Δευτέρα 12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2022

ΣΤΟ 34ο ΛΟΓΟΤΕΧΝΙΚΟ ΦΕΣΤΙΒΑΛ HOPKINS ΤΗΣ ΙΡΛΑΝΔΙΑΣ ΤΟ GIORGOS CHRISTODOULIDES SELECTED POEMS 1996-2021

Στην πολίχνη Newbridge της ιρλανδικής κομητείας Kildare διεξήχθη την εβδομάδα 22-29 Ιουλίου το ετήσιο Διεθνές Λογοτεχνικό Φεστιβάλ Gerard Manley Hopkins. Στο Φεστιβάλ, που φέτος συμπληρώνει 34 χρόνια ζωής, συμμετέχουν πανεπιστημιακοί και μελετητές που αναδεικνύουν τη σύγχρονη πρόσληψη της ποίησης του Χόπκινς (1844–1889), Άγγλου ποιητή και ιησουΐτη ιερέα, ο οποίος το 1884 διορίστηκε Καθηγητής Ελληνικής Λογοτεχνίας στο Πανεπιστήμιο του Δουβλίνου. 

Αν και δημοσίευσε ελάχιστους στίχους πριν τον πρόωρο θάνατό του από τυφοειδή πυρετό, ο Χόπκινς καταξιώθηκε όταν το έργο του εκδόθηκε στις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα σε επιμέλεια του τότε δαφνοστεφούς ποιητή Ρόμπερτ Μπρίτζες. Η καινοτόμα εισαγωγή τού αυξομειωτικού προσωδιακού στοιχείου, γνωστού ως sprung rhythm, καθώς και μια ρωμαλέα εικονοποιητική ερμηνεία του θεϊκού μυστηρίου, ήταν σημαντικά στοιχεία που καθιέρωσαν και κατοχύρωσαν την ποιητική υστεροφημία του Χόπκινς, ο οποίος άσκησε σημαντική επιρροή σε επιφανείς λογοτέχνες όπως ο Τ.Σ. Έλιοτ, ο Γ.Χ. Όντεν και ο Ντύλαν Τόμας. 

 Εκτός από τις συγκριτικές αναλύσεις της ποίησης του Χόπκινς, που φέτος περιλάμβανε συσχετισμούς με το έργο του Ουώλτ Ουίτμαν και της Έμιλι Ντίκινσον, το Φεστιβάλ πρόσφερε επισκέψεις σε χώρους πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς και μνημεία της Ιρλανδίας, ανάμεσα στα οποία ξεχωρίζει ο ανάγλυφος Σταυρός του Μουν (Moone High Cross), ύψους 7 μ., που ανάγεται στον 8ο ή στον 9ο αιώνα μ.Χ. και αναπαριστά βιβλικές σκηνές με θαυμαστή δεξιοτεχνία. Σε ειδική ενότητα του Φεστιβάλ, που προσελκύει μελετητές, σπουδαστές αλλά και φίλους του βιβλίου γενικότερα, παρουσιάζονται νέες εκδόσεις οι οποίες προτείνονται από την καλλιτεχνική επιτροπή. Φέτος, η Κύπρος είχε την τιμητική της, καθώς στο πλαίσιο του Φεστιβάλ παρουσιάστηκε η αγγλική έκδοση ποιημάτων του Γιώργου Χριστοδουλίδη, σε μετάφραση Δέσποινας Πυρκεττή, που φέρει τον τίτλο Giorgos Christodoulides Selected Poems 1996-2021 (Εκδόσεις Αρμίδα.) 

To βιβλίο παρουσιάστηκε από τον ελληνιστή Ιρλανδό ποιητή Ντέσμοντ Ήγκαν, ο οποίος υπηρετεί επί μακρόν ως καλλιτεχνικός διευθυντής του Φεστιβάλ. Στην ομιλία του, ο Ήγκαν, που έχει μεταφράσει στα αγγλικά τον Φιλοκτήτη του Σοφοκλή και τη Μήδεια του Ευριπίδη, τόνισε ότι η συγκεκριμένη έκδοση, η οποία διατρέχει οκτώ ποιητικές συλλογές αλλά και αρκετά ανέκδοτα ποιήματα του Χριστοδουλίδη, σηματοδοτεί την πιο ώριμη στιγμή του Κύπριου δημιουργού. «Η ποίησή του», σημείωσε ο Ήγκαν, «συνιστά έναν ποιητικό χορό με την απώλεια και τον θάνατο, αποτυπώνεται με εξωλογικούς στίχους αναπάντεχης αμφισημίας και καταθέτει ποιήματα κατασταλαγμένα σαν σταλακτίτες». Σημείωσε ότι πρόκειται για μια άρτια, καλαίσθητη έκδοση και προέβλεψε ότι το βιβλίο θα τύχει θερμής υποδοχής στην Ιρλανδία. Στην αντιφώνησή του, ο Γ. Χριστοδουλίδης ευχαρίστησε την καλλιτεχνική επιτροπή για τη σημαντική πρόσκληση, μίλησε για το πώς ο ίδιος αντιλαμβάνεται το καθήκον του ποιητή και απάγγειλε ποιήματά του στα ελληνικά. 

Η παρουσίαση έκλεισε με σχόλια της Δ. Πυρκεττή για τη μεταφραστική διαδικασία και με απαγγελία ποιημάτων στα αγγλικά. 

Cypriot poet featured in Ireland’s Hopkins International Festival 

The 34th edition of the Gerard Manley Hopkins International Festival took place in Newbridge, Kildare between 22-29 July. One of Ireland’s foremost literary events, the Festival celebrates the life and work of Hopkins, English poet and Jesuit priest (1844–1889) who in 1884 was appointed professor of Greek Literature at University College, Dublin. Even though only few of Hopkins’s verses were printed before his untimely death of typhoid fever, his collected works were published in 1918 by Robert Bridges, then poet laureate, and went on to exert significant influence on such eminent poets as T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden and Dylan Thomas. Hopkins’s innovative use of the prosodic element of “sprung rhythm” as well as his vibrant synthesis of personal experiences, astute observation of nature and engagement with the divine mystery are commemorated to this day, poignantly revisited by contemporary poets and scholars alike. 

In addition to comparative analyses of Hopkins’s poetry, which this year included presentations of his literary rapports with Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson – by William Adamson (Bamberg Uni.) and Brett Millier (Middlebury College, USA) respectively – the Festival offered visits to Ireland’s cultural sites and ancient monuments, perhaps the most impressive of which was the 18 ft. Celtic Cross of Moone in County Kildare, an 8th or 9th c. richly-carved granite monument. A Youth Programme, directed by Derek Egan, ran in parallel with the main events, alongside book launches and international poetry readings. 

This year, Cyprus was featured among the participating countries, as Armida’s Giorgos Christodoulides Selected Poems 1996-2021 was launched by the Festival’s Artistic Director, acclaimed Irish poet Desmond Egan. Egan has been acquainted with Christodoulides’s poetry since 2005, but the Cypriot poet’s recent English edition, in a vibrant translation by Despina Pirketti, has shed new light on his body of work. The book features poems drawn from eight collections of poetry as well as anecdotal poems -- all of which, according to Egan, “exemplify the mature Christodoulides style: that distinctive mixture of the whimsical and a Cypriot version of the surreal, where a drawer may hold bones or a lollipop.” Christodoulides addressed the Festival’s participants with remarks on the poet’s task, followed by readings of his work in both Greek and English. Caption: Desmond Egan launches Christodoulides’s Selected Poems in Newbridge College Theatre

 

Τρίτη 16 Αυγούστου 2022

STEPHANOS STEPHANIDES* - EXPANDING THE SOUNDSCAPE OF SPACE: THE POETRY OF G.CHRISTODOULIDES IN AND OUT OF TRANSLATION

Speech at book launch of Giorgos Christodoulides Selected Poems 1996-2021, Roes, Nicosia, 22.06.2022

  *Academic professor, poet, translator, critic, ethnographer, documentary film maker

I am honoured and delighted at the invitation to speak at the launch of this book of poems by Giorgos Christodoulides in the English translation of Despina Pirketti.  The book commemorates twenty-five years of Giorgos’ poetry (1996-2021) and my life has crossed with Despina and Giorgos for most of those years – the beginning of our friendship was when Despina was in my MA Seminar in Comparative Literature around the beginning of the 21st century.   The beginning of our di
alogue and friendship focused largely on questions and debates of what is World Literature? and What is Translation?  

 

At that time, Despina also shared with me one of Giorgos’ poetry book (I believe it was his second – then newly published).    It was the beginning of a long-lasting and strong literary kinship among the three of us and Despina as the translator of both our works, played a significant role in mediating this literary kinship.   A powerful role to play and only possible through the agency of someone who understands translation as a powerful literary mode or genre in its own right. 

 

I would like to suggest that the ‘world’ in ‘world literature’ cannot be taken as given, since it is the performative outcome of our own interventions that makes a world.  Whether as writers or translators we perform language in a way that enables our claims on our embodied memory through the multiple mediations of the imagination. Translation is one such performative intervention whose impact and outcome might inject literature with a new energy.  Despina – as a writer for theatre and television – is very much aware that translation is like taking a script from one place and space, and making it perform in another.   

 

It is noteworthy that in Middle English the word ‘autor’ and ‘actor’ were often confused.  She knows only too well that she needs to put aside the tired concepts of fidelity and equivalence, and give her attention to kinship –like Walter Benjamin asserts in The Task of the Translator – translatability is in kinship not in mimesis – a kinship that catches fire on the ‘magical moments’, fan the sparks and gives new life.  Translation has to allow unpredictable movements and affective allegiances that can open up new spaces through translation.  

As Despina says in her introduction:  ‘translation as bold intervention prompted by informed reading is a dynamic process of endorsing the polyphony of the cosmos;’  this indeed is the only way to translate Christodoulides she says, because his poetry “nurtures decentralises notions and gestures;  he has affinities with disruptive irreverent thinkers and is in awe of disjunctive episodes that only pretend to be whole.”  This is illustrated by the lines in the opening poem: 

 

In the moment

When the cup falls to the floor

And smashes into a hundred shards

You realize the value of wholeness

 

 

Despina rightly notes in her Ιntroduction that Giorgos expresses hesitations about the  possibility of poetic language to effect change. Yet we could also say that this impossibility is counterbalanced by the commitment to writing itself, which holds promise for fulfillment. Even though the promise may never be fulfilled, the promise gives new life in a quest for a language we want to inhabit. The poet is haunted and shell shocked with the fractured reality of history yet poetry serves as an affirmation and antidote to apathy through the experience of felt life and of love. The path of the poet is radical indeterminacy with a fractured consciousness whose perspective is vibrant yet uncertain.  Yet both the poet and the translator write on the edges of language in continuous experimentation.

 

In the cramped space of islands such as our own, lost in a labyrinth of of time/space compressions we bring dissimilarities next to each other, and modes of noncomprehension, a charged speechlessness with osmotic moments that re-imagine what has been denied or excluded.  As Despina says:  the Cypriot landscape is defined by what it lacks. And as an island we are surrounded by the permeability of the sea – where one may escape, crossing ‘the line of no return’ as in ‘Sea of Happiness’.  And: 

 

Drenched, you return,

Distant and uncanny,

 

The sea allows us to shift the boundaries by redistributing tensions and affective connections of language in personal and cultural memory, by exploring the edges of language in the cosmopolitan and the vernacular, the national and the mythical, attempting to be here, there, elsewhere at the same time, and taking real or imaginative lines of flight beyond.  

As Despina notes, wings take on significant metaphoric value in Giorgos’ work as ‘symbols of divine dexterity and refined humanity.’  In the poem the ‘Adventure of Poetry’ he says:

 

“Trainee butterflies/

elevate me up to the mountains of Troodos

in the curves of the blooming almond trees.

human twigs welcome me.  

They want to show me

that beauty is defeated

without love

And that’s why

the ending to a story like mine

might be ambiguous.  

 

Let me read Giorgos’ poem A magical moment.  His voice is subdued and minimalist yet looking for moments to burst out – the moment of poetry hovering and haunting – suspended.   

 

 

In thinking about writing and translation practice, I think of a tetra-lingual model for the spatiotemporal categories: vernacular (here), vehicular (everywhere), referential (over there), and mythical (beyond), and how the interaction of these work to imaginatively and creatively construct the languages we inhabit and our sense of being in the world both spatially and temporally. Kafka (in a letter to Max Brod of June 1921) speaks of his predicament of writing as a choice among the impossibilities of writing in Czech, or in Yiddish or in German, the impossibility of not writing, the impossibility of writing.  This suggests a condition of intimate estrangement in the language in which one writes, making other voices vibrate within through the neural correlates of consciousness and our affective relationship to different languages. Giorgos states:

 

A large part of me is made of others;

Their remnants fray

Rubbing off one me

like the dry scales of an African cobra. 

 

And in the Clang of Words (for his son Orestes) he says:

 

I give him words each morning,

Words of love,

To take with him

To have and to hold

When the clang of foreign words

Closes in on him,  

 

I would therefore place myself in the camp of poets like Josef Brodsky (among many others) who say that ‘poetry is found in translation’ rather than Frost’s statement that ‘poetry is what is lost in translation.’  Many writers of world literature are often in the vanguard in these debates, bringing new challenges to myths and stories of origin, and translation is often used (metaphorically or otherwise) as a foundational practice rather than a derivative practice.  Jorge Luis Borges irreverently and ironically states in one of his essays: “the original is unfaithful to the translation (1999, 106),”[1] (with reference to Henley’s English translation of Beckford’s “Vathek” written in French.)

 


Translation may give new life to the text as counterpoint by probing through the gaps of language and perceiving the difference.  In this way, translation refracts, disperses and bends sound, like a prism does with light. It creates a third space. Borges brings translation to the centre of literary practice in a number of essays by emphasizing that texts (translation or writing) are only versions or drafts that create transformations and a repertoire of possibilities, in other words literariness itself, and the idea that translations are inferior is our superstition (or founded in theology such as in the story of the Septuagint, and the translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek).

 

Writers and translators embody an impossible desire to find a pre- or post-Babelian condition, while in our worldly condition we live in a ‘Poétique de la relation’ as Edouard Glissant would have it.   Our experience has been shaped by personal and affective immersion in felt life, in the specificity of places where we have lived, and the claims that places have made on our embodied memory and the multiple mediations of the imagination across distance and dispersion, a movement and process that requires mediation. 

 

As writers we probe differences in the play of literary language, and this is repeated/doubled in translation while sharpening awareness of the literary and linguistic economies of exchange.   In this constant and unpredictable movement, translation like poetry opens up new spaces:

 

In Giorgos’ words:

 

I drill a hole into the lining of the day

And my years spill out

Like change of an unraveled pocket

 

I expand the soundscape of my space

By tossing furniture out the window

My house empties with pleasing echoes



[1]     “el original es infiel a la traduccion“ Borges, Obras Completas vol II, p. 109.

 

Τρίτη 2 Αυγούστου 2022

DESMOND EGAN : "HAVING ADMIRED YOUR COLLECTED POEMS..."

Letter invitation by Desmond Egan

George Christodoulides Poet
Despina Pirketti. Translator
 
On behalf of the Hopkins International Festival I wish to invite you to represent Cyprus at our 34th International Festival
‘The best Literary Festival in Ireland’ (Editor, The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature).
This will be opened on Friday July 22 and runs until Thursday 28 c.f. our website.
 
Some 20 countries will participate and we hope you can represent Cyrus.
Having admired your Collected Poems, we would ask you to read from the book at our International Reading and also at an evening ev
ent. We would also like to offer an official Launch for the book, during the Festival, with you reading a few original poems and Ms Pirketti translating.
 
Desmond Egan M.A. D.Litt.
Artistic Directory

Δευτέρα 27 Ιουνίου 2022

GURGENC KORKMAZEL:ON HOPE AND DEATH-REMARKS ON GIORGOS CHRISTODOULIDES' POETRY (GR AND ENG)

 Gürgenç Korkmazel*:Για την ποίηση του Γ. Χριστοδουλίδη: Ελπίδα και Θάνατος

 

Μιλάω με αφορμή την κυκλοφορία της πρώτης συλλογής ποιημάτων του Γιώργου Χριστοδουλίδη στα αγγλικά. Εγώ προσωπικά περίμενα καιρό γι’ αυτό το βιβλίο.

Ανακάλυψα την ποίηση του Γιώργου όταν ετοίμαζα την Ανθολογία Ελληνοκυπριακής Ποίησης. Είχα συμπεριλάβει συνολικά πέντε ποιήματά του στην Ανθολογία και ήξερα από τότε ότι είναι ο καλύτερος ποιητής της γενιάς του.


Υπάρχουν διάφοροι λόγοι που εξηγούν από πού προέρχεται η δύναμη της ποίησής του· εδώ θα ήθελα να επικεντρωθώ σε δύο. Ο  πρώτος λόγος είναι η ελπίδα. Κατ’ ακρίβειαν, η αντι-ελπίδα. Όπως ξέρετε, η ελπίδα είναι θρησκευτική  επινόηση: από τους πρώτους αιώνες, οι θρησκείες επικαλούνταν την ελπίδα για να μουδιάσουν τον λαό. Στη  συνέχεια, η ελπίδα έγινε έρμαιο στα χέρια πολιτικών κομμάτων, που  είχαν μαθητεύσει στα κελεύσματα των θρησκειών. Ακόμη και σήμερα την διακηρύττουν για να κερδίσουν εκλογές, αλλά η ελπίδα πέθανε πριν από καιρό: οι πρώτες που την σκότωσαν ήταν η επιστήμη και η φιλοσοφία. Μπορεί λοιπόν η ελπίδα να έχει πεθάνει, αλλά συνεχίζει να συζητιέται καθημερινά και πανταχού, αφού επιτήδειοι προσπαθούν να εξαπατήσουν τον λαό με ελπίδες. Στη χειρότερη περίπτωση, ο ίδιος ο λαός προσπαθεί να εξαπατηθεί με ελπίδες.

Στην ποίηση του Γιώργου υπάρχει μια σχεδόν ολική έκλειψη ελπίδας· δεν είναι κάτι  που τον απασχολεί. Παρόλ’ αυτά, η ποίησή του δεν είναι σκοτεινή, ζοφερή και απεγνωσμένη. Στη θέση της ελπίδας, τοποθετεί ομορφιά και περιέργεια – δύο ιδιότητες που, κατά τη γνώμη μου, είναι πολύ πιο χρήσιμες. Επίσης, πίσω από αυτή τη ρεαλιστική «ανέλπιδη» πρόσοψη, ο Γιώργος κρύβει ένα κατεργάρικο παιδί, που βγάζει τη γλώσσα του στον κόσμο. Από εκεί απορρέει η αίσθηση τού χιούμορ, που διαπνέει ποιήματα όπως Η Μοζαμβίκη είναι η πλουσιότερη χώρα του κόσμου και Ο Τσαρλς Μπουκόβσκι μού κλέβει το βιβλίο του.

Ο δεύτερος λόγος πίσω από τη δύναμη της ποίησης του Γιώργου είναι ο θάνατος. Νομίζω πως όλοι γνωρίζουμε ότι ο θάνατος είναι το  χρυσωρυχείο της  ποίησης. Ακόμα και  όταν γράφουμε για τη ζωή, γράφουμε εν αγνοία μας για τον θάνατο. Ζωή και θάνατος δεν είναι δύο ξεχωριστές ή αντικρουόμενες έννοιες: συνυπάρχουν, είναι αδιαχώριστες. Όπως και σε πολλές κοινωνίες, έτσι και στη δική μας, ο θάνατος αποτελεί ταμπού. Έχουμε υιοθετήσει μια πολύ νοσηρή στάση απέναντι στον θάνατο, και έχω την εντύπωση ότι αυτή η νοσηρότητα αποτελεί σοβαρή αιτία κατάθλιψης στη σύγχρονη εποχή. Ζούμε σαν να μην πρόκειται να πεθάνουμε, γι’ αυτό και χάνουμε σημαντικές ευκαιρίες, σπαταλώντας τεράστια κομμάτια απ’ τη ζωή μας. Εν πάση περιπτώσει, αυτό που προσπαθώ να πω είναι ότι χρειαζόμαστε την ποίηση για να μας θυμίζει ότι ο θάνατος περιμένει στη γωνία και ότι είμαστε περαστικοί. Χρειαζόμαστε ποιητές όπως τον Γιώργο για να μας το θυμίζουν, για να γράφουν ποιήματα που μας προετοιμάζουν για τον θάνατο.

 Μετάφραση από τα αγγλικά: Δέσποινα Πυρκεττή 

 

Gürgenç Korkmazel γεννήθηκε στο χωριό Σταυροκόννου της Πάφου το 1969. Είναι ποιητής και μεταφραστής. Έχει εκδώσει έξι ποιητικές  συλλογές και δύο συλλογές  διηγημάτων. Το 2017 κυκλοφόρησε ανθολόγιο ποιημάτων του, σε ελληνική μετάφραση Αγγελικής Δημουλή, με τίτλο Η Τελευταία Μέρα του Αρθούρου Ρεμπώ στο νησί (Εκδόσεις Βακχικόν, Αθήνα

 

          ********

On Hope and Death:Gürgenç Korkmazel on the poetry of Giorgos Christodoulides

 

This is a tribute to Giorgos Christodoulides: Selected Poems (Armida, 2021) Giorgos’ first poetry book in English. Personally, I have long waited for this book. 

I discovered Giorgos’ poetry when I was preparing the Anthology of Greek Cypriot Poetry. Even by looking at the five poems which I included in the anthology, I could tell that he was the best poet of his generation.   

Of course, there are many reasons that may explain where the strength of his poetry comes from, but I would like to focus on two: the first one is hope. I mean anti-hope actually. As you know, hope is a religious invention. Since the early centuries, religions have used it to numb people. Afterwards, political parties started to use it, as they had learned it from religions. Even today they still preach about hope to win elections, however, hope died a long time ago (firstly, science and philosophy killed it.) Hope is dead, but they still talk about it every day, everywhere. They are trying to deceive the people with hope. Even worse, people deceive themselves with hope.       

There is almost no hope in Giorgos’ work. However, his poetry is not dark and bleak. Instead of hope, he uses the concepts of beauty and curiosity, which are, in my opinion, much more useful than hope. Also, behind this realistic ‘no hope’ facade, he has a mischievous child sticking his tongue out to the world. That’s where his sense of humour comes from. We can see this in poems like Mozambique is the wealthiest county in the world, and Charles Bukowski steals his book from me.  


 

The second reason is death. We all know that death is a goldmine for poetry. Even when we write about life, we are writing about death without knowing it. Life and death are not separate, or against each other, but they are one and inseparable. Like in many societies, death is a taboo in our society too. We have adopted very unhealthy attitudes towards death (I consider this to be one of the main reasons of depression in modern times.) We are living as if we are not going to die and because of this we miss important opportunities and, in the end, we waste important parts of our life. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that we need poetry to remind us that we are transient. And we need poets like Giorgos to teach us better attitudes towards death.  

Until today he has published eight poetry books. Now I’m really curious about the ninth one and as usual I trust Despina Pirketti for the translation.   

 

Gürgenç Korkmazel is a 1969 Paphos born poet, writer and translator. Since 1992 he has published six poetry books and three short story collections. He has prepared the Anthology of Greek Cypriot Poetry, and an Anthology of Turkish Cypriot Short Stories. Also, he has translated poems by Taner Baybars, John Clare and Lawrence Durrell. His books have been published in Nicosia, Istanbul and Athens. His selected poems are available in Greek translation by Angeliki Dimouli under the title The Last Day of Arthur Rimbault on the Island (Vakxikon Editions, Athens, 2017)