Christos Siorikis NO SOCKS
I hear it's windy
today in Madrid
and so I blow on you
on the forehead
I blow on you sideways too
on the cheek
and the hands
between the fingertips
I then take your top sheet away
the wind brings in those lands
You lean back your head
against the dust
– translated by Panayotis Ioannidis
Christos Siorikis (born in 1989 in Agrinio), apart from a few but distinguished forays into short prose, has principally cultivated the compact lyric poem — whose long and illustrious tradition in modern and contemporary Greek poetry has been mentioned before in these pages, in January 2020. Nevertheless, Siorikis usually manages to pack into it more than is usual in this genre: a narrative, condensed or alluded to; references to other poets (for example, Federico Garcia Lorca or Emily Dickinson), historical incidents and news items; family stories and events. Indeed, that such a variety of subjects (including, in addition to those just mentioned: the inner life, nature, travel) is bound together and appears unified thanks to a precociously assured diction, is one of C.S.' poetry's distinctive — and laudable — traits. Others include his refined attention to telling detail; and a reticence or discretion that, paradoxically perhaps, allow him to cut deep into his poems' matter.
His first book (to which “No socks” belongs), aptly titled The first time and published in 2018 by Antipodes, was shortlisted for the “Anagnostis” Prize — and translations of his poems have been included in German and Hebrew anthologies. He himself translates from the Spanish: notably, Julio Cortazar and (together with Mary Yossi) Maria Zambrano. In 2016, he edited an issue of the longest-running and highly respected Greek literary journal, “Nea Hestia”, devoted to the unjustly neglected author Zacharias Papantoniou (1877-1940). C.S. is also a member of the group “Omada Asty”, which organises free public walks in Athens, aimed at presenting the city through literature.
More by C.S. in English online:
Pictured: An artwork by Lee Maelzer, participating with Cable Depot in Platforms Project NET, the eighth edition of Athens's independent art fair.