- Greece -
George Koutouvelas was born and raised in Athens (1986). He introduced his poetry early on at the age of nineteen. Until now he has published six poetic works: “dreamwalkers” (2005), “acts” (2006), “vagrancy in writersland” (2009), “shadow with bones” (2011), “recipes for raw realism” (2014), “fragment of western civilization” (2019) and one theatrical play: “fire” (2007). For seventeen years now he publishes at regular intervals poems, articles and essays in literary magazines. He has taken part in the most distinguished poetry festivals in Greece. His poems have been included in many anthologies and studies in Greece and abroad.
Regarding his education he studied in the fields of theology (BS University of Athens), pedagogics (M.Ed. University of Athens) and psychology (MSc University of Strathclyde). His research in all fields (including his Ph.D.) focuses on the various applications of poetry in education and psychotherapy. Currently he is professor and a researcher in the field of comparative literature. Particularly he studies the concept of literary generations and the impact of religion in modern poetry.
Abstracts from studies and reviews about his poetry:
[…] There are verses that can demolish the perceptions most well-grounded in a mind, others still have the courage to build with, offered to humanity from the unknown that we all spring from, new emotions of whole ideological states except the ink-written laws, and some weaken the mighty “deities” of each era simply by satirizing them. There are very rare cases where we come across poetic texts in which all the above are brought together […] I would say that Mr. George Koutouvelas has a peculiar, refreshing and at the same time pernicious “erotic” relationship with his art. It reminds me of the old “craftsmen” of speech […], (Alexandros Damoulianos)
[…] poetry of social sensitivity and political action. With vivid examples of a realistic, once rebellious writing […], (Kostas Kremmydas)
[…] His Poetry is narrative, lyrical, thoughtful, His speech, is sculpted, colorful, allegorical, with original shapes and a subtle sarcasm that emphasizes the meanings. He is concerned about relationships, everyday life, and social “thorns”. His pen is sharp and bold, denounces the wrongs of the society […], (Aggeliki Karapanou)
[…] The aesthetic choice of embellishment of each one is judged by everyone, and somewhere there begins, among other things, the discussion about the qualitative meaning of life, an answer that everyone claims, stubbornly usually, different. But realism in the end, raw and relentless, manages to return us to our place […] The harsh, sharp and accusatory speech of the young and prolific poet George Koutouvelas comes not dishearten us, of course, but perhaps (and without a mood of didacticism) to shake us up and suggest his own prospects, (Antonis Psaltis)
[...] His Poetry is direct, stormy and aggressive; he is in harmony with the absurdity and cruelty of our time […], (Eleni Polymatidou)
Collateral damage / Παράπλευρες απώλειες
He lifted his foot and found a tiny
His legs were cracked; the body had
crumbled in a formless mass while it had
also been beheaded.
With his leg he threw some dirt over it.
As a minimal atonement
for the collateral damage
of an, otherwise, innocent walk.
Comic book hero / Ο ήρωας του κόμικ
Suddenly the city got a purple background;
lines compose buildings, telephone booths,
Human existence is implied
inside enlightened apartments.
All trapped in the black frames
of a graphic novel.
Drug dealers, cops and all sorts of
subhuman – just figments
of a morbid fantasy.
That’s why they don’t scare him.
But he trembles even in the idea
of this eraser, lurking
away from his field of vision;
for some smudges
Letter / Γράμμα
that gentleman with his inflated pockets
in the butchery shops, someday will
manage to fill with meat your insufficient nourished
But you, sitting at the bottom of the bottle,
once in a while you’ ll turn your look high,
over the neck.
Nostalgically to stare
love – the cork that wedges you.
Black immigrant for a day / Για μια μέρα μαύρος μετανάστης
I dressed my gaze in black
for one day. Deep inside the forehead
i buried a nail and then tied it
to my right shoe with a shoelace,
like a shadow
going through their light,
In one day i learned that when
breath smells like fog from hunger
knees weigh down my desire to live
and I become a cactus. In me yet
water doesn’t freeze, but my blood is boiling;
blood that can burn all of you like straw.
Those of you who have two fingernails
instead of eyes high in the face.
Those of you who find redemption from fear
only when your sharpened
delirium finds me
as a target.
The day after changed everything.
The look in the stares changed.
The mark on the forehead
is the only reminder of my other
At the next door / Στη διπλανή πόρτα
A woman entered the house.
She took off the sky that she wore as a hat for years.
She raised her gaze and saw
for the first time a ceiling freshly painted;
painted like the face of a dead man
while they were preparing for his funeral.
She stood above the sink,
in her palm she squeezed a knife.
And she began to clean the scales
and the gills from her body;
to feed and to satisfy the family.
SOCKS / Κάλτσες
Colorful and black and white socks,
superannuated socks with holes,
teenage socks with their tag,
immigrant socks from Bangladesh with a residence permit,
socks that have lost their significant other,
lost, homeless pairs that lay on the dirt,
while others make a career as sock-puppets.
Torn-up stockings on the brothel floor,
children’s socks with light blue stars,
baggy socks on robbers’ heads,
wet ones, dry ones,
socks tucked into people’s throats to stop them from talking…
Enough with politics; let’s choose a lighter topic,
like socks, for example.
THE CHILD SPEAKS / Το παιδί μιλάει
Mother is absent since the morning. She took her misery
to the seamstress, to add some lining so as not to be visible.
Father is routing in the cracks of the furniture for coins.
He yearns to hear his wealth resonating throughout the church as he
inserts them into the donation box.
It’s dark already and I can hear them swearing at each other.
I hid in the closet as usual
—not because I’m scared—
but in order to find myself
a darkness in my size.
THREE WORDS / Τρεις λέξεις
The word Freedom
He noted it on a piece of paper, he crumpled the piece of paper
in the inner pocket. He passed a hanger in the coat,
from one end of the shoulder to the other,
and wrapped it in a plastic bag.
The word Justice
Was painted all over his old, student shoes.
He washed them at ninety degrees and then got rid of them
In a cardboard box.
The word Solidarity
Had been knitted by his grandmother in a woolen scarf.
He has now developed an allergy to both.
This is how wardrobes end up filled with unwanted
AGE FOR CRUCUFIXION / Σε ηλικία σταύρωσης
At the age of twelve
we would move uncomplainingly
within the frame.
we would assume that we were out of the prison;
but, unfortunately, adulthood was just its yard.
Now, at thirty-three,
I comprehend the symbolism of religion
into which they baptize me;
those who didn’t have time to obey
have reach the age for crucifixion.
EXTRACT OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION / Απόσπασμα δυτικού πολιτισμού
In a fair world, for every church of St. George, there would be built a marble tomb as well, in the memory of the dragon. Anyone who emerged in this world through the darkness gets me. After that, we choose what we can compromise on, what we can’t, and then we dress accordingly. There is no solace, only anticipation; coffee, newspapers, cigarettes, and orgasms.
In the crowded squares, one can encounter a ridiculous takeoff of Rage carrying around its sad flesh from table to table—every gaggle keeps an empty chair lest it appear. This is the way our actions ended up being more useless than their theoretical backround. On the other hand, the most loathsome of the loathsome ones among us don’t speak. They only pose smiling, sometimes even with one of their feet on the carcass of a wild animal, which even them when they were kids were dreaming of touching its pulses.
There are not many things we know how to do, replacing a damage wheel, for example, or frying potatoes. But that we do know—and we know it well— is to tell the time.
Soon, time will be a quarter ‘till Boredom. Unless the watch is connected to an explosive device.