Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Maribor, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, poetry

Maribor is a collection of poetry from Demosthenes Agrafiotis that focuses on the complexities of old versus new, especially in relation to civilization and historical regions in Europe.  The title comes from Maribor, a city in Slovenia, and in many of the poems, we see the poet's intention to try and make sense out of what remains from the past when combined with new attitudes and new technology. He refers to "the ridiculousness of names" and how people are "alive in a dead language".  He asserts that "narration becomes a lesson (moralistic) about the present" and how "time produces uneven memories".  Throughout, you can sense there is a hope in both the betterment of life for people in these complicated regions, as well as a wish for older traditions of the culture to remain intact.

In #7 he illustrates how the two usually don't mesh:
the survival
and the denial will be preserved
for the end
the falsehoods
the nuances of deception
are no longer postponed
trapped in feigned docility
in incomplete sentences

One of the longest pieces is #48, where he discusses all of the topics in a stream-of-consciousness style about the combination of tourists and residents in this land of history and folklore:
so what did you expect?
what fraction of language
to be dedicated
to the surface of objects
to the inertia of events
to the entropy of the world
to the elasticity of sounds?
the words slide on all
the voids.

Even though the emphasis seems to be on a larger significance of place, many of the poems appeal as well on a personal level.  He considers, briefly, what excuse there is for flowers other than to enjoy their beauty?  And how our concentration is lost on signposts and headlines so much that we miss the subtler details of life that have far deeper meanings. 

Translated from the Greek by John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis

Special thanks to Lindsey of Post-Apollo Press for this Review Copy.

1 comment:

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