A new kind of poetry is flourishing in Greece’s streets, bars and cafes. It is popping up not just on magazines, small presses and websites, but on graffiti walls, and in music, film, and art. Not since the dictatorship that shook the country in the 1970s has there been such an abundance being written. A new anthology in English translation, Austerity Measures, compiles some of the most revolutionary.
In a country where there is less to go around across the board – including fewer young people – poetry is “the one thing there is more of,” writes editor Karen Van Dyck. Despite the title, and the fact that many of the poems respond to the social and economic crisis, Van Dyck emphasises this is not a homogenous phenomenon. “A lot of these poets don’t even know the others exist. It’s a very disperse scene.” Nor are they really a generation. They are multicultural, multiethnic, multigenerational; some of them aren’t even Greek, just writing in it.
“They don’t even think they need to belong to Greek poetry. They have access to the whole world,” says Van Dyck. From the small pleasures of suburban gardens to the viciousness of streetfights, they use pop culture and post-capitalism, images of domestic machines and the internet and mix them all up with ancient myths. / Marta Bausells and Eleni Stefanou, The Guardian
(Talks with Eftychia Panayiotou, Thomas Tsalapatis, Danae Sioziou, Jazra Khaleed, Elena Penga, Yiannis Doukas, Glykeria Basdeki, Yannis Stiggas, Yiannis Efthymiades)