Tasos Livaditis was born in Athens April 20, 1922, son of Lyssandros Livaditis and Vasiliki Kontoloulou. He was enrolled in the Law School of the University of Athens. German occupation interrupted his studies and his involvement with the Resistance and the political party EPON. His father, bankrupt by this time died during the occupation years and while the poet was exiled in Makronisos his mother also died.
In 1946 he got married to Maria Stoupa, the valuable companion of his life and they had a daughter, Vassiliki. That same year he made his first literary appearance with the publication of his poem The Hatzidimitri Song in Elefthera Grammata. In 1947 he coordinated the release of the literary magazine Themelio. The years 1948-1952 he was exiled in Moudros, Saint Stratis, Makronisos along with all leftist artists and thinkers, Yannis Ritsos, Aris Alexandrou, Manos Katrakis, and many others.
In 1952 his poetry books Battle at the Edge of the Night and This Star is for all of us were noticed. Three years later he was taken by the police because of his book It Blows in the Crossroads of the World but he was acquitted. His book Women with Equine Eyes, 1958, was a landmark in his literary career and his turn into the introverted and existential poetry of his middle life. In 1961 he went on a country tour along with Mikis Theodorakis who presented his poems set in music and Tasos Livaditis interacted with the audience reciting his poems and talking to them. The same year he collaborated with Kosta Kotzias in the writing of the script and the poems for the Alekos Alexandrakis film Neighbourhood of Dreams which was the turning point of Greek cinema but which was censored by the police. Livaditis co-operated with the newspaper Avgi from 1954-1980 with the exception of seven years during the dictatorship of the four colonels. He also worked for the magazine Art Review 1962-1966 where he published a few political reviews and critiques. During the dictatorship 1967-1974 he translated various Greek literary works for commercial magazines in order to earn his living while he reminiscent the old days of the struggle and he reflected at the harshness of modern day life something he couldn’t accept: a stand that reflected in his poetry of those days and in particular in his book Night Visitor. In 1986 he published his book Violets for a Season which is considered his swan song.
He died in Athens, October 30th 1988 of an abdominal aneurism. The rest of his hand written poems were published after his death in a book titled Autumn Handwritings.
He was the recipient of the First Poetry Prize in the World Youth Poetry Festival of Warsaw 1953, the First Poetry Prize of the City of Athens, 1957; the second National Literary Prize for poetry 1976; the First National Literary prize for poetry 1979. Tasos Livaditis was a founding member of the Company of Writers. His verses were set in music by Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Loizos, George Tsagaris and other Greek music composers.
Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) is a Greek-Canadian poet and author. He’s the most prolific writer-poet of the Greek diaspora. At the age of eleven he transcribed the nearly 500 year old romantic poem Erotokritos, now released in a limited edition of 100 numbered copies and made available for collectors of such rare books at 5,000 dollars Canadian: the most expensive book of its kind to this day.
He was recently appointed an honorary instructor and fellow of the International Arts Academy, and awarded a Master’s for the Arts in Literature. He is recognized for his ability to convey images and thoughts in a rich and evocative way that tugs at something deep within the reader. Born in the village of Kolibari on the island of Crete in 1947, he moved with his family at a young age to Thessaloniki and then to Athens, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences from the Panteion University of Athens.
His articles, poems and short stories in both Greek and English have appeared in various magazines and newspapers in Canada, United States, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Australia, Jordan, Serbia and Greece. His poetry has been translated in Romanian, Swedish, German, Hungarian, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish, Serbian, Russian languages and has been published in book form or in magazines in various countries.
His translation George Seferis: Collected Poems was shortlisted for the Greek National Literary Awards the highest literary recognition of Greece. In September 2017 he was awarded the First Poetry Prize at the Mihai Eminescu International Poetry Festival, in Craiova, Romania. His translation of Tasos Livaditis, Volume II was long listed for the 2023 Griffin Poetry Awards.
Manolis was nominated for the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature by the Mihai Eminescu International Academy of Romania.
If one day God started counting what He created:
stars, birds, seeds, rains, mothers, hills,
He would perhaps finish sometime. I sit here,
all alone, in this damp basement while it rains
outside and I count all my mistakes, the battles
I fought, the thirst, the give ins
I count my evil acts, somewhat admirable,
my good deeds
often boasted by luck, I count and I don’t finish
humiliations and dead weight of my soul,
important, nourishing bread of my eternal pain,
all freshness of the future, sing in my joints
when the hunger of thousands of my poor ancestors
chokes my throat
and oh defeats, my companions, you have
momentarily delivered me from the fear of defeat.
I am also a God in my cosmos, in this damp basement,
while it rains outside,
an undecipherable, endless and unforeseen cosmos
a not immortal God at all and
for this I shiver as I long for each and every
one of my unrepeatable moments.
I must, surely, change my life otherwise
I’m lost. However I still have lots of time
I’m still young. If I could escape from this
daily routine, the obligations, habits and
concessions, if I could be not as fast in the excuses,
especially, if I stopped all the endless postponements
then, truly, I could accomplish something; in fact
I would be able to accomplish what I dreamed
when I was a child.
With trembling hands he was writing this
as he was crying one night. Then he felt sleepy
and fell asleep; he vaguely remembered some
of these next morning. In a few years he died.
Everything indicated that our love had ended.
Now our caressing aroused our memory more
than our bodies. However we didn’t want to
admit to it, we carried on blanketing the cracks
of time with oaths, tears and such other beautiful
and futile exaggerations.
Yet that night when we got up and dressed
silently, when you left and I didn’t stop you nor
did I call you back and the bed was left sunken
and empty like a grave seeking its dead,
and you found yourself in the street alone
and I was left all alone in the frosty room
I cried — I cried for a long time as I realized
how foreign we had forever been to each other.
Who are you, then, behind that person who changes
who are you behind your daily actions or behind
the actions you contemplate during the night?
Innumerable persons inside you, each longing for
its existence in killing the others, which one is
Which person that no mirror can present to you?
Abductions, violence, horror, murders that you
didn’t commit control your blood. Each of your
gestures weight heavily as if coming from
a thousand strange unfamiliar destinies.
When you say: I hate, the first murder of the world
is repeated inside you
while the vigilant eyes of your hairy ancestor
look at you ironically from the depth of
© Translations published with the permission of Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis)