Yiannis joined the communist party in the 1930’s and being left wing that means he’s going to clash when the right wing dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas (1936) takes hold in Greece. He responded when they started burning his famous poetry by turning to surrealism as did so many of his colleagues.
He was also imprisoned when Greece suffered a second dictatorship performed by Papadopoulos commonly known as the military junta in 1967.
As a result of this his poetry was frequently banned.
He was rather unlucky when it came to the Nobel prize of Literature because of this censorship. He has been nominated 9 times unsuccessfully and finally he won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1975 which I guess is some form of compensation for continually being passed over because of his beliefs.
As I feel this post is rather lacking since I didn’t find any inspiration here is the view of a native Yiannis Ritsos.
This is the thirteenth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.
These are lines from one of George Seferis poems about the Odyssey.
O Brother Where Art Thou is a Coen brothers movie that has taken Homer’s Odyssey and translated it into 1930’s America. Initially the idea that George Clooney escapes from a prison chain gang doesn’t sound too interesting but it’s much better than that. It’s an exploration of what life was like in those times.
He was a distinguished novelist and tried to prove the Unity of Byzantium in his work Byzantine Studies 1857. He has acquired his fathers love of debating the purity of language and which should be used for what purpose. This was all tied up with the Greek war of independence (1821-22) that was occurring at this moment in time.
He also apparently founded the Filiki Eteria (wiki link) the freedom fighting organisation but who knows as to the veracity of this statement because one website says he did and another makes no mention as is quite common I’m finding out.
He is famous enough in Lefkás to have a street named after him in Lefkás town. There isn’t much other evidence about his life as tourist websites give you a bare minimum of biographical data. So we once again come across the usual issue of there not being any information to work on.
This is the twelfth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.
I find it strange that while most people think of him as English, as that is what he became in addition to the fact that he died in England; he was in fact a born and bred American.
He was an author, essayist, critic, playwright and publisher. So he was well versed in the literary arts and as a result of this, influenced the notable Greek poets of the 1920’s. Most notably George Seferis, but as far as I’m aware, he himself (TS Eliot) never went to Greece or met any of the 1930’s generation as they called.
As he was so well connected and liked by the literary establishment, he was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature in 1948.
Here are the details of his personal life TS Eliot
He is part of the foreigners series who are interested in Greece:
He is one of those people that Wikipedia has deemed only important enough to have an article in Greek and not in English. There is also practically nothing online about him. His son Spiridon Zampelios suffers the same fate for some unknown reason.
Yet, dig a little deeper and you find that both father and son were involved in deep linguistical debates about the use of language in prose and life. Which is why he is important enough to have his life discussed here in the above photo talking about the impact his poetry and songs have had on the theatre back in 1818. Its not the kind of thing that the average Wikipedia reader or editor is interested in. Hence the absence of data.
He is famous enough in Lefkás to have not only a street but also a square with a statue of himself named after him in Lefkás town. There is also a sign for his house but I’m yet to find it as directions are hard to come by and it’s non existent on the world’s worst tourist map as it’s so incomplete. It’s free so I can’t complain that much.
This is a picture that is on the stairs going up to the first floor of the building that houses the National Library and Post Byzantine collection of art showcasing how traditional Lefkadian art is different from most other western art because of the Heptanese (7 Ionian islands) style. He is among all of the other famous Lefkadians like Angelos Sikelianos, Lefkáda Hearn, Aristotle Valaoritis who I have already written about at length and lots of others which I will feature but they may have to be mini posts. They is only so many times one can update a post due to new information.
This is the eleventh post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.
It’s a strange thing that I’m writing this post but the thoughts will not stop and refuse all efforts to wait until morning so here goes.
I’m now approaching the awkward teenage phase in my life according to my progress in Greek. It was bad enough doing this the first time around in English and now I have to do it again for Greek?!?!?
It’s excruciatingly painful trying to have meaningful conversation that lasts any longer than γιασυς hi, το κάνε η πος εις how are you, καλά I’m good. Tonight I couldn’t even understand τι νέο what’s new as although I’m used to hearing the person speak English and they are Greek, I’m not used to hearing them speak Greek to me even though they obviously have to for their job and I don’t pay any attention when that happens. “(In fact that’s what another friend says, this one said που πάμε where are you going/have you been?)”
As an aside I sadly can replicate there English voice in my head and have used it to have many conversations with them over the years. I know I’m weird.
I always wondered when I went back to my parents how they had to tune in to how I spoke each time like how could they forget? I wasn’t accounting for my own voice changing which it does frequently. I’ve also been told off for speaking incorrectly but in order to get a new language you have to speak incorrectly as new abilities just don’t turn up out of nowhere.
As a second aside I was never allowed to display any autistic tendencies growing up hence I can do accents better now but there still pretty inauthentic. It’s probably why my diagnosis was so late. I learned to fake it too well.
So now I can have to continue past shop keeper dialogue and basic questions into conversation land. This is a very scary place.
Hopefully this is right what my brain came up with. Ψεματα, πάντα γλυκά λίγο ψεματα “I forget this bit” στόμα σου. Lies, always sweet little lies that come out of your mouth. Σου έχει α γλυκά γλώσσα. You have a honeyed tongue. Actually it’s not but it’s also not nice to be so nasty even though I do get pissed off at the 2 of them; they mean well and there only trying to help.
Other phrases I have thought of later are θέλω ένα παπούτσια γιά μενα τριάντα έξι παρακαλώ after leaving the shoe shop “I want some shoes size thirty six please.” I don’t think that’s entirely correct either.
The ones which got aborted as they got busy were about my latest dinner with friends as I tried twice, once to invite another to that meal and second to say to someone what happened. There too lengthy to put here. At least this is calming and peaceful that someone now knows my latest language struggles.