Our poetry column is now in its third year, featuring one poem by a contemporary Greek poet translated into English per month. Poet, translator and editor Panayotis Ioannidis is still in charge of this monthly selection, and also translates many of these poems for the first time.
Below you will find Panayotis's editorial note, as well as all poems published in 2021 (updated monthly). For poems from the previous two years, the links are as follows:
und. Poetry 2019
und. Poetry 2020
Poetry editor's note:
Poetry-writing in Greek has continued ceaselessly from around 800 BCE until today: from Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad to the — in part mislabelled — "poets of the crisis". As und.’s mission is to highlight contemporary visual art in Greece, its poetry section similarly aims to showcase "younger" poets of Greek origin and/or writing in Greek — since (to risk a long tongue-twister) there are Greek poets writing in languages other than Greek; poets writing in Greek but living outside of Greece; as well as, naturally, poets — whether Greek or not — living in Greece and writing in Greek.
All poets to be featured here, first appeared in print from the 1990s onwards. Since the 1960s, literature historians and critics have tended to assign a poetic “generation” to each decade: thus, there are poets of the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s. But in the 1990s, Greek poetry seems to have dropped off the radar: its centuries-old, traditionally unquestioned supremacy yielded for the first time to that of prose — and more specifically to the long and, more often than not, mainstream novel. Critics and readers focused back on poetry with the advent of the "crisis" in 2008. And it is this same "crisis" that seems to have re-kindled international interest in contemporary Greek poetry, with anthologies appearing in several languages. To stay with English, we can mention Theodore Chiotis’s Futures - Poetry of the Greek Crisis (Penned in the Margins, London, 2015) and Karen Van Dyck’s Austerity Measures - The New Greek Poetry (Penguin, London, 2016; New York Review Books, New York, 2017).
Poems, of course — and poems very much worth reading — had not suddenly stopped being written from the early 1990s to the late 2000s; far from it. und. Poetry’s intention, therefore, is to present the great and colourful diversity of current Greek poetry written by poets whose ages now range from their 20s to their early 50s. Whether lyrical, narrative, sarcastic or political — and usually abounding in vivid, original, imagery — its wide range, as we hope will be demonstrated, is bound to include something that will appeal to — and, hopefully, fruitfully intrigue — every lover of the visual arts, whose contemporary tendencies and aspirations are actually not that remote from those of poetry.
und. Poetry 2021 entries by month:
January — Nina Rizou
February — Akis Parafelas