It’s all Greek

A parcel arrived this morning from Athens. The envelope was covered in exactly forty stamps (in very small denominations).

Inside was a copy of Poiitiki (‘Poetics’), the foremost Greek literary journal.

I am honoured to have had a batch of my poems translated for this issue by my friend the writer and critic Theodoros Chiotis. Theo and I met in 2010 when I’d travelled to Athens to be part of the Dasein Poetry Festival, and as well as being a very warm and interesting host, he agreed to read my poems in Greek alongside my English reading. It worked really well. Since then, he’s revisited the work, and come up with what I’m sure are fantastic translations. Sadly I don’t speak Greek so cannot judge them directly, but the quality (and sometimes absurdity!) of his questions during the process make me feel very comfortable about his renderings. It’s quite surreal seeing these poems not only in a foreign language but in an unfamiliar alphabet, with just a few place-names (‘Bishopsgate’… ‘Whitechapel’…) and untranslateables (‘flaneurs’… ‘hipsters’…) sticking out amongst the gammas and epsilons.

The poems included are: ‘How To Build A City’ (excerpts), ‘The Terrors’ (excerpts) and ‘This is Yogic’. On top of that, Theo has also written a short introductory essay to my work, which I hope I may be able to republish in English, with his permission, at a later date.

Thank you, Theo.

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