Photo: Nikos Kokkalias
Kiki Dimoula was born in Athens in 1931, and is one of the most acclaimed Greek poets writing today. She worked for the Bank of Greece for 25 years, until 1974. She married the poet Athos Dimoulas in 1954, two years after the publication of her first poems.
Since then she has published numerous collections, with her most recent one, The Finder’s Reward appearing in 2010. Kiki Dimoula has won State Poetry Prizes twice (in 1972 for ‘The Little of the World’ and in 1989 for ‘Farewell Never’) as well as many other awards in the course of a long and distinguished career, including a Prix from the Association Capitale Européenne des Littératures in March 2010. Since 2002, Dimoula is a full member of the Academy of Athens – only the third woman to be accepted. Her poetry has been translated into French, German, Swedish, Danish, Spanish and many other languages.
The Brazen Plagiarist, her Selected Poems in the English translations of Cecile Inglessis Margellos & Rika Lesser, appeared last year from Yale University Press.
An aphorism whose harshness
afflicts this photo-
graph in front of me
where I seem to be chilly
though warmly dressed,
my winter coat on me –
I’ve even taken care to raise up the collar
though cautions of this kind
mostly attend to appearances
rather than protect us from the cold.
My hands are firmly kept
inside my pockets.
Not because of the weather.
It is punishment, because they gave me away.
I stand before a wine dark sea; she allows
some depth, she traces my weaknesses
while my gaze, withdrawn,
inside its frowned self.
So this is how you portrayed me.
Accurately, the way I was.
A shame really.
If you were inspired, rather
to take off my coat
then this could easily have been Spring
the scene in front of you, a flowering
and there’d be more senses in what I say here.
© English translation Paschalis Nikolaou
[From the collection We’ve Moved Next Door,
Athens: Ikaros, 2007]
Published with the permission of Paschalis Nikolaou