- Andreas ConstantinidesAuthor–Cyprus
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Andreas Constantinides has been writing for children since 1982, when his first poetic collection, Mirto's Book-Rodoharama, was published. Today, he is considered as the pre-eminent writer of children's Literature in Cyprus. He has been awarded by the most official and recognized competitions of Children's Literature both in Greece and Cyprus. Up to the present day, Andreas Constantinides has published twenty-seven books and a twenty-eighth is under publication. Of these, ten are prose writings, novels, and narrative-fairytales. The rest are poetic collections or poetic compositions. Additionally, during his first ten years of writing, he published eight poetic collections and only two prose writings, which is why he is considered mostly a poet for children. But we also ought to recognize him as a successful prose writer for children, too.
The content, format, and literary quality of Constantinides' poetry for children all derive from the way he approaches children; his emotional and moral ideological world; his literary virtues and employed techniques; and his attitude towards nature, life, people, and his land. He approaches children in a simple and unfeigned way. Sensitivity, naivety, and tenderness are his basic values. Moreover, he adds a note of goodness in his poetry for children, so much needed in our times. His poetry refers to nature, the world of imagination, and other daily human activities. He transfers feelings of optimism and faith to life, to humans, and to the entire world. The style of his writing is characterized by a deep lyrical tone, careful language, perfect meter and rhythm, and a variety of stanza formats. His work preserves successfully the folklore tradition and connects children with their roots. Importantly, too, the poems enliven the struggle of the Cypriot people for freedom during the period 1955–59.
In an overall evaluation of Andreas Constantinides' poetry for children, we can distinguish among his seventeen poetic collections three different strands: narrative verses, lyrical poems, and patriotic poems. In the first category, there are the most established collections with dozens of independent but thematically related poems. The following works can be found in this category: Mirto's Book-Rodoharama (1982), Drosopigi (1986), The Nightingale's Song (1988), Children's Smiles (2015), and The Months' Song (2012). The second group contains patriotic works inspired by the Cypriot struggle of the past few decades and directed to older children and teenagers, such as the collection Heroic Years, subtitled 33 Rings in an Endless Chain. In this work, the poet forges the endless chain of Cyprus history, which has started in 1955 and has not yet ended. The proud and heroic years remind us to whom we owe the share of freedom we have today. The collection I Honor Your Passion My Island has more complex poetic composition, since it is structured in four acts. The poet mourns for the ill-fated Cyprus, and Constantinides concludes by visualizing a brighter tomorrow. The visualizations as well as the theatricality of the composition make the work look like a public oratorio, a requiem for Cyprus after 1974. [End Page 16]