Festival of Hope 1 / 30 April 2020

Contemporary Greek Poems: Homemade Hopes and Myths

In times of isolation and quarantine, freedom of the mind is essential for keeping us able to dream, hope and love. Poetry is one of the most profound ways people can express themselves and imagine. Here, you can watch 16 contemporary Greek poets read from home.

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Christos Armando Gezos was born in 1988 in Himara, southern Albania, and grew up in Greece. He studied at the National Technical University of Athens. He has published one poetry collection (“Unrealized Fears”: State Award for First Time Author in 2013), a novel (“The mud”: nominated for the Athens Prize for Literature 2014), a short story collection (“Seesaw”: the story “Hearts for Dinner” was adapted into a short film) and a children’s picture book (“The tree that had a ball as a head”). He has taken part in many anthologies and has represented Greece in international book fairs. He participated in the first “Ulysses Shelter” project in 2018-2019 in Mljet (Croatia), Ljubljana(Slovenia) and Larisa(Greece).

The Greek poet Alexios Mainas grew up in Athens and studied philosophy and literature in Bonn (his mother is from Cologne). He is a translator and editor (indicatively, Cavafy – Verlag Romiosini 2009, Verlag an der Friedensgasse 2015). Recently he translated and did the dramaturgic editing of Woyzeck. Since 1994 he publishes poems, short stories and essays. He has worked as chief editor in two literary journals. He has been invited and has read poems in more than two hundred events in Greece, Germany and Austria. The film April Fools’ Day (Πρωταπριλιά) was based on a poem of his. His poems have been translated into German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish, and have been included in anthologies, both in Greece and abroad. His poetry collection The content of the rest (Το περιεχόμενο του υπόλοιπου, Gavrielides editions, Athens, 2011) won a price at the Poetry Symposium of the University of Patras. His most recent collection is: Occam’s Razor (Το ξυράφι του Όκαμ, Mikri Arktos editions, Athens, 2014).

Anna Griva was born in Athens in 1985 and studied Greek in Athens and History of literature in Rome. She has published four books of poetry (her last book with the title "Dark Tied Thread", Gavriilidis, 2017). Her poetry appeared in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Turkish.

Charilaos Nikolaidis was born in Athens in December 1986. He has published two poetry collections, ‘Fox on the highway’ (Melani, 2015) and ‘Other flavors’ (Melani, 2018). He has also translated in Greek the poetry collection ‘A few figs from thistles’, by Edna St. Vincent Millay (Thraca, 2017). He is a lawyer and lecturer in public law and human rights at the school of law of the University of Essex.

Eirini Margariti was born in 1979. She studied theatre and is working as an actress and director. In 2014 her first poetry collection was published by Melani editions under the title Flamingo, and won the Giannis Varveris award for Debuting Author by the Hellenic Authors’ Society. The collection was nominated for other prestigious literary awards. She has also published a short stories collection entitled Selected Items (Melani editions, Athens, 2017). A co-editor for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Bilingual Anthology I woke up in a country, released in October 2019. Her own poems have been translated into English, Spanish Bulgarian and Serbian and have featured in a number of anthologies. Her second poetry collection flou, has been published by Saixpirikon editions (Thessaloniki, 2019).

Fanis Papageorgiou was born in 1986 in Athens Greece. He studied economics in bachelor and master’s degree and holds a PhD from National Technical University of Athens in the field f political economy. He has authored three books of poetry in Greek “Plintirio Astron” (Laundry of Stars), “ H Thalasa me ta 150 Epipeda” (The sea with the 150 levels) and “Dioriga metaxi nefon” (Canal between clouds). His first book was selected in the short list of the Hellenic Authors’ Association for the prize of the first-featured poet. Several poems of him have been translated in English and Spanish. Currently, he is working as an associate professor in the University of Patras.

Katerina Iliopoulou, is a poet, artist and translator, who lives and works in Athens. She is the author of four poetry books: Mister T. (2007; first prize for a new author by the literary journal “Diavazo”), Asylum (2008), Book of the Soil (2011), and Every place only once, and completely (2015); a book of poetry and photography, Gestus, together with visual artist Yiannis Isidorou (2014); a book of short stories, It isn’t yet (2019); she is also one of seven authors of A Conversation on Poetry Now (2018), a collective book of essays on poetics. Her translations in book form include Sylvia Plath’s Ariel and an extensive selection of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, while she has also published translations of Mina Loy, Robert Hass and Ted Hughes, among others. Her own poetry has been translated and published in literary reviews, journals and anthologies in several languages, and she has participated in numerous international poetry festivals (including the “Poetry Parnassus” held in London in its ‘olympic’ year 2012). Mister T. and The Book of the Soil have been published in French, while the former has also been translated in Turkish and Italian. Since 2013 she is the editor in chief of “FRMK”, a biannual journal on poetry, poetics and the visual arts, and co-editor of the bilingual web platform greekpoetrynow.com.

Lena Kallergi has published two books of poetry: Κήποι στην άμμο/Gardens on sand (Gavrielides, 2010 – ‘Maria Polydouri’ Award for New Poets) and Περισσεύει ένα πλοίο / One ship to spare (Gavrielides, 2016 - Poets’ Circle Award, shortlisted for National Poetry Award), as well as two volumes of poetry in collaboration with ‘Ομάδα Από Ποίηση’/ ‘Poetry Team’ (Gavrielides, 2010, 2012). She has translated poetry by Giacomo Leopardi (Η νύχτα απομένει/Night Remains, Gavrielides, 2013), Luis Cernuda, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Robert Duncan, and others. She lives and works in Athens, Greece.

Maria Koulouri was born in 1975. She lives in Athens, Greece. She works as a speech therapist, psychotherapist, and as an animator at a theatre group of autistic and intellectually challenged adults. She works therapeutically through creative writing sessions with adults and children. She taught poetry at the Hellenic Open University, Department of the Master of Creative Writing. Melani Publications has published her three poetry books: Bare Museum, 2013 (The First Appearing Poet - Hellenic Writers Company Award) Clocks and other beats, 2015 (Τhe Athens Academy of Letters and Fine Arts-Lyric Poetry Award) Ordinary beds, 2017 Her fourth book with title Urban Deer shall be published within the following months.

Evantinos - Where they don' t want my opinion. Every year, around 21 st of March, to celebrate the World Poetry Day, Thraka publishing house and Mayoralty of Culture and Science of Larissa organize the international Thessalian Poetry Festival. Poets participate in poetry nights, poetry performances, conversations, workshops and social events. The Festival ends with a concert by selected Greek musicians and, from this year on, with an award ceremony, where a honoree gets awarded for his/her contribution to poetry and a debut poet gets awarded for his/her unpublished poetry manuscript.

Pavlina Marvin was born in Athens in 1987, but grew up in Hermoupolis of Syros. She studied Ηistory at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She is writing her PhD thesis on Greek national book policy. She was a co-publisher and co-editor of Teflon poetry magazine (2008-2011). Her first book, "Stories from all around my world", was published by Kichli Publishing (2017) and was awarded with the prize "Yannis Varveris", by the Hellenic Authors Association. As a writer and performer, she has been invited to participate in a range of interdisciplinary arts projects and festivals, in Greece and abroad. Part of her work has been translated in english, french, german, italian, spanish, Bengali, lithuanian and serbocroatian. Translation of the poem under link.

Pétros Golítsis (b. 1978 in Thessaloniki) is a poet, an essayist and a literary critic. Author of four volumes of verse, Paper’s memory (2009), The abrading of time (2013), The flesh of the temporary (2015) and Bursting with meat (2017), of seven volumes of essays on modern and contemporary poetry, and of two bilingual editions, The flesh of the temporary and other poems/Привремена кожа-Солун после Одисеја, (Greek, Serbo-Croatian) translated by M. Puslojić, YKC, Βelgrade, 2019, and The flesh of the temporary and other poems, translated by Y. Goumas, Romi publications, 2019.Translations of poems available under link.

Thanos Gogos was born in Larissa in 1985. He is the founder of publishing house and literary magazine Thraka, one of the partners of the international project Ulysses Shelter and the co-founder and director of the Thessalian Poetry Festival (Πανθεσσαλικό Φεστιβάλ Ποίησης ). He has published two poetry collections: Frontier Playground (Farfulas, 2013), Glasgow (Thraka, 2014), and potry collection Dakar is to be published in 2020 by Melani. His poems have been published in various electronic and physical literary magazines and have been translated to Croatian, English, Russian and Slovenian. Translation of poem available under link.

Thomas Tsalapatis was born in Athens in 1984. He studied theater at the University of Athens. His first collection “Daybreak is Slaughter, Mr. Krak” received the National Prize for best emerging author (2012) and has been translated in Italian by Viviana Maglio Sebastio and published by Editore XY.IT (2018). His second collection “Alba” was published in 2015 and has been translated in French by Nicole Chaperon in 2017 and published by Desmos editions. In 2016 he wrote Encore, a play which was staged in Attis Theater in Athens, directed by Theodoros Terzopoulos. The text and the poems of the performance were published in 2017 by Mov Skiouros editions under the name “Pnigmos”. In 2018 his third poetry collection “Geographies of the Fritzs and the Langs” was published. Translations of poems available under link.

Vasileia Oikonomou was born in 1983 in Piraeus. She studied History at the University of Ioannina. Her first book of poetry “Το υπόλοιπο της αφαίρεσης” (“Balance of Abstraction”, Govostis) was published in 2015 and was nominated for two literary awards. Her second book “Εφήμερα ζώα” (“Ephemeral Animals”, Thraca) was published in 2018 and several of her poems appeared in literary magazines and have been translated in English ,German, Slovenian, Macedonian and Croatian. She participated at the 2nd Young Writers Festival at the 12th International Book Fair (Thessaloniki, May 2015) , at the 35th University of Patras Poetry Symposium (Patras, July 2016) and also in “Ulysses Shelter” program, an international network of literary residencies for writers and poets ( Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, 2019). She is also the co-editor of Thraca literary magazine along with Thanos Gogos. Translation of poem available under link.

Danae Sioziou was born in 1987 and raised in Germany and Greece. She is a bilingual poet, cultural manager and educator. She studied English Literature, Cultural Management and European History in Athens, Berlin and London. She was co-editor of the literary journal Teflon. The poetry collection Useful Children Games was her first and was published by Antipodes Editions. She was awarded the National Prize for Young Writers and the Hellenic Writer’s Association Jiannis Varveris’ Prize for Young Writers.


Thessalian Poetry Festival

Panthessalian Poetry Festival started its course in 2013, when it was organized for the first time in Larissa, in the context of the celebration of the World Poetry Day. Its founders are the poets Thanos Gogos , Sotiris Pastakas and Antonis Psaltis ,with the valuable help of the author and publisher Stathis Intze. A few days after the success of the first Festival, the literary magazine "Thrace" was created, which made its first post on the internet. For 7 years Thrace has been consistently organizing the Festival, while for the last three years the Deputy Mayor of Culture and Science of the Municipality of Larissa has been collaborating in its holding, with the support of the Region of Thessaly and the French Institute. The goal from the first moment was to gather new talented poetic voices in collaboration with already recognized poets; a meeting that would prove to be creative, combining enthusiasm, dynamism and experience, and would bring a renewed interest in culture and poetry in Larissa. The immediate response of the poets from its first event, its spread and the embrace from the city of Larissa seal this eight-year course, with the main feature of the unprecedented attendance of the world, which becomes even more important if we consider that it concerns a non-mass species art, such as poetry. In this course the Festival expands every year both in terms of its duration (from one day it was at the beginning it became two days, then four days and this year it covers a week) and in terms of content, which is enriched every year with poetry evenings, performances , arts interaction and social activities always in connection with poetry and culture. Also important is the opening that took place very quickly and beyond the local level, since every year tributes are made to an honored city or region, from which poets are invited to the Festival.