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Poems 1975-1996

Poems 1975-1996


In the imagination and in writing: The Beak: War invalids: Death levels it: Seabottom piano: Mister Fong: Cancelled miracle

Giannis Varveris

Kedros Publishers, 2013
416 p.
ISBN 978-960-04-1778-4, [In Print]
Price € 20,38

“A young poet tries to conceal his over-sensitivity in a verse at times prosaic, at times ironic, but bitter and obscure, with poetic eloquence and abstraction." So wrote Kostas E. Tsiropoulos in the reputable literary magazine, Efthini, in 1979. Twenty years later, Yannis Varveris has discarded little of the formal characteristics of his poetry, though he has definitely deepened its content. The lyricism has withdrawn, the grotesque and the demonic have established themselves on the scene. In this poetic course, delineated by his first collection, In Imagination and Word (1975) and his last published collection to date, Invalid Miracle (1996), Varveris, who is also distinguished as a translator of Attic and New Comedy and as a theatre critic and journalist (he was awarded the State Prize for Best Essay in 1996) - has liberated himself from everything that burdened him in his early poetry and has brought his poetry down to earth with pieces of genuine inspiration that render the human condition with all its transitions in a most enviable way. What dominates Varveris' poetry is a strange sensuality, that of the dead flesh that one sees in butchers' shops. His poems leave the taste of earth on the lips. Ever present, death haunts the life of the living and it is as if with its every appearance it reminds them of the impending annulment of their lives. In this peculiar chemistry, a decisive figure is that of the father and the careful observer of his work will see that a great part of it is based on this figure. And this lively - though futile - endeavour to resurrect his body already annulled by death is truly rending: "Slyly, I spread the sheets. / Slyly I lead the other body / to your side. I close by you. / With the lights dimmed / the other smooth shadow / Won't see your shadow; / take what you can / come / take, Father." (From the poem "Gift in Life").

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