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150 Reviews concealed, one characterized by gestures, noddings, and expressions. Bearing the signs of Valaoritis's struggle for identity, it is a language marked by occupation, sterility, loss, and endurance. Valaoritis is the poet of an indefinite longitude and latitude. His writing conveys several meanings. Sentences are hypnotic: these "imaginary sentences without words" that fuse one into another , keeping us between sleep and awakening, as, for instance, in the texts "a terrace is a man's only love" and "Borisofski's lair." In "How I Wrote Some of my Books" and "Simoon," writing becomes an asteroid infected by cosmic energy. I would like to suggest that not only this book but Valaoritis's entire oeuvre should be studied. It is time to reexamine the Greek avant garde. We must also study the work of other authors such as N. Kalas, A. Schinas, M. Aravantinou, Y. Makris, N. Stangos, P. Koutroubousis, P. Takopoulos, E. Vakalo, and A. Pagoulatos, to name a few. Such a study would enable us to view contemporary Greek literature from other perspectives, suggesting further theoretical complexities for the conception of a peripheral literature. Panayiotis Bosnakis The Ohio State University Nikos Kavadias, The Collected Poems ofNikos Kavadias. Translated by Gail Hoist Warhaft. Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert. 1987. Pp. 256. $16.80. Cavafy's canon of 154 poems established him as a world-class poet. Kavadias's canon is but one-third of Cavafy's, yet the 53 short poems that comprise his life work, because of their brilliance, variety, and, at the same time, their unmistakable sameness as cumulative projections of a fascinating personality, establish him, too, as a poet who deserves to be appreciated everywhere. Previously, we had just a handful of fine translations by Kimon Friar in his Modern Greek Poetry (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973). Now, Gail Hoist Warhaft's volume, with its bilingual format, its biographical note, introduction, and occasional annotations, makes Kavadias's entire oeuvre available to English-speaking readers. O Είκος Καββαδίας went to sea in his teens in 1929 and continued as a radio officer until his death in 1975. His first collection, Μαϕαμποϕ (1933; Marabou) was a literary sensation; it and the second collection, Ποϕσι (1947; Fog), had sold over 12,000 copies by the year of his death, when Traverso was published posthumously along with a handful of playful poems written for his young nephew Philip. Thus Kavadias's career spans the period when Greek poetry was being revitalized in different ways by Seferis, Elytis, Ritsos, Sikelianos, and also by Cavafy, who did not become a real influence until after his death in 1933. Kavadias is so startlingly vital because he is unlike each of these others. How refreshing to encounter an oeuvre that does not agonize Reviews 151 over the nature of Greekness (Seferis), does not wax euphoric over the Aegean, sing the heroism of Albania, or amalgamate the Byzantine and modern traditions (Elytis), is not energized by political repression (Ritsos), and couldn't care less about a revival of pagan mysticism (Sikelianos). Kavadias does sometimes suggest Cavafy (seasoned with a dash of Karyotakis) since each is a master of irony and each exploits degradation in the interests of beauty, but his voice is entirely his own. In his later poems, too, he suggests the Greek surrealists. Yet Warhaft's observation is acute when she equates him not with any established figure but instead with the anonymous lyricists of rebetika songs, who "expressed many of the same emotions, and with a similar mixture of humour and sadness" (18). Well known for her earlier study of rebetika, Warhaft finds in Kavadias, similarly, the voice of an outsider. . . . Like Baudelaire, . . . Kavadias was an observer of degradation and exoticism, but he was not simply an observer. He lived the life he was describing and sinned with the sinners, and yet . . . [his] falls from grace were "angelic." Surrounded by his fellow-sailors telling crude tales, or by prostitutes hawking their wares, Kavadias dreamed of unattainable women . . . , chastising himself for his weakness and extending his compassion to his fellowsinners . (25) Notwithstanding their variety, Kavadias's poems combine to project a personality who travels compulsively as an escape from despair—" 'Injourneys the greatest grief is hidden', / and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 150-153
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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