Shipwrecks/Shelters (2018)

Jack Ross, ed.: Poetry NZ Yearbook 2018 (March 2018)

Books and Magazines in brief:

Shipwrecks/Shelters: Six Contemporary Greek Poets / Ναυάγια/Καταφύγια: Έξι Σύγχρονοι Έλληνες Ποιητές. With Lena Kallergi, Theodore Chiotis, Phoebe Giannisi, Patricia Kolaiti, Vassilis Amanatidis & Katerina Iliopoulou. Ed. & trans. Vana Manasiadis. ISBN 978-0-9941345-4-7. Seraph Press Translation Series No. 1. Wellington: Seraph Press, 2016. RRP $25. 40 pp.

Vana Manasiadis (ed.): Shipwrecks/Shelters (2016)

At the Auckland launch of this book, editor and translator Vana Manasiadis made no secret of its connections with the catastrophic – and yet, it seemed, strangely inspiring – political via dolorosa of contemporary Greece.

And certainly it seems as if once again Greece is at the forefront of the most burning issues of our time: not just the imminent collapse of the economic underpinning of our post-Cold War world, but its direct corollary, the refugee crisis.

Shipwrecks, or shelters, then? The six poets Manasiadis has selected to translate do not appear to present a concensus: their personal dramas of love and loss are enacted in spaces which seem continually undermined by history: ‘An island doesn’t stop being deserted simply because it is inhabited’, is the quote (from Deleuze) Theodore Chiotis has chosen to put it at the opening of his own poem ‘21’:
The body carves a path which at first seems unfamiliar, then familiar, and a long time after, threatening.
If I had a criticism, it would be that there is not really enough space given to each of them here, what with dual texts and notes and prefaces and all, to enable us to get a clear sense of where these six writers are going individually – how they measure up against one another.

It’s a tribute to the fascinating nature of the materials Manasiadis has assembled, though, to have to complain that one’s principal desire is for more: perhaps even a book twice the length of this one!<


Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018. ISBN 978-0-9941473-3-2 (March 2018): 334.

[295 wds]

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2018

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