While scouting for new writing voices, more than often one may come across unforeseen obstacles and many setbacks. This quest, though, has also in store some unique moments, combining the delight of reading, the sense of discovery, as well as the pleasure of embarking on an ongoing literary journey of evolution.
The Literary Stage hosted online by the Entefktirio magazine, in December 2020, showcased a series of new voices that lead the way in this journey. Mataroa handpicks and presents five of these voices.
Giorgos Dynezis is 36 years old and his work has featured in both printed and online literary magazines (Neo Planodion, FRMK, Karyothrafstis). In February 2019, his debut book titled “On foot till the healing comes” (ΤN: translation of the original Greek title) was published by Panopticon editions.
Giorgos Dynezis takes a keen interest on “anything human, both in its liftoff but mostly in its inevitable precipitation; and the brave sorrow pleading eternal allegiance as a kind of lifting crane – as peculiar as that may sound,” he points out. “As I write, my mind keeps replaying the locution ‘res sacra miser’, Seneca’s defense mechanism aiming to shield us against pessimism, but I keep failing, constantly stumbling upon the ‘ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir’, apparently my one and only – as yet – thematic sanctuary.”
As to his authorial influences, he goes on to say: “I only publish the writings in which I do not detect the presence of my beloved poets. In all honesty, though, as much as I may convince myself on their absence, I often admit that it was their impetus that unlocked my verses. For instance, there is poem in my book titled “Of the Atlantic” (TN: translation of the Greek original title). As I was approaching its climax, its untrodden peak, I turned to the ‘heroic verbal dory’ of the Cypriot poet Costas Montis to climb it, whilst elsewhere I resorted to Ungaretti. Only at a later stage did I perceive all this, but even today I feel there was no other way for me to pull it off.”
He is drawn by “qualities, not characters; like the ones he traces in the window of a train heading towards Kawabata’s Snow Country, where ‘a fluorescent eye is reflected on the ocean of the vesper mountains’ like an illusion immersed in yet another illusion, in Liogenniti summoning the dead to ‘sow the sea with wheat’ for it to ‘grow golden awns, cobs and bulbs’, even in Vercors’ ingenious thunderbolt that asserts: ‘it may be inhuman to deny him the mercy of even a single word’.”
Anna-Maria Iakovou graduated from AUTh’s Faculty of Law and went to obtain a second bachelor’s degree from the School of Drama of AUTh’s Faculty of Fine Arts, majoring in Directing and Acting. She was a member of the Art Theater Aktis Aeliou and the Theater Etairotita, as well as a founding member of the Monstrare Art Group. She has teamed up, among others, with the directors Thomas Velissaris, Giannis Moschos, Vassilis Papavassiliou, Nikos Sakalidis. She has written and directed the theatre play Fate staged by Theater Etairotita (2016), as well as the children’s play “Up in Arms” (TN: translation of the original Greek title) staged by Monstrare Art Group (2019), in collaboration with Thomas Velissaris. Her texts and translations of poems have featured on the online literary magazine Vakhikon.
“Playwriting and theatre direction unfold in parallel ways, pumping up one another,” she stresses out. “Playwriting is a pillar of directing, while the experience of directing fuels the process of writing”. She herself was influenced by her contact with both the theatrical stage and poetry. “My theatre and literature points of reference are Euripides, Shakespeare, Bernhard, and the contemporary Germans. However, one’s prevailing context and surrounding reality also plays a pivotal role. We live in a country triggering a wide gamut of stimuli: social, political, existential.”
As to her topics of interest, she goes on to say: “Before the outbreak of the pandemic, I was deeply preoccupied with humanity’s trials and tribulations, as I was foreseeing an upcoming and devastating crisis. In the aftermath of this crisis, my quest has so far taken an inward turn; so, only time can tell. With regard to the style of writing, all of its features are in the process of being shaped. One can detect an attempt to rejuvenate language by the use of simple means, as well as feeling of tragicomedy.”
Nikolas Koutsodontis, born in Athens in 1987, studied Sociology at Panteion University. His poems have been published in both printed and online magazines. Decalcomania (TN: translation of the original Greek title), published by Entypois editions (2017) is his debut poetry collection. In 2018, he was awarded the first prize (ex aecquo with Lenia Zafiropoulou) at the Panhellenic Poetry Contest “George N. Carter”, held by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.
What does poetry mean to him and what does he hope to find through his writing? “To put it is simple words, I am in search of what to do in life, by digging up an inner past and carefully listening to the people around me. As most people who resort to poetry, my aspiration is to grasp the dream, the miracle, as well as the unique sense of the times we’re living in.” The key elements in his writing are “the city, mostly Athens, in its historical and societal momentum as I sense and perceive it, as well as Andros that encompasses a feeling of childhood as my place of origin.”
“Yiannis Ritsos was the source of inspiration that got me ignited,” Nikolas Koutsodontis recalls. “Of course, sociology played its part, too. If I were to drop a few names, I would have to cite the Beat generation, especially Allen Ginsberg, Harold Norse and Gregory Corso, as well as Franck O’ Hara and James Schuyler from the New York School of Poets.”
Christos Oraiopoulos was born in October 1998 in Thessaloniki, where he lives and studies. He is a senior at AUTh’s Faculty of Law. His debut short stories collection titled “Take, Eat” (TN: translation of the original Greek title) was published by Pigi editions.
In his own words: “in my debut short stories collection, the narrative axe was formed out of the combination of two elements. The first one is memory: a large pot containing the experiences and images from my childhood, which I carry inside me up to today. The second one is everything I let go off in my adult years, poured into the pot to spice up the events and images captured through the eyes of my current self. That is the core issue of my writing: to track down and record anything that stirred my interest during the evolutionary journey of my personal glance.”
When asked of his authorial influences, he gives the following answer: “As to this constant brainteaser, my saints and prophets are Truman Capote, Raymond Carver, Angelos Sikelianos, Ernest Hemingway and Nikos Karouzos. Naturally, the mother and the maestro of everything is no other than reading. First and foremost I am a reader, rather than a writer. At least I try to be.”
Ania Voloudi was born in 1987 in Thessaloniki, where she lives and works as a civil engineer. In November 2018, her debut poetry collection titled “The square as the certain outcome” (TN: translation of the original Greek title) was published by Antipodes editions. Her titular short film was screened in the context of her book presentation that took place at MOMus – Experimental Center for the Arts. She has also published two photo fanzines (Void, 2016 & 2017) and is the co-editor of fouit free press focusing on arts and literature.
“Writing and the creation of images are two separate functions. I do not combine them and writing does not trigger any need for supplementation. On the contrary, it is a self-sufficient process, similar to photography,” she stresses. With regard to fouit free press, she goes on to say: “it sprang out of the need of a few friends to set up what they desire, as they had imagined it, free of go-betweens, in printed form, driven by the fact that printed press is on the verge of extinction. To me, there’s an innate loneliness even in the act of sharing. In my view, the ultimate destination of every creation can be no other the artist, the revitalization of the artist’s thought.”
Ania’s mind holds on to Jean Genet, Rilke, Lautréamont, Pessôa, Céline, Bukowski, Giorgos Ioannou, Bernhard’s Woodcutters, and the lyrics of Lena Platonos. “There’s no law dictating that all these points of reference influenced me more than my daily life, my memories, people’s conversations I eavesdropped from a nearby table; to cut the long story short, anything much more plain and simple could have played an equal or bigger role.