dimitris varos

The end of hope and our ancient glory

I used to publish poems in newspapers and magazines as early as when I was still in high school. I also published on my own a lot of 30-60 page books and distributed them to friends. One of those poems - the most mature and complete one - is “O stranger” inspired by the well-known writing in Thermopylae, «O stranger go tell the Spartans…». I also published (in a few copies that are now lost) the said work in English when I was a student in London. The poem refers to my country’s struggle during the seven-year ruling of the military junta. (1967-1973).

My first attempt to write a thematic book is “Andromeda”, which was written in 1976-1978 and was published by the Art Friends Club of Chios island. The work revolved around the already evident ecological disaster, the indifference of people and the prediction that one day we will reach the point of no return, enter a space ark and head for another planet, which we are bound to destroy as well…

In the '80s, I completed “Thirasia”, which is a poetic "study" on hope that raises the following question: Is it perhaps that this beautiful concept acts as an inhibitor? Is it that it makes us stop fighting and claiming things, thus leading to a kind of inertia?

Political parties, as well as religions, give the promise of a better tomorrow. But what happens when you want the future right now? You embrace subversive ideas and get high on revolutionary songs, films and poems. You are sure that a rebellion is just a matter of time and you wait for something to happen, someone to make a start. You wait for the volcano of Santorini to explode and transform the landscape. However, all around there is total silence while you are ready to explode.

Thirasia is an islet in the group of islands around Santorini. It is a beautiful place, all which remained from an incredible historical explosion that changed the Eastern Mediterranean. It is a peaceful place (not riddled with tourists); however, what lies underneath is an active volcano.

Part of "Thirasia" is set to music by Greek composer, Giannis Markopoulos on CD, and has been performed by Pavlos Sidiripoulos and the group Nei Epivates at the ancient Herodian Theater in Athens, in 1989. One of these songs “Electric Theseus” is among the favorites of the political-conscious youth till today. Some years ago the Greek rock groups “Vox”, “Lexicon Project” and “Drunken Elves” made a remake of “Electric Theseus” in their new CDs.

Thirasia” was formally published in 1996 by "Kastaniotis Editions", one of the largest publishing houses in Greece. Three years later, the same publisher released “Phryne”, which describes the journey of a couple: the beginning, the climax and the end. Like Phryne, the renowned, beautiful ancient courtesan, who bared her body and thus, dazzled and beat the judges, the hero in “Phryne” risks it all and imitates her boldness.  He crashes… He reveals his feelings because he believed in a beautiful myth or, rather, in many beautiful myths on life, love, other people and himself… This move provides others with the means to bring him down. However, despite his crush, he is not a loser. He gains the knowledge that “the secret of love, of struggle, of life itself, is the fascination of experience”. 

“Hypatia” named for the Greek philosopher, who was one of the last victims of religious fascism and symbolizes the end of ancient Greece and the beginning of the contemporary era. The subject of this book is bold, even when measured by the standards of our time, 2017, and provides a response to the following line of thinking: Embracing beauty, honoring valor, constant learning, imagination without restraints, the inclination to look for the answers to events, the passion for new explorations and the celebration of love... When all these elements co-exist, don't they make up the Ideal State we dream of? Who would disagree or put a stop to humanity taking this course?

Hypatia” with three other collections (“Phyllis”, “Telesilla” and “Ephydatia”) constitute my latest poetry book "The bridle of rage".

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all images & writing © Dimitris Varos, 1995 - 2017