Sunday, May 22, 2005

Maria Polydouri -- 75 years since her death

I just checked out the Vivliothiki literary supplement that comes with Greek daily Eletherotypia on a Friday and discover that it is 75 years since the death of poet Maria Polydouri. And so, they've got a whole lot of articles on her and her work.

* Lived 1902-1930 (Died of some illness...I should look this up.) ADDITION: She had tuberculosis, but according to this site, "she killed herself, on the 30th of April 1930, by taking lethal morphine injections."

* Two poetry collections: 1) Οι τρίλλιες που σβήνουν, 1928, and 2) Ηχώ στο χάος, 1929; plus some other odd stuff along the way.

Um, how to translate those titles? I'll try. I looked up "τρίλλιες" in my MATZENTA Greek-English dictionary and it's got "τρίλλιον", which means birthroot, some plant? I hate that dictionary. Anyway, let me check my Babiniotis. So: "τρίλια" is trill. Oh, a bird cry? The Trills That Die (?).

Ok the next one is easy. Sound in Chaos or maybe that is Echo in Chaos. (?)

What some Greek female poets said about Polydouri (in the supplement, which I briefly scanned):

"Maria Polydouri covers my thoughts with a creative melancholy"
-- Μαριγώ Αλεξοπούλου -- Marigo Alexopoulou

"I came across Polydouri in a poetry anthology, which was given to me in the fifth grade. …her poems stood out amongst the rest, not just because I read them over and over again, but because I wanted to read them out loud, so that they could be heard"
-- Αλεξάνδρα Πλαστήρα -- Alexandra Plastira

"Maria Polydouri is a myth"
-- Αντεια Φραντζή -- Andia Frantzi

Maria Polydouri wrote intense erotic poetry and fell in love with (and had a brief affair with, but I think he rejected her or didn't want to marry her, so she obsessed about him) Kostas Karyotakis, one of Greece's premiere contemporary poets. The following poem is, I think, about him. He committed suicide in Preveza, Greece in 1928.


Αυτόν τον καταδίωκε ένα πνεύμα
στις σκοτεινές εκτάσεις της ζωής του.
Οι ασχολίες του, οι χαρές του, σ’ ένα νεύμα
προσχήματα γινόνταν της ορμής του.

Τα ωραία βιβλία, η σκέψη, ένα ορμητήριο
λίγες στιγμές· βίαιος στον έρωτά του.
Ύστερα γέμιζε η όψη του μυστήριο
και τίποτε δεν ταίριαζε κοντά του.

Ένας περίεργος ξένος επλανιόταν
αναμεσόμας, μ’ όψη αλλοιωμένη.
Την υποψία μας δε μας την αρνιόταν
πως κάτι φοβερό τον περιμένει.

Ήταν ωραίος παράξενα, σαν κείνους
που ο Θάνατος τούς έχει ξεχωρίσει.
Δινόταν στους φριχτότερους κινδύνους
σαν κάτι να τον είχε εξασφαλίσει.

Ένα πρωί, σε μια κάρυνη θήκη
τον βρήκαμε νεκρό μ’ ένα σημάδι
στον κρόταφο. Ήταν όλος σα μια νίκη,
σα φως που ρίχνει γύρω του σκοτάδι.

Είχε μια τέτοια απλότη και γαλήνη,
μια γελαστή μορφή ζωντανεμένη!
Όλος μια ευχαριστία σα νάχε γίνει.
Κ’ η αιτία του κακού σημαδεμένη.

To a young man who committed suicide

By Maria Polydouri [translator unknown]

A spirit kept pursuing him
in the dark expanses of his life.
His occupations, his joys at a nod
became pretexts of his vital drive.

His lovely books, thought, a momentary haunt.
His love a violent sight.
Later his face filled with mystery
and nothing around him was right.

A curious stranger, he wandered among us
in altered mien and grim.
He did not gainsay our suspicion
that something frightful awaited him.

He was strangely handsome, like those
whom death had singled out.
He yielded to the direst dangers
as if something guarded him throughout.

One morning, in a walnut casket we
found him dead with a mark on the temple.
All of him was like a victory,
like light casting around him in the dark.

He had such simplicity and serenity,
a smiling form living again!
As if all of him had become a Eucharist
and the cause had marked him in vain.


Blogger Jai said...

thanks Kath! very interesting. will link this on my blog if that's ok, sometime later today!

11:59 am  
Blogger kathryn said...

Sounds good, Jai! Thanks. :)

7:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maria or Marika Polydouri had an affair with Kariotakis and they broke up because he was sick with sifilis, they were both in love but Maria was more expressive with her feelings in compare with Kostas..
a series with his and Maria's life was shown in 2009 on Greek TV

7:29 am  

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