Tonight at Poet’s House, check out “A Celebration of Yannis Ritsos” with translators Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley. Yannis Ritsos was certainly one of the best-loved Greek poets of all time, and dubbed “the greatest poet of our age” by Louis Aragon. His two remarkable translators Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley will come together to read from his Diaries of Exile, just published in their translation by Archipelago Books, and to speak about his work.
“Its power comes from the way it blends the diaristic with the poetic … There is no pity in the book, nor resignation, despite the circumstance. That clarity … has to do with giving witness, with the idea of poetry as testimony. Again and again, Ritsos records the smallest moments, as if were he to leave out a single detail of his incarceration, the whole experience might disappear. This is what poetry can do: preserve the moments that would otherwise be forgotten, and in so doing, recreate the world.” —David Ulin, The Los Angeles Times
Bio notes from the press release:
Yannis Ritsos (1909 – 1990) Plagued by turberculosis, family misfortunes, and repeated persecution for his Communist views, Ritsos spent many years in sanatoriums, prisons, or in political exile. Despite these misfortunes, Ritsos continued writing, eventually achieving a personal, humanitarian medium devoid of anger and recrimination. In 1967, Ritsos was arrested again by the Greek junta and exiled, and was prohibited from publishing until 1972. By the end of his life, and contrary to all odds, Ritsos had published 117 books, including numerous plays and essays.
Karen Emmerich has translated works by Vassilis Vassilikos, Yiorgos Skabardonis, Rhea Galanake, Miltos Sachtouris, and a variety of Greek poets of the twentieth century. Her translation of Sachtouris’s Poems (1945-1975) was a 2006 NBCC Poetry Award Finalist and she has received translation grants and awards from PEN and the Modern Greek Studies Association. She teaches at the University of Oregon.
Edmund Keeley is the Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English Emeritus and the Director Emeritus of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. His collaborative translations of the modern Greek poets C.P. Cavafy, George Seferis, Odysseas Elytis, and Yannis Ritsos, have received the PEN / Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets, and the First European Prize for the Translation of Poetry.
Thursday, April 11th
10 River Terrace (Chambers St. subway, map here)
$10, $7 for students and seniors, free to Poets House members