Cloe Koutsoubelis

Cloe Koutsoubelis

Cloe Koutsoubelis was born in Thessaloniki in 1962 and graduated from the Aristoteleion University with a diploma in law. She has published six books of poetry. Relations of Silence, Egnantia Publishers, 1984, The Night is a Whale, Loxias Publishers, 1990, Departure of Lady Leda, Nea Poreia Publishers, 2004, The Lake, the Garden and Loss, Nea Poreia, 2006, The Fox and the Red Dance, Gavliilidis, 2009, In the Ancient World Evening Comes Late, Gavriilidis, 2012. She has also published a novel, Whispering, Paratiritis, 2002 and a play Orpheus in the Bar, Parodos Publishers, 2005.

Her poems and short stories have appeared in various literary magazines in Greece and abroad. Cloe’s poems have been translated into French, Italian and English. She is a member of the Thessaloniki Company of Authors. She’s the vice president of the Writer’s Company of Thessaloniki and a member of the Writers Company and Circle of Poets. She was awarded the National Poetry Prize of Greece in 2019.


Neo-Hellene Poets – An anthology by Manolis Aligizakis
Poems below from:

Neo-Hellene Poets – An Anthology of
Modern Greek Poetry 1750-2018

An anthology of poets by Manolis Aligizakis
paperback 6/9 (& Kindle Edition)
817 pages



The oracle wasn’t distinct enough or I didn’t understand it.
I hoped then, I hoped again.
With swollen feet, blind, I started off
Sphinx was at the station waiting for me
desperately I asked the same riddle
while I was asking it turned into stone
to dissolve into dust at the end.

Not even she could deny me for a second time.

© English translation: Manolis Aligizakis


She knows by now
the Sirens aren’t fools
they sing as they think of creating art
nor the old Circe in her lust
hidden in windbags forever sealed
nor the misbehaving Nausica
trapped in the wrong age
in white socks and childish dresses
nor the Laestrygonians nor the lotus
that keep him away from her
or Poseidon’s petty angers
and the mix-ups with his old companions.
Penelope knows by now
her last message will remain unanswered
they’ll never talk to each other again
logic compels him to stay away from her,
all over her
suitors drink raki
and roll like lions in the arena
males who sniff lust
and define space with their arrows.
And Odysseus?
Penelope doesn’t remember of him anymore.
Only that one night she slept with a stranger
and when she asked of his name
he answered: I’m no one

© English translation: Manolis Aligizakis


When Antigone leaves she always forgets something.
A lacy glove on the satin bed-sheet,
a steamy drop of lemon
on the cheek of a friend,
a stolen touch on a lover’s arm
a lip-mark on the porcelain tea-cup
when she drinks hastily.
Antigone forgets
the gauzy handkerchief moistened
by the sudden momentary tears
the little umbrella in the fragile rain.
Antigone forgets
the rustle of her dress when she walks
the fan that changes her seasons.
Antigone always forgets something
and for this she always leaves.
Only some nights
as she starts remembering things
she sprinkles ashes on her hair
buries herself in her cave
and laments for the unburied dead.

© English translation: Manolis Aligizakis


I’ll wait for you
in a station not yet built
in that center of loneliness
where condors swirl around the trains
where bald babies wail loudly.
You’ll come
with a train no longer in service
without brakes nor engineer
a train that rolls among the stars.
When you disembark you won’t hug me
you won’t tell me I love you
you’ll only raise your hand
and you’ll rearrange tenderly the collar
of my worn out overcoat.

© English translation: Manolis Aligizakis


I’m guilty, I confess.
The last poem I wrote for you.
Mitigating circumstances: the rain,
the endless cigarettes, alcohol
perhaps even your body
memory of what never happened.
In reality I wrote about some other things:
for that story in the Garden
that you never had the courage
you never learned
you never asked
and last night, I confess
I wrote a verse for you
sorrowful and naked
in this smudgy and always half finished
poem of my life.

© English translation: Manolis Aligizakis


I purchased a train ticket
to come and find you.
So simple to get onto a train
with the operator, the money collector, other passengers
rails touching the ground
and all stops pre-announced.
I forgot how black the train of love is.
It burns coal and every hope
with a blind eye and a gaping mouth
an orchid engine forever hungry
it groans rhythmically
like a gigantic serpent
in and out the fearful tunnels.
I forgot how lonely the train of love is.
The inspector often
validates the tickets
and the money collector
a wax resemblance
always waiting at the station.

I purchased a train ticket
to come and find you.
As if I didn’t know the voyage is always the same
and who to look for in the deserted station.

© English translation: Manolis Aligizakis

Published with the permission of Cloe Koutsoubelis & Manolis Aligizakis