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It’s poetry day all week in Athens March 17, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums, Books Life Greek, Music Life Greek.
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The international celebration is marked with events, discussions, lectures, readings and more

Singer Maria Farandouri, joined by Zacharias Karounis and accompanied by an eight-piece orchestra, will sing at the Athens Concert Hall on Thursday, while actors Eva Kotamanidou and Nikos Bousdoukos will read excerpts at an evening of Greek political poetry set to music. International Poetry Day falls this Friday, March 21, but the celebrations start today.

Stoa tou Vivliou [Books Arcade] and PoeticaNet have put together a lively mix of discussion, poetry set to music and a video, curated by poet Iosif Ventouras. First up are Professors Dimitris Dimiroulos and Elisavet Arseniou, exploring the subject of poetry in the information age. Then the hip-hop group Enemy will present songs from their latest album and collide with living poems. Participants include poet and media artist Dimosthenis Agrafiotis and American poet Heather Raikes, who will talk about her work in a video made for the event. That’s at 8 p.m. today, at the Stoa tou Vivliou, 5 Pesmazoglou Street, Athens, tel 210 3253989.

The European Translation Center (EKEMEL), Ikaros Publishers and Patakis bookstore are saluting International Poetry Day with a presentation of Alexandros Issaris’s book “Kato apo tosa vlefara: Simeioseis gia ton Rilke” (Under So Many Eyelids: Notes on Rilke), published last year by Ikaros. The speakers are literary critic Vangelis Hatzivassileiou, writer Yiannis Efstathiadis and the author, who is also a poet and translator. Actress Mayia Lyberopoulou will read extracts from the book. Tomorrow, Patakis bookstore, 65 Academias Street, Athens, tel 210 3811850, at 7 p.m.

Poems will liven up time spent at bus and tram stops and metro stations and on board public transport as of Wednesday and until April 22. It’s the latest edition of a successful promotion by the National Book Center of Greece (EKEBI). Poet and academic Nasos Vagenas chose the poems and six young students and graduates of the Athens School of Fine Arts produced the colorful posters.

Verses by Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis feature on a phone card to be issued on International Poetry Day. In a follow-up to another campaign by EKEBI and telecoms provider OTE, there will be a new phone card with different verses every month till December. This year’s selections will be from political poems.

Greek political poetry set to music is the theme of an evening at the Athens Concert Hall on Thursday. Maria Farandouri and Zacharias Karounis, accompanied by an eight-piece orchestra, will sing, and actors Eva Kotamanidou and Nikos Bousdoukos will read. Giorgos Papadakis has selected and orchestrated excerpts from Euripides, as well as pieces by Yiannis Ritsos, Odysseas Elytis, Nikos Gatsos and Iakovos Kambanellis and others, with music by composers such Eleni Karaindrou, Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis and Thanos Mikroutsikos. Vassilis Nikolaidis will conduct.

Poet Nikiforos Vrettakos is the subject of a tribute starting 5.30 p.m. at the Benaki Museum on International Poetry Day. Academics Eratosthennis Kapsomenou, Vincenzo Rotolo, Vangelis Athanassopoulos, poet Titos Patrikios and Vrettakos Archive director Eleni Tzinieri-Tzanetakou will speak, followed by the first public screening of Athanasia Drakopoulou’s film “Periousaka Stihiea” at 8.30 p.m. at the Benaki Museum Pireos Annex, 138 Pireos Street and Andronikou Street, Athens, tel 210 3453111.

An exhibition of first editions, and documents for the Nikiforos Vrettakos Archive opens Friday and runs to April 20 at the main branch of the Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens, tel 210 3671000.


Coming poetry and book launches in Athens October 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Books Life Greek.
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Author and translator Gail Holst-Warhaft’s first and critically acclaimed foray into poetry, “Penelope’s Confessions,” will be presented in its bilingual edition by Cosmos Publications at the Ianos bookstore cafe, 24 Stadiou Street, Athens, on Monday, October 8.

The Australian-born scholar of ancient and modern Greek life, literature and music is adjunct associate professor in the departments of classics and comparative literature at Cornell University and works as a freelance writer, poet and translator. Following her studies in Australia, Holst-Warhaft came to Greece, where she worked as a musician and journalist during the 1970s. She also played harpsichord in the orchestras of Mikis Theodorakis, Dionysis Savvopoulos and Mariza Koch.

Koch will be at Ianos bookstore to open the event with a recital of poems she has set to music, while poet Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke and author Iakovos Kampanellis will discuss the book and its author. The event begins at 6 p. m. and attendance is free of charge.

Tomorrow at Eleftheroudakis Bookstore, 17 Panepistimiou Street, Athens, Pascal Bruckner, the prolific French writer of the nouveaux philosophes school, and author of “Temptation of Innocence” and “Bitter Moon”, which was made into a film by Roman Polanski in 1992, will be signing the Greek editions of his books from 5-7 p. m.

Israeli poet Rami Saari will also be in town this week for the presentation of his poetry collection “Under the Feet of the Rain”, published in Greek by Oxy, at Patakis bookstore, 65 Academias Street, Athens, at 7 p. m. tomorrow.

Saari studied and taught Semitic and Uralic languages at the Universities of Helsinki, Budapest and Jerusalem and got his PhD in linguistics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. By January 2006 Saari had published seven books and translated more than 40 books, both prose and poetry, from Albanian, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Portuguese and Spanish into Hebrew. He has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature twice (1996, 2003), and the Tchernikhovsky Prize for his translations (2006).

On Tuesday, October 9, Benaki Museum Director Angelos Delivorias, writer Philippos Drakontaidis and Athens University professor Giorgos Maniatis will present A-I. D. Metaxas’s new book “Ypainiktika Portreta” (Suggestive Portraits: The Imperceptible Depiction of Authority). The presentation will begin at 8 p. m. at the Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Kolonaki, Athens.

Homer’s Odyssey September 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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The Odyssey is well known to classical scholars all over the world as the epic poem by Homer, the Greek poet. It has as its central character, Odysseus the Greek hero of the Trojan war and chronicles his long and hazardous journey home to Ithaca after the fall of the legendary city of Troy.

Homer writes about the twists and turns in the tale of Odysseus ten year voyage to Ithaca. During this period, his faithful wife Penelope never gave up hope that he will return home despite the amorous advances of many suitors who constantly sought her hand in marriage on the assumption that her husband had died.

Homer also writes about the temptation faced by Odysseus himself when he sailed with his men past the island inhabitated by the beautiful Sirens who with their enchanting songs lured unsuspecting sailors to their deaths on the jagged and rocky coastline.

Fortunately for Odysseus, he had been forewarned about the danger posed by the femme fatales, and as such he took the precaution of asking his men to tie him to the mast of his ship. He also ordered the men to plug their ears with wax so that while he listened to the sweet melodies from his perch on the mast, his men would not hear any orders from him to sail the ship towards the Sirens island. In this way he and his crew sailed past the island without mishap.

The Odyssey ends with Odysseus, after many trials and close shaves, eventually reaching Ithaca from where he had departed 20 years before, to set out for the Trojan wars. The Odyssey is no doubt one of the greatest works of Greek and Western literature.

Leonard Cohen’s spirit still lives on Hydra island September 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands.
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The hydrofoil skips over the deep blue waters of the Saronic Gulf, the azure sky burning overhead. Athens soon fades. Aegina, Methana, Poros, Hydra. The ferry nuzzles against the dock in the U-shaped harbour, and the few remaining travellers disembark.

Nothing moves quickly on Hydra. The day trippers wander slowly among the shops and cafes. There are no cars here, no trucks, but there are birds, and wires, now. Those staying wheel their noisy suitcases to the waiting line of donkeys and servants. Darkly tanned men hoist the luggage onto the beasts, and lead the guests to their hotels.

I wait until all are gone, leaning against a post at the end of the harbour. I’m not here for the paradise beaches, nor to dive the Aegean Sea. I’m here to find Leonard Cohen. It was from the idyllic island in 1965 that the CBC introduced the poet to his nation in Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen. On the poster for the film, he stands on a ship in Hydra’s harbour, dressed as a casual sailor. Five years earlier, at age 26, Cohen had bought a house here. “I live on a hill and life has been going on here exactly the same for hundreds of years,” he wrote to his mother.

But things changed. The long arm of modernity stuck its finger into Cohen’s bohemian backwater, and tall poles went up to hold the wires for the telephones. Cohen, saddened by this and catching sight of a bird resting on this strange, uncomfortable nest, wrote his legendary Bird on the Wire. “I would stare out the window at these telephone wires and think how civilization had caught up with me and I wasn’t going to be able to escape after all,” he later said.

It was also on Hydra that Cohen met Marianne; and from here he wrote So Long, Marianne, and the album Songs From a Room; the back of the CD is a picture of Marianne sitting at his typewriter in his house on Hydra.

I sit at a cafe, a few feet from the harbour, flipping through The Spice Box of Earth, peering over the ragged top. Eight rough fishermen grunt and drag a boat out of the clear water. Gulls wheel through the clear air, dreaming of scraps. Through his poetry, Cohen tells me he has not lingered in European monasteries. I don’t believe him, but it does give me an idea.

Beyond the harbour, houses climb a steep hill. I’ve heard a monastery sits at the summit. I finish the sweet Greek coffee, drop some euros on the table, put the poetry in my backpack, and leave the village. The path winds up a steep road. I pass a man and his donkey. The man is not sweating. Only tourists sweat in Greece. In the backyard of a whitewashed house, a rooster crows, while a mule and a dog ignore it. As I get beyond all the houses, the path narrows, branches. A hand-painted sign points me in the right direction. I smile.

The mountain is called Eros. Cohen must have smiled at that. I climb on, heat hovering in the air. I press through the hard bush and emerge on the summit, which has been cleared. A stone floor covers it. In front of me is a white building. The stones around the door have been painted to resemble brick. A prophet in a chariot pulled by four white horses rides over the door. Elijah, on his chariot of fire. Elijah, the fierce Old Testament prophet who heard the still, small voice of God. The climber of Mount Eros arrives at a Monastery. Cohen must have smiled.

I walk to the edge, seat myself on the wall. A tall monk in long black robes, long black beard and a black hat walks past me toward the chapel. I smile. He nods back, lost in prayer.

Below is the village; across the water is the mainland. The island has two other mountains. Stone walls crawl over them like chains. Clouds cover the distant peak, but here, the light is strong. Cohen wrote a poem called Hydra: “Pain cannot compromise this light,” he says. A small, nearly still breeze comes across the Gulf of Hydra. I inhale deeply as the sun presses down on me, setting everything a golden blaze. Cohen is here.

Source > The Daily News

Book activities and celebrations September 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Books Life Greek.
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September 30 is International Translation Day. This year it will be celebrated on October 1 in Athens with “Translating Europe,” a discussion organized by the European Translation Center (EKEMEL).

Peter Bergsma, Director of Translators’ House Amsterdam, Francoise Cartano, Director of the International College of Literary Translators in Arles, France, and Francoise Wuilmart, Director of the European College of Literary Translators in Seneffe, Belgium, will address the meeting and a discussion will follow. Simultaneous translation will be provided. At the Leonidas Zervas Hall, National Research Center, 48 Vasileos Constantinou Avenue, Athens, at 7 p.m. Information > call EKEMEL at 210 3639350.

New branch > Metaichmio publishers invite you for a drink to celebrate the opening of their new branch in Thessaloniki, at 81 Olympou Street, today from 6-10 p.m. The bookstore will run a series of meetings for primary (Friday) and secondary school teachers (Saturday) to meet the authors of the new schoolbooks and supplementary titles from Metaichmio. For information call 2310 250075.

Launch > Today at 8 p.m. I. Sideris publishers and the Ianos Bookstore present Giorgos Mylonas’s book “www.ELENI-ONEIRA.GR” www.eleni-dreams.gr. Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos Zachopoulous, director Nikos Koundouros and journalist Antonis Prekas will speak, At Ianos Bookstore, 24 Stadiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3217917.

Recycling > On Saturday at 12.30 p.m., at Ianos Bookstore, Costas Magos, author of “Skoupidistan” (Trashville) and “To dasos tis xylinis xystras” (The Forest of the Wooden Sharpener), both published by Patakis, will lead children aged 5-12 and visitors into the magical world of recycling, with constructions made of discarded bottles, plastic and wood. At Ianos Bookstore, 24 Stadiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3217917.

Music and poetry > Celebrate International Tourism Day with music and poetry dedicated to C.P. Cavafy in the Roman Forum today at 9 p.m. RSVP 210 9333522, hatta@hatta.gr.

What’s On in Athens > venues, concerts September 25, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Festivals, Arts Museums, Ballet Dance Opera, Music Life Classical, Music Life Greek, Music Life Live Gigs.
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Alavastro Cafe, 78 Damareos Street, Pangrati, Athens, tel 210 7560102.
Tonight > Gospel and jazz improvisations by the Honey Workstation. Admission is 8 euros.
Tomorrow > Jazz improvisations by Nikos Kapilidis and the Jazz Utopia.
Friday > Contemporary Greek entechno songs by Graviton.
Saturday > Worldbeat-jazz compositions, with Balkan sounds and improvisations, by the Anakata quartet.

American College of Greece, 6 Gravias Street, Aghia Paraskevi, Athens, tel 210 6009800.
Friday > The Corda di Vento music ensemble, cellist Amalia Yiannopoulou, clarinetist Federico Palacios Delgado and pianist Haralambos Angelopoulos, will perform works by Ginastera, Bernstein, Piazzolla and Brahms. Starts at 8.30 p.m. Admission is 10 euros.

Kifissia Menandreia 2007 Festival, For information tel 210 6232506 and 210 6289000. Events take place at different venues around Kifissia.
Thursday > Tango music and dance performance by the Tango Argentino Total and singer Bruno Dando. Starts at 8.30 p.m. at the Kifissia Town Hall, Dionyssou and Myrsinis Street. Admission is free.

Museum of Greek Musical Instruments, 1-3 Diogenous Street, Plaka, Athens, tel 210 3250198. Shows start at 9.30 p.m. and admission is 10 euros.
Tonight > Traditional and folk music from Crete and Smyrna, by Nikos Androulakis.
Tomorrow > Eastern melodies by Haig Yazdjian.
Thursday > Guitar ballads with Notis Mavroudis and Panayiotis Margaris.
Friday > Ethnic by Family Voices.

Olympia Theater, Greek National Opera, 59-61 Academias Street, Athens, tel 210 3612461 and 210 3643725.
Friday > Tribute to Maria Callas, by sopranos Martha Arapi, Jenny Drivala, Dimitra Theodossiou, Vassiliki Karayianni, Mata Katsouli, Elena Kelessidi and Julia Souglakou, who will be accompanied by the Greek National Opera Orchestra, under the baton of Ilias Voudouris. The opera singers will perform arias by Donizetti, Bellini, Puccini, Verdi and other composers. Starts at 8 p.m.

Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro), Vasileos Constantinou Avenue, Athens.
October 1 > Concert in aid of people stricken by recent fires, by tenor Andrea Bocelli, who will be joined by the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Marcello Rota. Starts at 8.30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketnet, www.ticketnet.gr, and on tel 210 8840600.

Petra Theater, Damari, Petroupolis, Athens, tel 210 5012402.
Tickets are available at www.i-ticket.gr, on tel 801 1160000 as well as 210 6786000, at Metropolis music stores, at the Must music stores in Petroupolis and at Cine Petroupolis at 168 25th Martiou Street, Petroupolis, tel 210 5012391.
Tomorrow > Greek rockers Lavrentis Machairitsas, Sakis Boulas, Antonis Mitzelos and Dimitris Starovas will join forces, along with singer Eleonora Zouganeli, with part of the proceeds going to those stricken by fires in the Peloponnese. Starts at 8.30 p.m.
Friday > Gypsy melodies and much more, by Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Band. Starts at 9 p.m.

Roman Forum, Plaka, Athens.
Thursday >
Poetry and music soiree-tribute to poet C.P. Cavafy. Starts at 9 p.m.

Vyronas Festival, Vrachon Theater, Vyronas, Athens, tel 210 7626438 and 210 7626738. Tickets can be purchased at the Vyronas Festival box office in Syntagma Square, Vyronas Town Hall at 32-36 Karaoli and Dimitriou Street, the Vyronas Municipal Center at Kyprou and Evangelikis Scholis Street, the theater box office, Metropolis music stores and online at www.i-ticket.gr and www.ticketservices.gr.
Tomorrow > Tenor Mario Frangoulis and singer Elli Paspala will join forces in a tribute to composer Manos Hadjidakis, along with the Manos Hadjidakis Music Ensemble, which will be conducted by Loukas Karytinos. Starts at 9 p.m. Admission is 25 euros.
Friday > One-day music festival featuring performances by Nikos Portokaloglou, Odysseas Tsakalos, Vassiliki Karakosta, Nikos Ziogalas, Manolis Famellos, Stathis Drogossis and various new bands.