Phoebe Giannisi

Phoebe Giannisi

Phoebe Giannisi was born in Athens (1964). She has studied architecture, NTUA (1988) and she has a PhD in « Langues, Histoire et Civilisations des Mondes Anciens », University of Lyon II- Lumière (1994). She is currently assistant professor at the School of Architecture of the University of Thessaly in Volos, Greece.

She had published four poetry books (Sea urchins: Athens, 1995, Ramazan: Athens, 1997, Loops: Nefeli, 2005 and recently, Homerica: Kedros, 2009). For other poems translated in english, see:

From her university years she is publishing litterature: she was co-publisher and writer for the literature magazine Black Museum (Mavro Mouseio 1986-1990). She had also translated poems by Gerhard Falkner, Barbara Koehler, Gregor Laschen, Jesper Svenbro, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Joseph Mosconi, Andrew Maxwell, Valerie Coulton.

She is interested on the theory of ancient Greek poetry, and more generally on lyric poetry and poetics. (Related publications: Phoebe Giannisi, Récits des Voies. Chant et Cheminement en Grèce archaïque: Jérôme Millon Grenoble, 2006).

Lastly, part of her poetic activity is poetic recitation done in situ as performance, and recording. Other books: Classical Greek Architecture, (co-author ?.Tzonis): Flammarion, 2004 and Urban Void (Collective book): Futura, 2008.


The sea immovable sea
turned to steam steaming azure
overseen by mountains flat unmoving sea
still ships lifted up
you will suck them in o sea you’ll spit them out
onto dry land you’ll break them
the immobile ships
now you receive them up in the sky
suspended by threaded ropes
invisible cords
the ships hang my heart is hovering

from Loops, Athens , Nefeli, 2005

Phoebe Giannisi
© Translation by Konstantine Matsoukas


she who plants herself
always she who plants
and as we know
she who refused to be supplanted
to surrender to a man
fire water wind
tree tiger bird
lion snake cuttlefish
until one day at Cape Sepia a mortal
held her tightly
with a steady grip conquered his prey
and through love consumed her
leaving only her white bone
the cuttlefish bone on the beach
washed clean by waves
Thetis is no longer there
she is blowing a bullhorn from the depths
of the sea
a cone a big shell echoing
these words that say
“despite all the ink I squirted
a man has devoured me
me a goddess he a mortal”
the warrior always comes back dead

from Homerica, Athens, Kedros, 2009

Phoebe Giannisi
© Translation by Joseph Mosconi & Richard Pierce

Published with the permission of Phoebe Giannisi