From Grexit to Troika, the ongoing crisis in Greece has spawned a whole new vocabulary and dominated newspaper headlines for over five years. Now, a powerful and timely anthology offers a poetic reply to the social and economic disaster which still threatens to overturn the whole European project.
Times of protest and political upheaval have always inspired poets and artist; and beyond the headlines, elections and debt agreements a powerful Greek literary movement has been stirring. Futures: Poetry of the Greek Crisis (published 5 Nov 2015) introduces a new generation of writers inspired to highlight the plight of a country in a continual state of emergency.
Many of the poems in Futures explore the gradual, often violent, modification of personal and collective identity in a time of crisis. From a city whose walls bear urgent messages and complex political graffiti come dynamic, angry voices.
“the gouged marble, the graffiti scrawls,
the statue standing like something outraged
remind you, you who yearned to live beyond this,
that hope marked you too.”
from ‘This City’ by Adrianne Kalfopoulou
Futures is divided into four sections named after banking jargon such as ‘Implementation’ and ‘Adjustment’, thus undercutting the language of global finance even at a structural level. And in many poems, Greece’s Classical heritage and reputation as ‘the birthplace of Democracy’ come under scrutiny.
“We’ve lost our marbles – Elgin took a chunk –
Caryatids, gone on strike, sit down instead;
Teargas lingers like a whiff of skunk.”
from ‘Austerity Measures’ by A.E. Stallings
Futures is edited and translated into English by Athenian writer Theodoros Chiotis and features poems from prominent Greek poets, poets of Greek descent, and others personally affected or moved by the struggle to survive and resist. A vital snapshot into the Greek crisis, this is poetry that mourns the fall, damns the greed, and pounds a drum for change.
“I insert my future under the tongue
my future voice represents something
perhaps a given moment
perhaps a language-robbery”
from ‘Incomplete Syntax’ by Dimitra Ioannou
Dimitris Allos, Orfeas Apergis, Vassilis Amanatidis, Marios Chatziprokopiou, Theodoros Chiotis, Emily Critchley, Yiannis Doukas, Nikos Erinakis, Phoebe Giannisi, Constantinos Hadzinikolaou, Κaterina Iliopoulou, Panayotis Ioannidis, D.I. (Dimitra Ioannou), Adrianne Kalfopoulou, Patricia Kolaiti, Dimitra Kotoula, Alexios Mainas, Christodoulos Makris, Sophie Mayer, Stergios Mitas, Eftychia Panayiotou, Konstantinos Papacharalampos, Iordanis Papadopoulos, Stephanos Papadopoulos, Eleni Philippou, Stamatis Polenakis, Nick Potamitis, George Prevedourakis, Theodoros Rakopoulos, Kiriakos Sifiltzoglou, Eleni Sikélianòs, A. E. Stallings, Yiannis Stiggas, Barnaby Tideman, Maria Topali, Tryfon Tolides, Thanasis Triaridis, Thomas Tsalapatis, George Ttoouli, Universal Jenny, Steve Willey.