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Συνέντευξη του πολωνού ποιητή Άνταμ Ζαγκαγιέβσκι στην “Ελευθεροτυπία”

Ανταμ Ζαγκαγιέβσκι «Οι πολιτικοί ας αφήσουν την Ιστορία στους ποιητές»
Ο Ανταμ Ζαγκαγιέβσκι είναι ο κορυφαίος Πολωνός ποιητής των ημερών μας και ένας από τους -πολλούς και ενδιαφέροντες- προσκεκλημένους στο Πρώτο Διεθνές Λογοτεχνικό Φεστιβάλ Τήνου ( 29, 30 και 31 Ιουλίου ). Στη συνέντευξή του στην «Ε», ο Ανταμ Ζαγκαγιέβσκι μιλά για την ποίηση, τη μνήμη, την Ιστορία, την πολιτική και τη διαδικασία της σύνθεσης απόψεων που πάντοτε οδηγεί σε καλύτερα αποτελέσματα από τον τυφλό φανατισμό.
Προ τριμήνου ένα μεγάλο μέρος της πολωνικής ηγεσίας χάθηκε σε αεροπορικό δυστύχημα ενώ προ εικοσαημέρου εξελέγη νέος Πολωνός προέδρος, ο Κομορόφσκι. Πώς είναι τώρα τα πράγματα στην Πολωνία; Είχε προηγηθεί η διακυβέρνηση της χώρας από τους αδελφούς Κατζίνσκι, οι οποίοι ήταν φιλοαμερικανοί και εχθρικοί τόσο προς τη Ρωσία όσο και προς τη Γερμανία και την Ευρώπη. Continue reading

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2009 Dedicated to the Poet Yiannis Ritsos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Yiannis Ritsos -together with Kostis Palamas, Giorgos Seferis, and Odysseus Elytis have marked contemporary Greek poetry- and has been among the country’s most widely translated poets. A prolific writer – many of his poems, like Epitaphios and Romiosyni were set to music by renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis. 
Born on May 1st, 1909 in Monemvasia, Lakonia, to landowners, Yiannis Ritsos was often persecuted for his left-wing politics. That combined with the tribulations of his personal and family life (death of his mother and elder brother, his father’s commitment to a mental institution, his own struggle with tuberculosis since 1926) inspired his poetry and led him to receive many distinctions in Greece and abroad. He was awarded the Lenin Prize for Peace in 1977 and the 1956 State Poetry Award for his work “Moonlight Sonata” and was also nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature in 1968. He died on November 11, 1990.

♦ Marking the Centenary of the Poet’s Birth

In order to bolster research and disseminate the work of Greek authors and bring them closer to the general public, the Ministry of Culture and the National Book Centre of Greece (EKEBI) launched, some years ago, the initiative of commemorating one literary figure every year. This year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Yiannis Ritsos the two institutions have planned a series of commemorative events such as the publication of a special volume dedicated to the life and work of the poet, the creation of a special website with extensive information on the poet, the preparation of a mobile exhibition which will travel around Greece and abroad, as well as the release of 12 commemorative telephone cards in collaboration with Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE). Also, since March 21, EKEBI has released a series of small-size posters on the Athens tram and metro.

Monemvasia to Honour Poet

A much-anticipated exhibition to take place at the medieval fortress of Monemvasia this summer will mark one of the artist’s lesser known talents. “Ritsos the Artist” will be inaugurated by the French ambassador in Greece, Christophe Farnaud, on July 4 at the restored Agios Nikolaos Church, once the elementary school where Ritsos studied. Apart from some personal items, the show will mainly consist of watercolours, ceramics, and reed roots painted by Ritsos. Running through to August 4, the Ritsos exhibit is one of many events put together by the Monemvasia municipality and the show’s artistic director, composer Pigi Likoudi, to mark the centenary of Ritsos’ birth. [Programme of events in Monemvasia (in Greek)

Seferis: The Middle East Years

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Harvard University Program of Modern Greek Studies (George Seferis Chair) is holding a lecture on George Seferis and his memoirs, written during his years in the Middle East. (A Greek Poet and Diplomat in the Middle East: George Seferis). The lecture will be delivered on February 20, by Roderick Beaton, Professor at King’s College, London. Roderick Beaton will speak about the travels of poet and diplomat George Seferis (Nobel Prize for Literature, 1963) in the Middle East during World War II and in the 1950s. See also: European Society for Modern Greek Studies; Modern Greek Studies Association and its sponsored Journal of Modern Greek Studies 

A Farewell to Greece / Αποχαιρετισμός στην Ελλάδα

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   In a letter published in Sunday “Kathimerini,” on December 28, 2008, Simon Gass, until recently British Ambassador to Athens, bids a warm farewell to Greece (pdf in Greek). 
“Write if you can on your last shell
the day the place the name
and fling it into the sea so that it sinks”
“Santorini -The naked child”- Giorgos Seferis 
In a few days, my wife and I are leaving Greece after eight blissful years in your country; first during the 80’s and the second time these past years. Greece has been good to us. […] 
Greece and its people exercise an intense influence on foreigners. British writer Lawrence Durrell wrote: “Other countries can make you discover customs, traditions or landscapes. Greece offers you something harsher: self-discovery.”  In Greece, us northern Europeans, leave behind some of our cold-blooded nature and reservation and become more extroverted, seeking the company of other people. […] 
We don’t think Greece has given us permission to leave the country indefinitely. When we do return, it will not be just for the peoples or the landscape, but because Greece is a country which we admire for many different things. 
“May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbours seen for the first time”
“Ithaca”- Constantine P. Cavafy  
Still, it won’t be Greece[…] 
Thank you, Greece.                 

Greek Literary Translation Prize for 2008

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Hellenic Foundation for Culture (HFC) Literary Translation Prize for 2008 will be awarded to Roderick Beaton, Professor of Contemporary and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King’s College, University of London, for the translation of the book “George Seferis: A Levant Journal.”  The book comprises selections from the notebooks that Seferis – winner of 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature – kept during his diplomatic postings in the Middle East (1941-44 and 1953-56). Edited, by Professor Roderick Beaton, the book records Seferis’ impressions of Beirut, Amman, Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad, Cyprus, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea. The award ceremony will take place in Queen Elizabeth Hall (South Bank Centre) on September 29. The Literary Translation Prize was first launched in 2002 by the HFC and it is awarded every three years for literary translation from the Greek to English. National Book Centre of Greece: Literary translations from Greek to English

Greece: Book Presentations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Denis Guedj :    Professor of History of Science at Paris VIII University Denis Guedj is known as a successful novelist of many books inspired by the ‘art’ of mathematics. His best seller “The Parrot’s Theorem” was translated in 20 languages and paved the way for the ‘mathematical fiction’ trend. His work enticed many others to follow his example in an equally original way. Greek writer Apostolos Doxiadis is one of the novelists who experimented on the narrative possibilities offered by mathematics. The Greek audience has the chance to meet Guedj who is in Athens for two lectures, one delivered yesterday at the Athens Concert Hall on ‘Science and Literature’ and another one at the French Institute of Thessaloniki today.    Continue reading