Yannis Kontos began publishing poems in 1965 and has since produced twelve books of verse. His poems and texts have appeared in various magazines and newspapers.
In 1973 he was granted a Ford Foundation scholarship. He worked on radio for many years, has written for periodicals in Greece and abroad and is a contributor to Ta Nea newspaper. He has also taught literature at the Kostas Kazakos theatre school.
In 1980 a record was pubished of his poems set to music by composer Nikos Kallitsis, titled Attempt.
Kontos has written extensively about contemporary Greek painters. In 1992 he published When a Drum is Heard Over the City, a limited edition of poems illustrated by Greek painter Dimitris Mytaras.
His eleventh book, Pins in the Clouds (1991), is an anthology of work from all his volumes of verse selected by artist Yiannis Psychopaidis, who illustrated it with 20 engravings.
In 1998 Kontos won the State Poetry Award for his collection Absurd Athlete.
Absurd Athlete, translated by David Connolly. [S.n.]: Arc Publications, 2003. 110 pp. ISBN: 1-900072-76-9
The Bones (selected poems), translated by James Stone. Cleveland, Ohio, New York: The Globe Press, 1985. 62 pp. ISBN: 0-910321-14-0
The Unforeseen, translated by Yannis Goumas. [S.n.]: Green Horse Booklet No 13, 20pp. ISBN: 0-904833-09-7
Mercurial Time, translated by Yannis Goumas. Knotting Bedfordshire: The Sceptre Press, 1978. 46 pp. ISBN: 0-7068-0409-0
Danger in the Streets, translated by John Stathatos. London: Oxus Press, 1978. 16 pp. ISBN: 0-905501-08-1
Die Knochen und die Kreide, translated by Aris Geradis & Gunnar Konig. Cologne: Romiosini Verlag, 1990. 94 pp. ISBN: 3-923728-44-1
Mørket som gave, translated by W. Gjerløv Pedersen. Århus: Husets Forlag, 1998. 48 pp. ISBN: 87-7483-396-0
Knoglerne, translated by W. Gjerløv Pedersen. Århus: Husets Forlag, 1984. 68 pp.