C G Karyotakis 1896-1928 Greek poet

I’m sure your all getting the feeling now that the area surrounding Lefkás known for its poetry because of the amount of poets I have so far covered. Also, I rather like poetry which is not a thing you would initially think considering I’m quite logical and a scientist.

This poet deserves a post because I was struck by the beauty of his poetry and he lived such a short life.

He also talks about Preveza, the biggest town in the area. Which from everything I’ve ever heard and seen about the place, hasn’t changed at all and will inspire the same melancholic poetry in yourself. (The poet committed suicide shortly after writing that poem).

Kostas Karyotakis suffered the fate of most people born before there time in that his work was only appreciated after he died. He knew his brilliance but couldn’t convince others so this gave him great pain. This is sometimes reflected in his work especially later on.

He was highly intelligent, studied law and became employed in clerical work which he highly disliked. This comes across in his poems but he was able to revolutionise the way poetry was written so there is always a silver lining to everything in life.

He had syphilis which at the time couldn’t be cured which is mainly responsible for his suffering, inability to settle into any position and therefore constant changing of where he was living.

He was sad, suicidal and unfulfilled for the majority of his life so it’s no surprise that he ended his life rather quickly by shooting himself through the heart under a eucalyptus tree.

This is the sixth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

George Seferis

Best wishes

Angela

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

She was born in New York, emigrated to Paris and here she met her future husband Angelos Sikelianos . She then became his wife and moved to Lefkás to live there and learnt weaving of which there are examples of in the museum.

She famously said according to the Angelos Sikelianos museum “I decided that I would never ever wear another thing made by a machine again!” Proceeds to throw a trunk full of couture clothing from Paris out of the train window.

She was also friends with Nikos Kazantzis and George Serefis. Angelos and Eva lived together in a house in the south of Lefkás as well as the one in Lefkás town that houses the museum you see above.

She was responsible along with her husband for the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals but these were to prove the undoing of the couple as the economic cost was too great.

She also helped to revive and prevent the loss of some of the weaving techniques for her clothing. She taught them to Angelos’s second wife Anna Karameni when she was finally able to return to Lefkás just before her death in 1952. Anna lived to be over a 100 dying in 2006.

For some more personal details Eva Palmer Sikelianos.

She is part of my foreigners who helped Greece series:-

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Do you have any notable power couples from the past in your country?

Best wishes

Angela

6th Baron, Lord (George Gordon) Byron 1788-1824 English poet

By T Philips in English National Gallery
By T Philips, English National Gallery

No article on Brits that had an interest in Greek matters would be complete without a reference to Lord Byron. He assisted greatly with the Greek war of independence by financing a lot of it and is buried at Missolonghi, Greece after he became ill while living there.

He was another flamboyant, eccentric English gentleman who travelled widely, wrote romantic poetry and was a bit of a dandy. He also indulged in all manner of sexual pursuits. This was pretty standard behaviour for an aristocrat in the 19th century. He lived fast and died young at only 36. There are many busts and statues across Greece dedicated to him and there are also many streets bearing his name like here in Lefkás.

Now that the introduction is over, time for the real information.

Byron first visited Greece in his Balkan tour for his coming of age tour starting in 1809. He met the most important man in the area at the time, Ali Pascha first in Albania. He had journeyed from Ioannina or Janinina as he writes via Missolonghi, Delphi, Parnassus and Patras finally to Athens. He left in March to visit Smyrna for a month and then continued on to Constantinople. He next sojourn was to Troy. By this time it was May and warm enough for him to swim the Hellespont.

Byron had by this point fallen in love with Greece as he abandoned his well made and intentioned plans to visit Persia and India to return to Athens. He even left his traveling companion who wished to return home to England. Byron was to spend the next year touring the country, staying in a monastery at the foot of the Acropolis or studying Italian and Greek. By November he had arrived in Preveza.

When in the Spring of 1811 he left to visit Malta he was filled with a great sadness and a great many STD’s as he had rather overindulged in all manner of sexual escapades. Within 3 months he had returned to the UK.

Here is the Wikipedia article on his personal life Lord Byron.

He is the fourth part of my series of articles on writers that are connected in some way to Greece.

  1. Lawrence Durrell
  1. Virginia Woolf
  1. Henry Miller

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Henry Miller

He was friends with Lawrence Durrell and an inspiration to him. They had a life long friendship upon meeting and he was also another prolific writer. He wrote novels, poetry and plays of the slightly scandalous variety. At least by 1930’s standards anyway.

His most famous works are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and The Colossus of Maroussi which was written about the couple of years he spent in Greece with Lawrence Durrell in the 1930’s.

I haven’t actually read any of his work nor do I have any copies of it. However for a man who had to publish in France because his work was banned in the USA and England until at least the 1960’s due to the provocative content. With some not even being published until after his death in 1980; this isn’t surprising. His work isn’t in circulation as much due to its risqué content and his first novel has never been published.

For details by someone who is more familiar with his work read Cristian Milai’s article here Henry Miller.

Here are the details of Miller’s personal life.Henry Miller.

He is part of my series of articles on writers that are connected in some way to Greece.

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Virginia Woolf

She was a well known society lady who was well connected and widely read. She also wrote many books. She fought for the right of ladies to study Greek as previously this was a subject that only men were able to study. It was thought not right that women should be so educated as they wouldn’t know there proper place in the world. A very patriarchal attitude that was extraordinarily prevalent in the Victorian era.

Victoria Woolf was flamboyant in the way that only the landed gentry could be in those days. She also indulged in various sexual aspects which may be why she was interested in Sappho. She was said to be a lesbian also but who knows. She did come from the island of Lesbos (sometimes now known as mytliene) though and she apparently died on the island of Lefkáda hence there is a place called Sappho’s leap here.

Here is her Wikipedia article for the background details of her life. Virginia Woolf.

  • This is a new series I have started on writers who have an interest or have written about Greece.

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Henry Miller

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Are there are any similarly notorious characters in your culture that you can think of?

Best wishes

Angela

Sententiae Antiquae

Here is a list of SA posts that I have previously shared and since they generally have good posts I frequently get tempted to share them.

Lyric, love and translation

The first is an ancient Lefkás poet Sappho and the only woman too unless you count the wife of Angelos Sikelianos, Eva. For my series on Lefkadian poets check here :-

Aristotle Valaoritis ,

C F Cavafy,

Angelos Sikelianos,

Lefkadia Hearn.

Formal and informal language

An article on different styles of writing and why you might perhaps want to use one over the other.

The pleasure of reading

Why you should indulge in this hobby.

Best wishes

Angela

Lefkada Hearn – Lefkadian poet

Lefkadia Hearn Lefkádian National Gallery
Lefkadia Hearn Lefkádian National Gallery

(Patrick) Lefkáda Hearn or Paddy Hearn as he is also called is another famous Lefkás poet that also made a life for himself that is well documented in an exhibition dedicated to him in the Cultural Centre. It’s free to enter and it’s open 8am-3pm every day.

He lived in many places during his life including Britain, Cincinnati and New York in the United States, the Caribbean and finally settling in Japan. He loved Japan to the extent he also has a Japanese name Iakumi Koizumi.

These pictures are upstairs in a room dedicated to Takis P Efstathiou at the Cultural centre. It’s a part of the floor dedicated to the yearly folklore festival not in his exhibition downstairs. This next image is why.

Lefkáda Hearn taught English and literature while he was living in Japan and wrote many books about Japanese fairytales. He was quite a prolific author and there are copies of all of his work on display when you visit.

He converted to Buddhism while he was over there and married a Japanese wife Setsuo. The couple had 4 children together, 3 boys and 1 girl. He died relatively early in life at 53 having been complaining of heart and chest trouble.

This is a poem dedicated to him inside the Takis P Efstathiou room mentioned earlier.

This is a statue by his Japanese great granddaughter to commemorate his life.

He is another poet that has a statue in the waterfront garden in Lefkás town known as Poets square.

He has a picture of himself in the Lefkádian National Library Here are directions to the Lefkás town museums including the Lefkadia Hearn exhibition.Lefkadia Hearn Lefkás National Gallery

Lefkadia Hearn Lefkás National Gallery

Finally he has a street named after him in Lefkás town completing the trinity of statue, museum and road.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter which is woefully inadequate once you have absorbed all of the material on offer at the Cultural centre which is what I have now done. Lefkadia Hearn.

This is the third of my posts on famous Greek but mainly Lefkádian poets as I have also covered :-

Aristotle Valaoritis,

C F Cavafy,

Angelos Sikelianos,

The bonus post is one on Sappho by Sententiae Ancientae.

Other series include Greek Authors, Painters, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes

Angela

Angelos Sikelianos – Lefkadian poet

I recently went to Lefkás town and while I was there I went to one of its book shops. Inside was a copy of Angelos Sikelianos poems. It’s bilingual so that will be a very useful learning exercise.

Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Gallery
Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Gallery

There is also an Angelos Sikelianos museum dedicated to him.

The museum is signposted on the main street and it’s on tourist maps along with Google maps but considering how close it is; I was completely unaware of its location for many years because the sign on the front is flat to the wall so you can’t see it unless your looking at it. In addition to this, the side that has his signatures on it is in the opposite direction but they might have a new sign outside advertising its location if your lucky but you gotta look up. This covert style of advertising is like how you discover most of the treasures in Lefkás. You have to know they are there to find them. If your just idly looking for something to do then your probably not going to find it as they wish to keep everything for themselves and you can’t blame them as Lefkás is a relatively undiscovered jewel.

To show the Angelos Sikelianos effect here, he has his picture in the Lefkádian National Library, Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Library

Angelos Sikelianos Lefkádian National Library

there is a street in both Lefkás Town and Nidri, which is a nearby village, named after him. In addition there is a square on the entrance to the island called Poets square where there is also a statue of him. Plus he has his own square next door.

With his first wife Eva Palmer-Sikelianos together they organised the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals in Lefkás in 1927 and 1930. It was so costly despite her American background and connections that they couldn’t afford to do it again. She went back to New York where she was from for a long time to promote awareness and gather funds. She stayed until his death as the US authorities prevented her from leaving. They also didn’t allow the awarding of the Nobel prize in literature to himself on several occasions in the 1950’s.

He was great friends with Nikos Kazantzakis and there are quotes attributed to him inside the museum. The three of them shared a house on the south of the island together. Another compatriot was George Seferis who is also quoted.

For the view of a Greek who isn’t Lefkádian look here Angelos Sikelianos.

This is the third of my posts on famous Greek but mainly Lefkádian poets.

Aristotle Valaoritis,

C F Cavafy

Lefkadia Hearn

The bonus post is by Sententiae Ancientae on Sappho.

Other series include Greek Authors, Painters, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Does your country have any similarly respected poets?

Best wishes

Angela

C F Cavafy Greek poet (1863-1933)

Each of these poems that I’m sharing with you today is quite evocative in there language. From the brevity of life, the restlessness of youth, the pretense that some of us think we need to fit in and finally the pain of dating. These are struggles we have all been through at some point. Human nature doesn’t change despite our attitudes being modified, our lives changing beyond all recognition due to technology and the world around us morphing due to the effects of our industry.

Here is a Greek view on the subject C F Cavafy and here is the Wikipedia article on this gentleman C P Cavafy. It’s good to compare and contrast different viewpoints. It helps to create a more balanced view.

  • This is the second post on my series of famous Greek but mainly Lefkádian poets and authors. Aristotle Valaoritis ,
  • Angelos Sikelianos
  • Lefkadia Hearn
  • George Seferis
  • C G Karyotakis
  • Ioannis (Nanos) Valaoritis
  • Odysseus Elytis
  • Andreas Emberikos
  • Here is a bonus post by Sententiae Ancientae on Sappho.
  • Other series include Greek Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

    Do you have a favourite poet and would you like to share with me?

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Aristotle Valaoritis 1824-1879 Lefkadian Poet

    https://greatestgreeks.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/aristotelis-valaoritis/

    This Reblog goes into great detail about the life of the man Aristotle Valaoritis Lefkadian National Library

    Aristotle Valaoritis Lefkadian National Library
    Aristotle Valaoritis National Library
    Aristotle Valaoritis National Library

    who wrote the Greek national anthem. He also wrote many poems. If you want to see where he born Aristotle Valaoritis birth plaque

    Aristotle Valaoritis birth plaque

    there is this plaque on the wall in Lefkás town commemorating the spot. He later lived on the island of Madouri Madouri by Wilhelm Dörpfeld

    Madouri by Wilhelm Dörpfeld

    near Lefkás you will find a shrine dedicated to him. Aristotle Valaoritis Shrine by Wilhelm Dörpfeld

    Aristotle Valaoritis shrine by Wilhelm Dörpfeld
    Aristotle Valaoritis shrine

    His family still live in the area and are going to stay there forever. Even Aristotle Onassis with all his money and charm couldn’t persuade them to sell their land. This is what Wikipedia has to say about the matter. Aristotle Valaoritis

    He also has a statue dedicated to himself with a lengthy description in Lefkás town. Aristotle Valaoritis statue

    Aristotle Valaoritis statue
    Aristotle Valaoritis tomb, Lefkás Town
    Aristotle Valaoritis tomb, Lefkás Town
    Angelos Sikelianos poem on Aristotle Valaoritis tomb
    Angelos Sikelianos poem on Aristotle Valaoritis tomb

    This is the first of my series of posts on famous Greek but mainly Lefkádian poets. With a bonus post on Sappho from Sententiae Ancientae.

    C F Cavafy,

    Angelos Sikelianos,

    Lefkadia Hearn,

    George Seferis

    C G Karyotakis

    Ioannis (Nanos) Valaoritis

    Odysseus Elytis

    Andreas Emberikos

    Kostis Palamas

    Ioannis Zampelios

    Spiridon Zampelios

    Other series include Greek authors, Painters, Rural villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. These can all be found here Series links.

    Do you have any favourite poets? Drop me a line so we can discuss in the comments.

    Hope your enjoying yourself,

    Angela