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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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26 May 2007



An amazing post, Stavros. I can’t find fault or disagree with anything you say.
Any country that goes through the epic events that Cyprus went through from 1955-1974 needs to have its poets to make sense of it all and certify what it is that is at stake and Cyprus has been very fortunate to have – among many others – Kostas Montis, Evagoras Pallikaridis, Michalis Pasiardis and Kyriacos Charalambidis.
In fact, the other night I caught the end of an ERT Sat documentary on Kyriacos Charalambidis and he is a major, major contemporary Greek poet, who I will endeavour to read more of since my knowledge of him, as well as Montis and the rest, should be better.

What is especially interesting about these contemporary Cypriot poets is that they are unashamedly Greek, in their use of language (many insist, where necessary, on writing in Cypriot dialect), history, landscape, subject matter and so on, and unreservedly see themselves as part of Greek literary tradition, offering no concessions and paying no heed to foreign or so-called ‘modern’ movements and ideas; which is why, of course, they are not that well known in Greece or, better, in Athenian literary and publishing circles – since these circles despise overt Hellenism and have no interest in the Greek periphery and what it has to say, believing, as they do, that the periphery is backward if not obsolete, when in fact it is the real depository and hope for Hellenism.
Charalambidis said as much in the documentary I saw, in which he criticised Greeks who think ‘Hellenism is that which exists between Omonoia and Syntagmatos’.

Charalambidis’ poem Headless Statue, about the Turkish-occupied city, the lost city of Ammochostos (Famagusta), where Charalambidis is from, can be read in translation here:



I have to credit you for being the inspiration behind the post. It was your old post that opened my eyes about Durrell and it was your mentioning Montis in a recent comment that made me want to find out more about him. The two came together and the light bulb went on. Duh.

As you know the troubles in Cyprus had a major impact on my own life. I feel like I'm only beginning to understand what happened there during the last fifty years and how it is affecting me even now.


Tremendous post. Ti axehasti Kypros mas

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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