Monday, February 17, 2014

Maria Polydouri/ Μαρία Πολυδούρη

Maria Polydouri was born at Kalamata in 1902. After graduating from high school at Gytheion, she studied law for two years at the University of Athens, while working as a civil servant. In 1925 she went to Paris, and stayed there for three years. In 1928 she returned to Athens ill with tuberculosis; she died in 1930. 
Polydouri was a woman of exceptional talent, greatly admired by her contemporaries both for her beauty and poetry. She published two volumes of poetry, Trills That Are Fading (1928), and Echo Into Chaos (1929). In 1961 her Collected Poems and some fragments from her diary were published with an introduction by Lily Zographou.
Polydouri's poetry is the poetry of passionate emotion. Her way of life had much the same quality. Her acquaintance with the great poet Kostas Karyotakis (1896-1928) seems not only to have provided Polydouri with a model for her poetry but to have spurred her on to a fervent involvement with life. Polydouri was haunted by the loss of her childhood, and her themes took the form of an alarming, desperate cry. She wrote her best poems while ill at the sanatorium „Soteria”. These poems were pervaded by a sense of vitality and thirst for life as well as by her great anxiety that life might be an illusion.
Polydouri's poetry is not polished or elaborate but forceful and full of contradictions. Her language at its best provides glimpses of subtlety, elegance and sensibility, and at its worst lapses into monotony and the commonplace. In all, it touches us very deeply as the tragic outcry of a wounded human being. Kostas Ouranis remarked that the poet who wrote these poems "was in great haste to send her message, and what she had to say was more important than her involvement with vain ornaments. The merit they have transcends literature: they pulsate with a feeling which is profoundly human." Polydouri's themes are beauty and innocence, love and death. In the incessant pursuit of her vision, she has offered us a strikingly rhythmical, fluid, and direct poetic voice.

Athan Anagnostopoulos 

Filmul, produs de ERT, despre viața lui Kostas Karyotakis și despre povestea lui de dragoste cu Maria Polydouri poate fi găsit pe YouTube:

Today just before the light filled up the sky, 
far off I heard bells sounding in the city.
Bells . . . why did I notice? As if sowing hate 

the last shadows slowly and dolefully moved on.

Where have I left my sweet, childlike soul,
in what season, with what bell's tune entwined? 

In what season . . . and today to say my prayers 
I stayed on bended knee in sorrow.

A prayer to beauty, to a forgotten mother,
to ignorance, to a smile, to the voice of a dream, 

listening to the day's bell of anguish
which sadly tolled an untimely death.

translated by Georgia Theophillis Noble 

I remember now . . . the memories, floods that drown me, 
wind, darkness.
The words you plucked like flowers, but now they open in me 

bad, deep wounds.

Neither shade, nor dream, which passes
so quickly toward the ruin.
Love, a smoke. Your words, a cloud which sprinkles me 

with drops of sorrow.

My untimely wounds now fester within me.
Memory, a kiss
of betrayal, making some moments of my life smile secretly, 

increasing my despair.

translated by Mollie Boring

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