Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry

ISBN 13: 9780241250624

Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry

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9780241250624: Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry
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"When there is less to go around, people fight, grab, get tough. Lately, Greece and the Balkans have been living with more than their share of less . . . Poetry, though, is one thing there is more of. Much more." —from the Introduction

Since the crisis hit in 2008, Greece has played host to a cultural renaissance unlike anything seen in Southern Europe for over 30 years. Poems of startling depth and originality are being written by native Greeks, émigrés and migrants alike. They grapple with the personal and the political; with the small revelations of gardening and the viciousness of streetfights; with bodies, love, myth, migration and economic crisis. The very best of the writing to emerge from that creative ferment—much of it never before translated into English—is gathered for the first time, divided into six sections which make the landscape of different venues and "school" immediately comprehensible. The result is a map to the complex territory of a still-evolving scene, and a unique window onto the lived experience of Greek society now.

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About the Author:

Karen Van Dyck's edited and co-edited translation collections include A Century of Greek Poetry, Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke's Selected Poems, and The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present.

Review:

Austerity is a self-defeating economic policy which has taken an ugly toll in Greece. The silver lining is that, along with the mass unemployment and the rise of Nazism that it engendered, austerity also occasioned a cultural renaissance. This volume of multilingual poetry is a splendid example: living proof that the Greek crisis is of global significance. It deserves aninternational audience. Now! -- Yanis Varoufakis "Wherever I go, Greece wounds me," said George Seferis, the Nobel prize-winning poet born in 1900. There have been wonderful generations of Greek poets since his day. Ancient Greek poems, the Classics, are the basis of Western poetry. For Anglophone readers, they need re-voicing in every generation: brilliant English versions of Homer, from James Joyce to Derek Walcott and Alice Oswald, help us re-hear them. Today's Greek poets, however, have a special relationship, of a peculiarly charged and conflicted intimacy, with these founding texts. The light these poets work in, and the language they speak, are still the light and the language of Homer and the great tragedians. Austerity Measures, appearing as Greece faces new difficulties and suffering, offers a newly poignant, imaginative and resonant body of work. The wonderfully inventive translations reveal a different Greece to English readers: one that does not cancel the past but builds upon it -- Ruth Padel One of the few benefits of turbulent historical moments is that they tend to give rise to a new cultural efflorescence. Nowhere is this more obvious than in this fascinating anthology, which gathers together a remarkably rich, resourceful range of poetic idioms in response to a common sense of moral and political emergency -- Terry Eagleton Karen Van Dyck has collected an extraordinary group of poets and translators who are bound to put Greek poetry on the map again. I've seen it happen twice in my life: with the Generation of the Thirties that included Cavafy, Seferis, Elytes and Ritsos, and that reached world recognition; and again, during the Dictatorship of the Colonels, when the group that appeared in the Harvard anthology Eighteen Texts (1972) and others living under censorship earned international recognition with the help of accomplished translators. Now, during another crisis in the country, we find exciting new voices emerging, and I am convinced that they are once again saying something no one else is saying. Call it the knowledge that emerges from the underside of devastation and the creative illumination that comes with tragedy, but something is going on in Greece that we aren't seeing in the news. I give this anthology my strongest support -- Edmund Keeley Karen Van Dyck's Austerity Measures is a timely trove of new Greek voices that reverberates with urgency and authority, girded with hard-earned truth and a deep seeing necessary for our twenty-first century. Here's a language that goes for the gut and the heart, an earthy sonority. It holds us accountable for what we witness and feel in a time of globalism. This marvellous compendium of lived imagery speaks freely -- Yusef Komunyakaa

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