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Unconventional reading of Yannis Ritsos 100 years after his birth

20 April 2010 / 08:04:18  GRReporter
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Abstract mythologizing is not inherently for Ritsos. For him the myth it is an important tool for organizing the narrative and a technique for dealing with social and historical material. Also, for Ritsos determining is the Greek space, in which drains the thread of duties. This is the space, which stores the historical memory that in its core contains heritage. The houses and homes in it are a mix of ancient palaces and ruins, as if this is the time of antiquity, but viewed from his historical perspective. Thus, “the statues are not in the museum”, they wedge in life and at the same time are reflections of the tribal memory. 

On the occasion of the centennial of his birth in 1909 in Monemvasia, last year was dedicated to the poet, and under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture held were celebrations, poetry readings, his poems "travelled" in the subway, introducing to the lives of Athenians his non-art and vital as bread words. Supported by the National Book Centre of Greece, the Bulgarian edition of “Writings of the Sighted” (Ed. Stigmati, translation Z. Michailova) appeared - an anthology of works by a hitherto unknown in Bulgaria periods of his works: cycle of philosophical poems "Fourth Dimension”, "Twelve Poems of Cavafy", poetry "Statuettes of Tanagra", "Repeats", "Gestures," “The world is one", "Word of flesh" and others. The publication can be found in all well-stocked bookstores in Bulgaria, certainly in the "Bulgarian Knizhitsi" “under the columns of the former Crystal”. You will recognize him by the cover, illustrated by one of Ritsos’ "painted rocks" - image reminiscent of ancient male profile. Following the fibers of the stone, the tree roots and other natural materials, Ritsos creates many such works during his exile in the Aegean islands, donated by his daughter Erie Ritso to the Benaki Museum. 

Along with the "Fourth Dimension" and "Careful Ariostos...." the edition "Writings of the Sighted" is another attempt to introduce the unknown in Bulgaria Ritsos. Philosophical-poetic impressions of "Ariostos..." surprise those who knew the poet from the early period of his work, from the time of his proletarian revolutionary poetry, translated in Bulgaria mainly until the late eighties for obvious reasons. "Ariostos..." is also an unusual book in its genre. It contains miniatures in which memories of experiences are interwoven with the insights of thought and visions of fantasy. With its flexible language, rich associativity and pictorial emotions these short forms act as elegant impressions and in places their metaphorical depth makes them seem like parables. 

Dimitris Arvanitakis, curator of the archives of the poet in the Benaki Museum said for the artist: "Like Maxim Gorky, Yannis Ritsos could show us his "universities": This is the seething breath of history; this is a journey after the cries of a common man and hope generated by his sacrifice; it is the excavation of language layers and that "landmark”, which shines where public coercion meets rigorous god of Poetry. Yannis Ritsos wished to become one with language and substance of the dreams of his time, a poet who did not hesitate to plunge into reality and to raise high in the solar orb humble things of life."

Tags: Yannis Ritsos poetry Greece
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