from: *An Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry*
Edited by Nanos Vaalaoritis and
(Talisman House Publishers
Jersey City, NJ, 2003)
by Adriana Ierodiakonou
"Don't forget the small countries.
It's easy, they fit in places
so secret, so sharp.
In a drop of oil.
Or in the voice of a knife.
black as black after months.
Don't forget the small countries
at the hour when everything changes.
In my plate? Earth!
My bed? A boat!
Because everyone knows and doesn't know.
Don't forget the small countries."
Editors: Nanos Valaoritis and Thanasis Maskaleris
I did not restrain myself.
I let go entirely and went.
I went into the luminous night,
To those pleasures that were half real
And half reeling in my brain.
-- from “I Went” by Constantine Cavafy
Modern Greek Poetry brings together translations of works by some of the most eminent and accomplished writers of our time. The Greek poets have played a powerful role in the creation of modern and postmodern literature. Modern Greek Poetry is a landmark anthology, a major contribution to our understanding of world poetry. No anthology of Greek poetry is as encompassing and commanding.
Greece for the past century has given the world some of its finest poetry. The editors and their translators provide generous selections not only from internationally celebrated poets but also from younger writers who are beginning to play key roles in the literary world today.
There are new translations of works by Cavafy, perhaps the greatest of all the Greek modernists; Surrealist and Nobel Prize winner Odysseus Elytris; and Nobel Prize winner George Seferis as well as works by such celebrated writers as Yannis Ritsos, Angelos Sikelianos, and almost a hundred others.
NANOS VALAORITIS is among the most celebrated of the contemporary Greek poets. Born in Switzerland but of Greek descent, Valaoritis was prominent among Surrealist poets under André Breton before moving to the United States. He was a professor of literature at San Francisco State University.
THANASIS MASKALERIS, the former director of the Center for Modern Greek Studies at San Francisco State University, is a native of Greece and the author of numerous literary and critical works in Greek as well as English.