Archive for the ‘Greek National Literary Awards’ Category




Σελίδες από μια χαμένη επανάσταση που στα περιθώρια γράψαμε

κι εμείς τη ζωή μας —

ώ, μεγάλη ακατανόητη εποχή, που άξαφνα ο ένας καταλαβαίνει

τον άλλο.






Pages from a lost revolution that in its margins we also wrote

our lives —

oh, great incomprehensible season when suddenly one understands

the other.




TASOS LIVADITIS-SELECTED POEMS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, 2014




Τον ενδιέφερε — έλεγε — η ψυχολογία των ψαριών, όταν

οι σκιές τους περνούν στο κατάστρωμα του βυθισμένου πλοίου

κι έξω στο λιμενοβραχίονα μικρά κορίτσια με ναύτες

ανάβουν μεγάλες φωτιές κι ύστερα κάθονται στις άγκυρες και κλαίνε.






He was interested – he said – in the psychology of fish, when

their shadows are displayed on the deck of a sunken ship

and on the pier young girls with sailors

start big fires and then sit on anchors and cry.



YANNIS RITSOS-SELECTED POEMS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2013






Τον συναντούσα συνήθως στη σκάλα, καμιά φορά ερχόταν στην

κάμαρά μου και μάζευε τις σκόρπιες καρφίτσες απ’ το πάτωμα, “θα

τις πάω στη Μαρία” έλεγε και σα να ντρεπόταν που η Μαρία είχε

πεθάνει — ύστερα όλα άλλαξαν, το σπίτι σκοτείνιασε, μόλις μπο-

ρούσες να ξεχωρίσεις τ’ αλλοτινά σημάδια, στο δρόμο έφεγγε ένα

κηροπήγιο σα να `ταν κάτι, λέει, κάτω απ’ το χώμα που δεν έπρε-

πε να το ξεχάσουμε, “κι εσύ γιατί σ’ αρέσει να σέρνεσαι σαν το

σκουλήκι” μου λέει, “Κύριε, θέλω να προλάβω” του λέω κι όταν

ακούστηκε το τραίνο που σφύριζε για δεύτερη φορά, «εδώ τελειώ-

νουν τα όνειρα» είπε κι έβρεχε, έβρεχε ασταμάτητα πάνω σ’ όλον

το μάταιο κόσμο.






I would usually meet him by the stairs at times he would come to

my room to pick the thrown pins from the floor, “I’ll give them

to Maria” he would say as if embarrassed that Maria had died —

then everything changed, the house got dark, you could hardly

discern the old wounds; in the street a candle was lit as if

they said, there was something under the soil we shouldn’t forget

“and you, why you like to crawl like a worm?” He said to me “Sir

I try to make it on time” I said to him and when the train was heard

whistling for the second time, “here end the dreams” he said and

it rained an unrelenting rain over the whole futile world.




TASOS LIVADITIS-SELECTED POEMS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, 2014





Ήρθαν μαντατοφόροι, φέραν μηνύματα,

κάνιστρα, γλάστρες, ανθοδέσμες, κιβώτια,

ένα τεράστιο ασημένιο κηροπήγιο. Ο άνεμος

έριχνε κάτω τα δέντρα της αυλής. Ο υπηρέτης

ψυχρός, παρελάμβανε τα δώρα, υποκλινόταν.

Η αίθουσα της υποδοχής ήταν κλειστή. Τίποτα

δεν ακουγόταν μες στο σπίτι — βήματα, τρίξιμο, ομιλία

ή χτύπος μαχαιριών και ποτηριών. Ωστόσο

είδα απ’ την τζαμαρία ξαπλωμένο τον Οικοδεσπότη

επάνω στο μαρμάρινο τραπέζι, κι ένα αγόρι

του χτένιζε ήσυχα τη μακριά, μαύρη γενειάδα.






Messengers came, they brought news,

baskets, flowerpots, bouquets, boxes,

a huge silver candle holder. The wind

pushed down the trees of the yard. The cool

servant accepted the gifts; he bowed.

The receiving hall was closed. Nothing

was heard inside the house – footsteps, creaking, talk

nor clink of knives and glasses. However

I saw through the glass the Host lying down

on the marble table and a boy was slowly

combing his long, black beard.




YANNIS RITSOS-SELECTED POEMS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2013


merging dimensions cover



By João da Penha






Singing, everyone sings, but singers only about ten or twelve.


The boutade, they say, is by Frank Sinatra, whose remarkable vocal skills – it seems to me – have not been contested to this day.

To paraphrase the song of the great American singer, it can be said that there are not so many poets like this in the world – here and elsewhere, yesterday and today. I suspect that there will never be many poets, or at least many great poets. At least, I am convinced, not as many as the growing number of edited collections suggest, by marketing strategy arts, just under hyperbolic titles.

Many poetic exercise exercises it, or imagine exercising it. But to make great poetry is grace granted to a minority; to a caste of elect, therefore.

Schiller, by the way, has already warned that it is not enough to create good verses so that its author considers himself a poet. Now, to do verses, almost everyone, at some point in life, has already done. To make POETRY, however, is the road traveled by the minority referred to above. Only she, this chosen caste, has the map of the trail. Whoever holds it, who knows how to read it, interprets its coordinates, leads the others, that is, all of us, who have formed this majority, as creators, of the poetic territory, only by traveling, if sensitive to the Muses, as travelers. For the senseless, the tour of this territory will be nothing more than mere tourism.

Eric Ponty has the map of the trail. He is an authentic poet. Maturity is everything, the supreme bard in the “King Lear” told us. Poet, owner of his craft, poet who reached the full domain of poetic making.

His poetic virtuosity, Ponty has already shown and demonstrated in the magnificent “Retirement Boy Goes to the Circus in Brodowski” (Musa Publishing House, São Paulo, 2003.) In this book with its translation, our poet only makes it reaffirmed. For example when translating this stanza of Manolis’ poem Apollo, which reminds us of Paul Valéry’s Socratic prose in Eupalinos Lame et la Danse Dialogue De L arbre:




And I grew under Apollo’s sun


minutes of expressiveness

alone in darkness and

before I opened my eyes

I was accompanied

by the law of failure

born blind and

accused of heresy

a revolution in its making

even before I could utter

a groan or a begging cry


I gathered all my strength

to pick a date with death

hours before I appeared

in my mother’s arms

newborn festivity

error permitted

two legs just to walk

a heart as if

to feel emotion and

other human traces

of grandeur






E eu cresci sob o sol de Apolo


Minutos de expressividade

Sozinho nas trevas e

Antes de abrir os meus olhos

Eu estava acompanhado

Pela lei da bobagem


Nasceu cega e

Acusada de heresia

Uma conflagração na sua fazendo

Mesmo antes que eu pudesse articular

Um suspiro ou um grito a mendigar


Eu ajuntei toda minha força

A seleção de uma data com a morte

Horas antes eu semelhava

Nos meus braços da minha mãe

Festa de um recém-nascido

Erro admitido

As duas pernas apenas a pé

Um coração como se

Sentisse à emoção e

Outros traços humanos

Da grandeza


This defense can be translated as the recognition that poets inhabit a province where logic does not bow down to the principles that govern the empirical world (nothing is more real than nothing, pre-Socratic Democritus preached). Poets know that. That’s why your particular logic. Particular, but not arbitrary. Particular because only they have the “kingdom key”.

Croce and Vossler, the memory comes to me now, they polemicized around the phrase: “The round table is square”. For the Italian thinker, the phrase would sum up to a total absence of meaning, illogical, while the German critic saw it as true, aesthetically and grammatically valid, caring little that logically impossible. Vossler, like so many others, before and after him, realized that the poet is the one who creates realities. Poets are creators of worlds. Therefore, in the poems translated by Eric Ponty, a musician, as well as a poet, he follows the Wagnerian advice that the poet does nothing but stimulate the understanding, leading the reader to make new combinations on the subject already known by means of sensory perception.

If, as Ponty tells us in one of the translated poems, “In My Mother’s Arms /newborn festivity / error permitted / two legs just to walk” it is equally true that we should listen to what poets have to say (few decipher the world better than poets, neighbors to philosophers). Eric Ponty, at the height of his creative force, has much to tell us through these translations as he did with Manolis-a Canadian Greek poet who’s credit is The Second Advent of Zeus a masterful piece.


“…for his sustained reflection, for a lyrical voice, and an invitation to see life not as a barren subject, but as a complex dynamic that has its own extraordinary design and imago of truth” as Ilya Tourtidis tells us, it is urgent that we listen to Manolis’ voice through the translation of the poet-translator Ponty, one of the most talented of his time.




João da Penha, a journalist and retired professor, collaborated in cultural publications such as Encounters with Brazilian Civilization, Cult and Tempo Brasileiro. Author, among other books, of What Is Existentialism (Brasiliense, 2011, 17. ed.) And Philosophical Periods (Ática 2000, 4. ed.), Translated for magazines and newspapers poems by Russians Sierguêi Iessiênin and Alieksandr Blok, and short stories By José María Argüedas, Júlio Cortázar and Gabriel García Márquez, published in The first short stories of ten masters of Latin American narrative (Paz e Terra, 1978). How to read Wittgenstein. São Paulo: Paulus, 2013.







Ήταν ο μόνος που είχα κι όμως ούτε καν τον γνώριζα — έφευγε

για καιρό κι όταν ξαναρχόταν “κάποτε θα γυρίσεις κι εσύ” μου `λεγε —

“αλλά δεν θάναι κανείς” ύστερα μου μιλούσε για το πράσιονο φόρεμα

της μητέρας του κι επέμενε στη λέξη πράσινο σα να υπερασπιζόταν

τον κόσμο κι άλλοτε γονάτιζε και ζητούσε συγχώρεση για τους

τόσους αιώνες θλίψης κι οι γυναίκες που κατέβηκαν αργότερα να

πλύνουν λησμονήθηκαν μες στη μεγάλη λάμψη κι όπως χιόνιζε

άνοιξα το Ευαγγέλιο

αλλά χιόνιζε κι εκεί.






He was the only one I had although I couldn’t recognize him —

he would go away and come back “someday you’ll also return”

he said “but no one will be here” then he would talk to me of his

mother’s green dress and he emphasized the word green as if

he defended the whole world; other times he would kneel and ask

for forgiveness for the centuries of grief and the women who later

descended to do the laundry were forgotten in a great shine and

as it snowed I opened the Gospel

but it snowed in it as well.



TASOS LIVADITIS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, 2014



ΣΑΝΤΟΡΙΝΗ  (απόσπασμα)



Σκύψε αν μπορείςστη θάλασσα τη σκοτεινή ξεχνώντας

τον ήχο της φλογέρας πάνω σε πόδια γυμνά

που πάτησαν τον ύπνο σου στην άλλη ζωή τη βυθισμένη


Γράψε αν μπορείς στο τελευταίο όστρακο

τη μέρα τ’ όνομα τον τόπο

και ρίξε το στη θάλασσα για να βουλιάξει


Βρεθήκαμε γυμνοί πάνω στην αλαφρόπετρα

κοιτάζοντας τ’αναδυόμενα νησιά

κοιτάζοντας τα κόκκινα νησιά να βυθίζουν

στον ύπνο τους, στον ύπνο μας.

Εδώ βρεθήκαμε γυμνοί κρατώντας

τη ζυγαριά που βάρενε κατά το μέρος

της αδικίας



SANTORINI (excerpt)



Bend if you can to the dark sea forgetting

the flute’s sound on naked feet

that stepped on your sleep in the other, the sunken life.


Write if you can on your last ostracon

the day the name the place

and throw it in the sea so that is sinks.


We were naked on the pumice stone

watching the rising islands

watching the red islands sink

into their sleep into our sleep.

Here we were naked holding

the scale that tilted to the side

of injustice.




GEORGE SEFERIS-COLLECTED POEMS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, 2012







Το χιόνι σκέπασε το πεζοδρόμιο, ασημένιες ευχές για την πρώιμη άνοιξη κι άνοιξα τα μάτια μέσα στην απουσία σου, θετικό έλαβα το μήνυμα για το αναμενόμενο εγγονάκι


—Βγάλε το σκουπιδοντενεκέ στο δρόμο. Άφησε της ανακύκλωσης για την επόμενη εβδομάδα


Τ’ αποτελέσματα της αιματολογικής βγήκαν θετικά η ασθένεια κοντρολάρεται με τα χάπια και τη γυμναστική. Θα μπορούσαμε να πάμε στο ταξίδι που σχεδιάζαμε τις σκοτεινές μέρες του χειμώνα, προτού σε πάρει ο άκαρδος Χάρος, αγαπημένη μου


—Φέρε μου τον καφέ, δυο κουταλιές ζάχαρη σε παρακαλώ, μα τί σου λέω τώρα; Καλά με γνωρίζεις πια


Τα μάτια της κουκουβάγιας διαπερνούν το σκοτάδι σα να τραγουδούν

“Δώσε μου όραση και δως μου φως: σκοτάδι νικημένο απ’ την αχτίδα”Κι εγώ με το Χάρο διαπληκτίζομαι για το δικαίωμά του να σε πάρει, αγαπημένη μου. Περιπαίζει την αφέλεια μου και λέει σχεδόν τραγουδιστά


—Αν μέχρι τώρα δεν μ’ έχεις καταλάβει, είμαστε κι οι δυο χαμένοι 





Snow has whitened the sidewalk-silver wishes for an early spring and I open my eyes in your absence to the messenger who brings happy news of another grandchild


Take the trash can to the curb leave the recycling bin for next week


Test results came back clean the disease is managed by medication and exercise we could go to the trip we’ve planned during the dark days of winter, my beloved, before the heartless Hades took you away


Bring the coffee, two spoons of sugar please, but why do I say this? You know me so well by now


Eyes of the owl pierce the night as if crying out loud: give me light and give me sight: darkness defeated by a flash


And I debate with Hades his right to take you, my beloved, but He scorns my idiocy and sings


—If you don’t know me by now, we’re both lost







Έφυγαν. Κάθισαν στα βράχια. Κοιτάνε τη θάλασσα.

Μικροί λιποτάχτες, κουρεμένοι, με σγουρά μουστάκια.

Βρέχουν το `να τους πόδι στο νερό με κάποια λύπη

όπως εκείνη από παλιά ρεμπέτικα ξεχασμένα τραγούδια

όταν η μάνα κάτω στην αυλή φώναζε: γέννησε η κότα,

και τ’ άσπρο του αυγού είναι σαστισμένο όπως εγώ μέσα στη μέρα.


~Αθήνα, 31-12-78






They left. They sat on rocks. They looked at the sea:

young deserters, shaved hair, curly mustaches.

With certain sadness they get one of their feet wet in the water,

like the sadness of the old forgotten  rebetika folksongs

when down in the yard mother yelled: the chicken laid an egg

and the white of the egg is confused as I am inside the day.


~Athens, 31-12-78




Γιάννη Ρίτσου-Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη

Yannis Ritsos-Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis





Ένα βράδυ πήρα απ’ το τραπέζι τα δυο μισοτελειωμένα φορέμα-

τα και τ’ ακούμπησα στον καναπέ, η γυναίκα μου ήταν μια φτωχή

μοδίστρα, το πρωί “γιατί” μου λέει, “έκανες αυτήν την ακαταστα-

σία;” “Λάθος” της λέω “ίσα ίσα που συμμάζεψα λίγο το σπίτι”

“αλλά γιατί;” “μα θα ερχόταν κόσμος” της λέω “ποιος κόσμος;”

μου λέει με παράπονο — αφού δεν έρχεται ποτέ κανείς” “φτωχή

μου κοπέλλα είσαι τρελλή;” της λέω “κάθε βράδυ έρχεται πολύς

κόσμος” “εδώ σ’ εμάς;” έκανε και τα μάτια της έλαμψαν.

Από τότε άρχισε να μιλάει μόνη της τα βράδια, ώσπου τη βά-

λαμε στο άσυλο. Εγώ πήγα στης μητέρας μου, δε θυμάμαι πού —

γριά γυναίκα ήταν βλέπεις

κι είχε πεθάνει.






One night I took two unfinished dresses from the table and

put them on the couch my wife was a poor seamstress, in the morning

“why you created that mess?”, “on the contrary” I said to her,

“I tidied up the house”, “but why?” “We expect visitors” I said

“what visitors?”  she said to me with a grumble — “no one ever comes”

“poor girl, you are crazy” I said “every night lots of people come”

“here to visit us?” she said and her eyes gleamed.

Since then she started talking to herself every night until we put

her in the asylum. I went to my mother’s, I don’t remember where —

she was an old woman, you see

and she had died.




TASOS LIVADITIS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, 2014