Three new books of poetry by leading yet highly individual representatives of the so-called ’70s generation of Greek poets. The early works of these poets showed signs of collective thematic and stylistic elements. The most striking of these is their contentious tone and their questioning and disdain for accepted values and institutions, coupled with the stark realism of their language and their deeply ironic form of expression.What we find in their works today, however, is less the angry cry of social protest and more the personal mythology of erotic relationships, a metaphysical discourse with death, an existential anguish, together with reflections on life’s absurdities, on the technological world and the consumer society. On the other hand, their personal poetic mythology does not eschew its Greek roots, but regularly makes reference to the myths of the Greek tradition in images that merge the real with the imaginary and the rational with the absurd.
In 14 books of poetry since 1970, Yannis Kondos has created a poetic voice that gives us a picture of the modern world and the individual’s place in it, as represented by the traumas of his own poetic self. His characters, often personas of himself, resemble empty, tragic masks delivering ironic or self-ironic monologues. His poetry has a distinctly dramatic character, however, which prevents the poem from becoming a merely private confessional. He highlights the barely perceptible details of life, turning them into universal statements on the condition of contemporary man in the megalopolis. This new collection shows Kondos to be at the height of his poetic maturity.
The Secret Collection
Lefteris Poulios (12 books of poetry since 1969) is a poet whose early political focus and angry ideological contention has given way to existential searching and ontological probing. One of the more vitriolic and outspoken poets in the early ’70s, with shocking similes and metaphors, he has now curbed the vehemence of his language and imagery, becoming more inward-looking, perhaps more obscure and abstruse in his often fragmented narration. His voice, as evidenced by this new collection, is one of the most individualistic of his generation.
In his new volume of collected poems (1970-2005), Andonis Fostieris, another characteristic and recognizable voice of his generation, provides the reader with the opportunity to see his work as a single, concentric composition. The questioning of phenomena and the probing into their mysterious ontological core, the delving into the dark depths of existence and love, the emotion that emerges from contemplation and the sentiment transmuted into reflection, the successive layers of meaning, the intertextual dialogue, the experiments with the Greek language in all its diachronic phases, the underlying irony and pointed sarcasm are just some of the characteristic features of his unique poetic voice.