alexandria and Athens, as well as in some private editions of his friends. He also published articles and philosophical diatribes in newspapers and magazines of Leipsia, Constantinople, Alexandria and Athens.
In 1926, the military government of Pangalos, after a submission by G. Haritakis, awarded him the “Silver Medal of Phoenix”. The same year the periodical Alexandrian Art was launched under his guidance.
After his death a collection of 154 poems was published under the care of his executor Alexander Singopoulos and his then wife Rica, and with the collaboration of the painter Takis Kalmouchos. Since 1948 “Ikaros” has been the publisher of Cavafy’s works in Greece.
The first official presentation of Cavafy in Greece was in the Hellinika Grammata by Gregory Xenopoulos in 1903. At the same time the English writer E. M. Forster was the first one to introduce the poet to international readers.
Cavafy’s poems have been translated into just about all the European languages, and the majority of his more mature poetic creations have been translated and published from 1951 to 1980: twice in English, twice in French, once in German, and once in Italian.
He died of cancer of the larynx on April 29, 1933, on his seventieth birthday, in Alexandria.
In Canada, the most valuable work on Cavafy has been created by Greek Canadian Poet Manolis by translating and publishing a selection of poems in Constantine P. Cavafy – Poems.

Biography of translator Manolis Aligizakis



Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) is a Greek-Canadian poet and author. He is the most prolific writer-poet of the Greek diaspora. At the age of eleven he transcribed the nearly 500 year old romantic poem Erotokritos, now released in a limited edition of 100 numbered copies and made available at 5,000 dollars Canadian: the most expensive book of its kind to this day. 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 is recognized for his ability to convey images and thoughts in a rich and evocative way that tugs at something deep within the reader. Born in the village of Kolibari on the island of Crete in 1947, he moved with his family at a young age to Thessaloniki and then to Athens, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences from the Panteion University of Athens. After graduation, he served in the armed forces for two years and 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. He has written three novels and numerous collections of poetry, which are steadily being released as published works. 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, Arabic, Turkish, Serbian, Russian 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 book “George Seferis-Collected Poems” was shortlisted for the Greek National Literary Awards the highest literary recognition of Greece.

~Distinguished Poet and Writer Award, City of Richmond, BC, 2014
~1st Poetry Prize, International Arts Academy for this translation of “Yannis Ritsos- Selected Poems”, 2014
~Winner of the Dr. Asha Bhargava Memorial Award, Writers International Network Canada, 2014
~“George Seferis-Collected Poems” translated by Manolis, shortlisted for the Greek National Literary Awards, translation category.
~1st Poetry Prize, International Arts Academy, for his translation of “George Seferis-Collected Poems”, 2013
~Master of the Arts in Literature, International Arts Academy, 2013
~1st Prize for poetry, 7th Volos poetry Competition, 2012
~Honorary instructor and fellow, International Arts Academy, 2012
~2nd Prize for short story, Interartia festival, 2012
~2nd Prize for Poetry, Interartia Festival, 2012
~2nd Prize for poetry, Interartia Festival, 2011
~3rd Prize for short stories, Interartia Festival, 2011


Chthonian Bodies, paintings by Ken Kirkby and poems by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2015
Images of Absence, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2015
Autumn Leaves, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2014
Übermensch/Υπεράνθρωπος, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2013
Mythography, paintings and poems, Libros Libertad, 2012
Nostos and Algos, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2012
Vortex, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2011
The Circle, novel, Libros Libertad, 2011
Vernal Equinox, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2011
Opera Bufa, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2010
Vespers, paintings and poems, Libros Libertad, 2010
Triptych, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2010
Nuances, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2009
Rendition, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2009
Impulses, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2009
Troglodytes, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2008
Petros Spathis, novel, Libros Libertad, 2008
El Greco, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2007
Path of Thorns, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2006
Footprints in Sandstone, poetry, Authorhouse, Bloomington, Indiana, 2006
The Orphans, poetry, Authorhouse, Bloomington, Indiana, 2005
Hours of the Stars, poetry by Dimitris Liantinis, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2015

Hear Me Out, short stories, by Tzoutzi Mantzourani, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2015

Caressing Myths, poetry by Dina Georgantopoulos, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros libertad, 2015

Idolaters, a novel by Joanna Frangia, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2014

Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2014
Yannis Ritsos-Selected Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions, 2013
Cloe and Alexandra-Selected Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2013
George Seferis-Collected Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2012
Yannis Ritsos-Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2010
Constantine P. Cavafy – Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2008

Cavafy-Selected Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions, 2011

A Fogoly, (Hungarian), a novel by Manolis Aligizakis (English publication with the title “Petros Spathis”), translated into Hungarian by Karoly Csiby, AB-ART, Slovakia, 2015
Άσματα του Παραλόγου, (Greek), poetry, ENEKEN, Salonika, Greece, 2015
Εικόνες Απουσίας, (Greek) poetry, Sexpirikon, Salonika, Greece, 2015
Oszi Falevelek, (Hungarian), poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, translated into Hungarian by Karoly Csiby, Gyp, Hungary, 2015
Svest, (Serbian), poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, translated into Serbian by Jolanka Kovacs, Serbia, 2015
Eszmelet, (Hungarian), poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, translated into Hungarian by Karoly Csiby, AB-ART, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2014
Ιερόδουλες, (Greek), poetry, Sexpirikon, Salonika, Greece, 2014
Υπεράνθρωπος, (Greek), poetry, ENEKEN, Salonika, Greece, 2014
Übermensch (German), poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, translated into German by Eniko Thiele Csekei, WINDROSE, Austria, 2014
Nostos si Algos, (Romanian) poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, translated into Romanian by Lucia Gorea, DELLART, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2013
Τολμηρές Ανατάσεις, (Greek) poetry, GAVRIILIDIS EDITIONS, Athens, Greece, 2013
Φυλλορροές, (Greek) poetry, ENEKEN PUBLICATIONS, Salonika, Greece, 2013
Εαρινή Ισημερία, (Greek) poetry, ENEKEN PUBLICATIONS, Salonika, Greece, 2011
Στρατής Ρούκουνας, (Greek) novel, MAVRIDIS EDITIONS, Athens, Greece, 1981

Erotokritos, by Vitsentzos Kornaros, (rare book-collectible), transcribed by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2015


Κωστής Μοσκώφ, Στα όρια του Έρωτα και της Ιστορίας (απόσπασμα)
Νοσταλγία για τη μητέρα Θεσσαλονίκη, τον Πλαταμώνα, όπου είναι οι περισσότεροι φίλοι μου;
Αλλά έχω δημιουργήσει κι αλλού πάλι καταστάσεις τέτοιες κι αισθάνομαι δεν αισθάνομαι πολίτης του κόσμου, αισθάνομαι Έλληνας βέβαια και Ρωμιός, και μάλιστα με την ιδιαιτερότητα του Θεσσαλονικιού που είμαι, αλλά αισθάνομαι ότι αυτό που είχα στην Ελλάδα το δημιουργώ μέσα από ανθρώπινες σχέσεις και σε άλλα μέρη και το επεκτείνω. Και αυτό έχει μια ομορφιά! Δηλαδή, φτιάχνεις τη ζωή σου με μεγαλύτερη ποικιλία, με περισσότερες εκφορές. Τα ίδια πράγματα με πιο πολλές γλώσσες, με διαφορετικά ημιτόνια κάθε φορά. Θα έλεγα ότι λίγο-πολύ είμαι πεισματάρης. Ό,τι ήθελα στη ζωή μου το απέκτησα. Εκείνο βέβαια που πάντα θέλω πιο πολύ και είναι πράγμα που ίσως κανένας δεν μπορεί να τ’ αποκτήσει είναι, ακόμα πιο πολλή αγάπη, ακόμα πιο πολύ έρωτα. Και να παίρνω και να δίνω. Αυτό είναι ένα αλισβερίσι, όπως ξέρεις. Δηλαδή, θέλω το Θεό τον ίδιο, να αγαπήσω το Θεό τον ίδιο – να στο πω έτσι με λόγο θρησκευτικό -και αγαπάω τους αγγέλους του. Κι όχι τον ίδιο. Δεν μου δίνεται ο ίδιος ο Θεός, μου δίνονται οι προφήτες, οι αγγέλοι του. Ε, είναι ένας πλούτος, ίσως, να αισθάνεσαι αυτήν την έλλειψη. Μπορώ να την αισθάνομαι αυτήν την έλλειψη από τη συνείδησή της. Αλλά είναι και μια φτώχεια. Δηλαδή νοιώθω ανικανοποίητος. Ικανοποιημένος για πολλά, ανικανοποίητος για όλο και περισσότερα. Πάντα υπάρχει περιθώριο, βεβαίως, να καλυφθεί. Πάντα υπάρχει περιθώριο! Και ξέρεις, μεγαλώνοντας κανένας καταλαβαίνει πιο πολύ. Μπορεί βιολογικά να γερνάει, στα 57, αν μπορείς να πεις ότι γερνάει. Ήδη, δεν είσαι βέβαια 30 χρονών, είσαι, είμαι δηλαδή, στα 57. Αλλά απ’ την άλλη μεριά καταλαβαίνω πολύ περισσότερα πράγματα, έχω ζήσει πολύ περισσότερα πράγματα. Ξέρεις, έχω ζήσει πιο πολύ, και έχω εκτιμήσει τη στιγμή της αποτυχίας του ανθρώπου. Εντάξει οι στιγμές της επιτυχίας. Μιλήσαμε γι’ αυτές. Και είναι έκδηλες όταν υπάρχουν. Αλλά να μάθεις να βλέπεις το μεγαλείο του ανθρώπου όταν αποτυχαίνει στην προσπάθειά του να φτιάξει τον κόσμο καλύτερο και τον εαυτό του καλύτερο, ε, νομίζω και αυτό είναι σημαντικό. Κι αυτό το ‘χω μάθει μέσα από πολλά πράγματα. Είχα μεγάλους έρωτες και έχω. Αλλά κάποια στιγμή νοιώθω ότι οι έρωτες αυτοί έχουν πολύ άγρια όρια προς εμένα. Ίσως ακριβώς ζητάω τους δύσκολους έρωτες, ζητάω τις δύσκολες σχέσεις. Θα έλεγα ότι δεν υπάρχουν τα όρια του έρωτα και της ιστορίας σ’ ανθρώπους που δεν το συνειδητοποιούνε και σ’ ανθρώπους που συνειδητοποιούνε. Ίσως εγώ το έχω συνειδητοποιήσει ότι είναι άγρια αυτά τα όρια.
Το ταξίδι μετράει βεβαίως. Η ιστορία μας και η ζωή μας όλη συμπυκνώνεται πάνω σ’ αυτό το έπος της Οδύσσειας. Έτσι δεν είναι; Είναι αυτό το ταξίδι για το οποίο λέει κι ο Καβάφης αρκετά χρόνια μετά από τον Όμηρο. Αυτό μετράει. Δηλαδή είμαι πεισματάρης, επαναλαμβάνω πάλι και πάλι. Κι όταν βάλω κάποιο στόχο θα τον πετύχω, ή τουλάχιστον θα φάω το κεφάλι μου, θα προσπαθήσω όμως να τον πετύχω. Είπαμε, τώρα η Αίγυπτος μου μαθαίνει να είμαι πιο σοφός και να δέχομαι ίσως περισσότερο την αποτυχία. Ίσως αυτό, δεν ξέρω, μου διευκολύνει τη ζωή μου, μπορεί να την κάνει και λιγότερο πλούσια. Ξέρεις, έχω γνωρίσει τελευταία περιπτώσεις ανθρώπων με μεγάλα προβλήματα, οι οποίοι πήγανε σε γιατρούς, πήγαν από δω, πήγαν από κει, γιατρεύτηκαν λέγεται ψυχικά, αλλά δεν νομίζω ότι αυτή η γιατρειά είναι μια πραγματική γιατρειά. Χρειάζεται αυτή η ανάγκη του να φτιάξεις κάτι άλλο, έστω κι αν αυτή η ανάγκη σε κάνει όχι ευτυχισμένο αλλά δυστυχισμένο. Γιατί μια ευτυχία αλλιώτικη είναι μια ευτυχία του ύπνου και της ανυπαρξίας, ενώ το άλλο είναι η ύπαρξη με τις δυσκολίες της, τις στιγμές αυτές που η παράδοσή μας ονομάζει πολύ ωραία «σταυραναστάσιμες», με το σταυρό της κάθε μέρας και την Ανάσταση, που είναι μία βέβαια μέρα της εβδομάδας ή μία μέρα του χρόνου, η Λαμπρή του Πάσχα, αλλά είναι η καθοριστική μέρα, είναι το κέντρο του κόσμου. Αυτό κάπου βρίσκεται και στην αρχαία τραγωδία. Αλλά ακόμα πιο πολύ βρίσκεται στην καινούρια τραγωδία που είναι η Ορθοδοξία μας. Κατά κάποιον τρόπο είναι κι αυτή μια τραγωδία. Επικαθορίζονται όλα από τη στιγμή της νίκης του ανθρώπου. Και γι’ αυτήν πολεμάμε, αλλά και για την άλλη μεριά. Και για να κατανοήσουμε το μεγαλείο της μη νίκης. Της αποτυχίας μας. Όταν δεν είναι δυνατή η επιτυχία.
Από το βιβλίο του Κωστή Μοσκώφ Στα Όρια του Έρωτα και της Ιστορίας (Ιανός, 1997)