PF

ISSN 
1942-2067

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Last updated:
October 2008

Showcase



(B. 1949)

Dimitris Varos


Pirene's Fountain is pleased to welcome and showcase the work of Greek poet, journalist and photographer Dimitris Varos. Born in 1949 on the island of Chios, he studied journalism in London UK, and has held director and editor-in-chief positions for many Greek national magazines including “Chiakos Laos,”Acropolis,” “Ethnos,” “ Proti,” “ Ethnos tis Kyriakis,” and “Typos tis Kyriakis”.

Currently he is the director of print and electronic publications at Technoekdotiki, which publishes seven monthly periodicals. He is a member of the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers and the International Associations of Daily and Periodical Press (WANN and FIPP). We Are Greeks!, a collection of humorous and satirical writings about the behaviors of his fellow modern countrymen is slated for publication this winter.

 

Regarding his early writing influences, Varos shared his pride in Greece's great tradition of poetry from ancient times, naming Nobel Prize recipient George Seferis for his passion of Hellenistic culture and his ability to apply Greek mythology to present day themes. Another Nobel Laureate, Odysseus Elytis, impressed a young Dimitris with his hymns to the sea, to the people of his country, and the beauty of the Aegean islands. Lastly, he acknowledges Yannis Ritsos for his romantic and political poetry of civil war.

In a writing career spanning 30 years, Mr. Varos relates that he gleans inspiration from an array of sources: the news, human behavior, nature, feelings, emotions, and personal ideologies. He notes too, that music plays a critical role in his life and writing, viewing composers Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Roger Walters, Loreena McKennitt, Ann Clark and others as great poets.

Our Showcase artist has published four books of poetry
translated in English: Phryne, Thirasia, Andromeda and O Stranger.

Part of Thiraisia 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. His lyrics are also used by the rock group, Vox, on their third CD.

Varos has found that combining the art of photography with poetry on his website, “Mindgames” allows him to communicate a greater, more varied range of thought, feeling, and opinion. He writes daily, but admits most often it involves articles, reviews and interviews, with precious little time for poetry, so we are particularly honored to be able to present a selection of verse from his numerous works, and to glimpse into his writing life in the informal interview that follows.

Lark Vernon, October 2008.

   

The Poet Varos

In his poetry, Mr. Varos combines the romanticism and classicism of his Hellenistic origins, yet his poems are rooted in contemporaneous idioms and ideologies, speaking with authority and accessibility to his readers.

How clearly the influences Dimitris shared with us above resonate in these evocative pieces—Each has the ability to impact the reader imperceptibly, but certainly, and to linger in our memories with their quiet strength.

 

Born Early

All trains have gone
We are left alone with cries in our pockets
Absently kicking
the mortal remains of hope
as an empty packet of cigarettes

Alone, with the fog
that overflows the factory
and surround us
Alone, with the full moon
in our eyes
Alone, with a band in our heads
that plays rock n' roll tunes

We are dreaming
an eternal love,
evergreen fields
and red flags flying
at the front of the state buildings

When the morning comes
we'll be laid
beside the roots of a poppy


 

 

A Dancing Ghost

With the silver moonlight as a starter
songs of love escaping
from the empty shells on beach
Foggy ghosts dancing
on the sleeping sea

You have a fearless look
A carefree grin
A fragile body
as you approach me
through the ruins of ancient Samos

And suddenly I feel shame
Because I did not see you
while you were weeping
Because I did not hear you
while you were crying
All those years before I met you

And I think this is a herald of love
that comes again as breeze
on the beach of Pythagorio.


 

 

Hypatia

They engraved the word “telos”
with a piece of broken pottery
on her beautiful body
And the sun set
for last time in Alexandria

Then they build stone windmills
on the mountains
spinning dark for Europe

Before the Armenians
Before the Pontus inhabitants
Before the Aztecs
Before the Mayas and Cherokees
Were the Greeks

The glory of my homeland
is a river of blood now
streams out of Caesarium on the streets
seeking angry
a new Hercules

The one that will raise the club
and break the murderer
that for centuries now stands asleep
keeping the dawn gates locked



 

Sleeping in the Creek

I came to caress your ruins.
I came on a pilgrimage of your history.
I came to kiss your burned woods.
To sleep at night beside the river Imbrasus
between nightingales and heaths
where Hera washed her body
on the eve of her wedding.

With air whistling by my side,
waters whispering to my ears
and shadows of dead
hanging around me.
To dream your future
with an untold longing
to be denied
all those nightmares
that I’m expecting
from the barbarians that control you.

And when the dawn comes
I have to leave
to run aground
on the stone boat of Okyrhoe.

Read: Pirene's Fountain interview with Dimitris Varos

(Photography by Dimitris Varos)