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Chapbook Series

The aim of the series is to showcase the diversity of poetry by emerging and established Greek-Australian poets.

Cost: AU$10.00 for each chapbook

Author: Dimitris Tsaloumas
Title: A Winter Journey (Greek-English)
Date of publication: 2014

Dimitris Tsaloumas was born and raised on the island of Leros, Greece and emigrated to Australia in 1952, settling in Melbourne. His first publication The Observatory was published in 1983 (as a bilingual edition) winning the Australia Book Council Award for best literary book of the year. He has since published many more collections, in English, including Helen of Troy and Other Poems (UQP) and has won several major Australian awards. A selection of his poems was published in English and French translation (Un chant du soir, Orphée La Différence, Paris 2014). Dimitris passed away in 2016 on his native island of Leros, Greece.

This book consists of 14 short poems, which were re-written by the author in Greek after their publication in Helen of Troy and other Poems (UQP 2007). Dmetri Kakmi in his review (Australian Poetry Journal, April 2015) writes: “Tsaloumas brings to mind the poet as visionary or bard. There is weight and dignity to his utterance. His is a declaration in the face of universal indifference to human suffering. The polished, concise verse has a pagan outlook and indeed often he brings to mind Tiresias, the blind prophet of Thebes renown for prophecy. Possibly because Tsaloumas is elderly and in his final illness, the fourteen poems that comprise A Winter Journey emanate a sense of last rites. Each step offers a glimpse to a man preparing for the next stage of life, resolutely and with foresight.”

 

 

Author: Angela Costi
Title: Lost in Mid-Verse
Date of publication: 2014

Angela Costi was born in Melbourne of Greek-Cypriot parents and belongs to the so-called second-generation of Greek-Australians who write and publish in English. She has published several collections of poetry: Dinted Halos (Hit &Miss Publications, 2003); Prayers for the Wicked (Floodtide Audio, 2005) and Honey and Salt (Five Islands Press, 2007). Honey and Salt was shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Poetry Prize 2008.

Dmetri Kakmi, in his review of this book (Australian Poetry Journal, April 2015) writes:  “Wise and shrewd, these are mature, contemplative works. There is a discernment and level of engagement with form and subject that immediately captivates ... it is a quiet, pensive book; and while it reflects on universal questions, it also speaks to individuals caught between cultures and states of mind. This element brings a welcome tension. Costi does not take the easy way, pushing boundaries and challenging preconceptions about womanhood and ethnicity, even as she yields to nostalgia.”

 

 

 

 

 

Author: M.G. Michael
Title: Keepers of a Great Memory
Date of publication: 2015

M.G. Michael was born in Sydney, the son of a Greek-Cypriot father and Greek mother. He holds degrees in Theology and a PhD from the Australian Catholic University and is presently an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong, in the School of Information Systems and Technology. Michael’s poetry and short stories have previously been published in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Southerly, Coastlines, Westerly, Ulitarra, Studio and Five Bells, and his essays have appeared in Quadrant and The Conversation.

In his introduction to this book N.N. Trakakis gives some of the reasons which drew him to Michael’s poetry when he first met him: “His expertise in, and passion for, theology, philosophy and poetry were evident from the start. But it was something else that drew me in, and still does. Although difficult to capture, this alluring quality of Michael’s poetry may be formulated in terms of an ‘ethics of invisibility’: not so much seeking that which lies beyond the senses of nature, but rather a deep humility that situates itself among the anonymous, the obscure, the forgotten, the ‘invisible’.

 

 

 

 

Author: Dina Amanatides
Title: Fragile World (Greek-English)
Translator: Kyriakos Amanatides
Introduction: Judith Rodriguez
Date of publication: 2016

Dina Amanatides was born in Meligalas, a township in the Peloponnese, Southern Greece. After completing her secondary education in Athens, she migrated to Australia in 1958, and has since been living in Melbourne with her family. Dina is a prolific writer, and her literary work – written in the Greek language – covers poetry, short stories, scattered thoughts (short aphorisms), which deal with existential and philosophical issues, and plays. Dina’s first selection of poems to appear in English was Dreams of Clay, Drops of Dew, translated into English and with an Introduction by Konstandina Dounis (Owl Publishing 2011).

This chapbook gives a further taste of Dina’s short aphorisms. In her introduction, poet Judith Rodriguez writes:  “Epigrammatic poems are possibly the hardest to write. These poems, each numbering four to eleven lines, are a distillation of Dina Amanatides’ poetic skills. Brief, succinct, and deeply felt, they range widely over the poet’s topics of greatest concern... From epigrams, we seek truth. Refined, plain diction and wit too. Dina Amanatides wields both. Open-eyed, unflinching, the power of her poetry lies in her exploration of meanings behind our lives, her constant questioning.

 

 

 

Author: Erma Vassiliou
Title: Desire
Date of publication: 2016

Erma Vassiliou arrived in Australia from her native Cyprus in 1987. She is a true child of the vast Greek diaspora, migrating with her family in 1952 to the then Belgian Congo in Africa and then being sent to Athens to study at Saint Joseph’s French school where she was immersed in the study of French language and literature. Since her arrival in Melbourne, she has published a prodigious body of work including poetry collections, short stories and an autobiography in three volumes – all in Greek. She also has a PhD in Linguistics and speaks many languages. This chapbook is Erma’s first entrance into the wider scene of Anglophone poetry.

In the introduction to this book Helen Nickas writes:   “... these poems are an outpouring of strong passion intermingled with irony and quick wit. They are also an ode to love in its many facets, with desire being at its core. And they are nothing like what she has written before in Greek. It seems that by writing in English, she was freeing herself of any constrictions and was willing to experiment. Erma is what Antigone Kefala has called a ‘flamboyant’ poet, and Australian poetry can and should be able to embrace new poets whose first language is not English.

 

 

 

 

Author: George Vassilacopoulos
Translator: Peter Lyssiotis
Title: the pleasure of exile (Greek-English)
Date of publication: 2017

George Vassilacopoulos is the Convenor of the Philosophy Programme at La Trobe University where he teaches Greek and modern European and Greek philosophy. He is the author of articles and books on philosophy and political activism. His first book of poem in Greek is titled I mnimi tou episkepti [The visitor’s memory] and was published in a limited edition by Eothinon Publications in 2000 in Melbourne.

Peter Lyssiotis, the translator into English of this book, writes in his introduction: “There is a silence in George Vassilacopoulos’ writing. However, it is not a hollow silence in which nothing happens – rather it’s a cinematic silence... he seems to say: Listen; there is nothing there. But listen again and you may recognise in that silence where you stand in relation to this world.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Anna Couani
Title: thinking process
Date of publication: 2017

Anna Couani is a Sydney writer and visual artist who runs an art gallery in the inner Sydney suburb of Glebe. Couani was also a small press publisher (Sea Cruise Books) and feminist activist. Her first books, Italy, (1977) and Were all Women Sex-Mad? (1982) (both by Rigmarole Books) were followed by several more including The Harbour Breathes (Sea Cruise/Masterthief, Sydney 1990) and The Western Horizon (a serial novel in Heat magazine). Her most recent publication is a poetry book Small Wonders in bilingual form – English and Chinese – (Flying Islands Books, Macao).

Mark Roberts writes in his introduction to this book: “For Anna the “thinking process” revolves around making art, whether it is the writing of the poems, the making of a visual art that the poems describe, or the process of making space for the world of art and imagination... it is an important book full of finely crafted poems by a writer and artist who has played a critical, if under appreciated, role in the Sydney and wider Australian cultural scene for many decades.”

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Zeny Giles
Title: Parables
Date of publication: 2017

Zeny (Doratis) Giles is one of the first women of Greek descent in Australia to write about the migrant experience. Her father migrated to Australia from Cyprus, her mother from the island of Castellorizo. Zeny has published a number of short stories and novels, the latest being Wedding Dance (2009) and Daughters of Castellorizo (2013) which focus especially on the Castellorizians, who came to Australia in the early years of the 20th Century. Her poetry publications include Blackbutt Honey (2005) and A Little More Honey (2016). Zeny Giles has also featured in many anthologies of short stories and poetry.

In her introduction to Parables, poet Dael Allison writes:  “The word parable carries a spiritual weight but it can also mean, more simply, a short moral story, something from which we can glean insights. Zeny Giles, with her parables of yarn, the household washing, family and friendship, offers us insights into daily experience...” Allison concludes that for Giles, “the practice of poetry involves finding what meaning, complexity and grace can be found in simple things.”

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Dimitris Troaditis
Translator: Dean Kalimniou
Title: Tightrope Walking (Greek-English)
Date of publication: 2017

Dimitris Troaditis was born in Athens in 1959 and migrated to Melbourne in 1992. He runs the poetry website To Koskino (https://tokoskino.me/). Three poetry books of his were published in Greek by publishing houses in Athens. The present chapbook is in bilingual form and marks Troaditis’ first book appearance in the Australian literary scene.

The translator Dean Kalimniou is a widely published Greek-Australian poet in his own right and translator of many books of poetry and prose into English or Greek.

Dean Kalimniou begins his introduction thus: ‘Akrovasies’, renderable in English as “tight-rope walking,” literally signifies walking on tiptoes. In the present volume, the poet Dimitris Troaditis takes the reader upon a journey through a world poised precariously upon a knife-edge, a world in which one steps through unguided and at their peril.” Kalimniou contends that the poet’s words “drench the page with the force of a torrent. Expressions and images swirl and eddy around each other ... threatening to sweep away the reader upon their contrapuntal tides. In so doing, the poet is artfully conveying to us the bewildering force of modern urban life itself, as it assails us with all its “rains and hurricanes”.