Yannis Ritsos
Translated by Manolis

Selected Poemspreviousnext Ekstasis Editions

Yannis Ritsos was one of the great poets of the twentieth century and, like Neruda, his poems are saturated with a majestic political vision blended with great lyric sensitivity. His short poems are intensely meditative and introspective while his longer poems encompass the grand sweep of history. His poetry is deeply grounded in the Greek landscape and in life of its people. He was deeply influenced by his mother’s and his brother’s early deaths, by the misfortune of his early life, his own uprootedness and the severe poverty which afflicted Greece. The poetry is driven by a transcendent sensuousness and muted anger. It ranges from the sublime to the ordinary, from the mythic to the modern, from the overtly political to the deeply personal.

Yannis Ritsos is a poet whose writing life is entwined with the past and present of Greece. Because his writing was frequently political in nature, Ritsos endured periods of persecution from his political foes. His books were publicly burned and banned due to his left wing beliefs and he spent many years in prison or in island detention camps.

Translator Manolis has done an exemplary job of conveying this extraordinary poet’s work into English. Yannis Ritsos writes in an unadorned style out of a life committed to poetry and the exultant triumph of the human spirit against oppression. His poems are tinged with hope and loss, celebration and defeat, imbued with vitality and grief.

Presented with the Greek en face, the poems affirm Ritsos’s reputation as one of the truly important poets in the modern literature of Greece. This bilingual edition offers a sweeping assessment of his enduring achievement.


ISBN 978-1-77171-024-4
296 pages
6 x 9
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