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KOSTIS PALAMAS (2003) – 60 years since his death

2003 marked the 60th anniversary of the death of Kostis Palamas who died in February 1943.
In honour of that anniversary EKEBI held a series of events and activities from September 2003 to January 2004 under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture with the assistance of a committee of experts set up for that purpose. The committee was chaired by Eleni Politou-Marmarinou, Prof. of Modern Greek Literature, Dept. of Literature / Athens University, and comprised Vangelis Athanasopoulos, Prof. of Comparative Literature, Dept. of Literature / Athens University and member of the Board of Directors of the Kostis Palamas Foundation, Stavros Zoumboulakis, director of Hestia Publishing House, Dimitris Kalokyris, author and graphic designer, Xenophon Kokolis, Adj. Professor of Modern Greek Literature, Dept. of Literature / AU, Konstantinos Koroulis, Director of the Letters Directorate / Ministry of Culture and Christos Lazos, Director of the National Book Centre. EKEBI employees Lily Panousi and Angeliki Papanikolaou, provided secretarial support.
The committee prepared an extensive programme of events to (a) assess the contribution of the poet Kostis Palamas to the letters and the intellectual life of Greece and (b) to renew interest among readers, especially young ones, in his work.

The celebrations commenced officially in Mesolongi, the birthplace of Kostis Palamas, with 2 days of events. On Friday, 19 September a mobile exhibition on the life and works of Kostis Palamas was officially opened at the town’s Trikoupi Cultural Centre and the book Kostis Palamas 2003: 60 years from his death was presented, followed by a debate on ‘Palamas Today’.  On Saturday 20 September the main event was held on the small peninsula of Mesolongi Lagoon. It included a speech on Palamas and the Lagoon, screenings, a performance by percussion band and readings of poems by Christos Verelis, Christos Kalavrouzos, Antonis Kafetzopoulos, Panagiotis Kontos, Akakia Kordosi, Makos Liakatas, Alexandra Mousa, Eleni Politou-Marmarinou and Giorgos Prevezanos.
The next series of events were held in Athens in the amphitheatre of the Ministry of Culture and included round table debates on the life and works of Kostis Palamas, attended by experts in the field.
On Monday 3 November and every Monday until 1 December discussions were held covering different aspects of the poet:
‘Rhyme and Reflections: intangible wings and hands: Lyrical Palamas.
Turning one’s back on people’s glances: Satirical Palamas.
Proud master of many and varied rhymes: Palamas as master of verse.
I love. I compare. I judge. I install. Aspects of Palamas the critic.
Europe: endless fire within hell’s darkness: Palamas and Europe.
Academics, poets and critics from Greece and abroad participated including Dimitris Angelatos, Vangelis Athanasopoulos, Francesca Ambatzopoulou, Venetia Apostolidou, Nasos Vagenas, Evripidis Garantoudis, Agori Grekou, Stavros Zoumboulakis, Xenophon Kokolis, Maria Kostagianni, Christos Lazos, Elias Lagios, Lucia Marcheselli, Pandelis Boukalas, Christina Dounia, Eleni Politou-Marmarinou, Alexandra Samouil and Vangelis Hatzivasiliou.
The papers were published in the literary magazine Nea Estia.

The series of events was rounded off with an art exhibition at the Municipality of Athens Cultural Centre featuring the works of 16 students at the Athens School of Fine Arts 6th Painting Workshop. It was held from 15 January to 24 January 2004 in collaboration with the Municipality of Athens Cultural Organisation. The exhibition was entitled ‘The earth’s great heartbeat: pictorial representations of the poem Palm Tree by Kostis Palamas’ played on the dialogue between poetry and art, showing the interest that this leading poet has for young and mature artists alike. The exhibition catalogue was published by EKEBI.

EKEBI published the illustrated book Kostis Palamas 2003: 60 years since this death, edited by Eleni Politou-Marmarinou and designed by Dimitris Kalokyris. The book includes the timeline of the life and works of Palamas from 1859 to 1943 by Eleni Politou-Marmarinou and Kostas Sardelis and the timeline ’60 years on: 1943-2003’ containing a detailed record of studies, conferences and tributes to Palamas and his work by Evripidis Garantoudis. It also includes an anthology of poems, extracts from studies of his work, a record of the most important bibliography on the poet and a wealth of photographs.
Mobile Exhibition
To mark the 60th anniversary of the death of Kostis Palamas, EKEBI created a mobile exhibition on the poet’s life and work. The exhibition consists of 21 panels with a wealth of photographic material, information on his life and works, the covers of books and manuscripts from the great author. It is available from EKEBI for use at events organised in the author’s honour in Greece and abroad.

KOSTIS PALAMAS – SATIRICAL EXERCISES – with comments by  X. A. Kokkolis, Metaichmio Press
The organising committee also sought to collaborate with other bodies to organise and coordinate events in honour of Palamas to mark the 60th anniversary of his death, including as the Kostis Palamas Foundation on the 2nd International Conference held on 22-25 October 2003 and the Patras Cultural Organisation for events held at the city’s Municipal Art Gallery.

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