Poetry and Prose to Add to Your Winter Reading List

I Proti Fora (The First Time) by Christos Siorikis. Photo: Amazon

Poetry as a genre may often be overlooked in our present day, but it seems to continue to flourish in Greece especially as a means of expression. The condensed form can often convey what the lengthiest of volumes can miss, a feeling, a tone, a touch, a rhythm of life that cannot be silenced even amid the constant noise of the modern world.

The Hellenic American Union presents Poetic Encounters: “Words (can) do it” on January 22 in Athens featuring two contemporary poets of the new generation, Christos Siorikis and Nanti Hatzigeorgiou, reading their own poems, old and new, published and unpublished, but also some of their favorite works by other poets. An open discussion with the audience follows the reading.

Siorikis’ first book “I proti fora” (“The first time,” Antipodes, 2018) was nominated for the Emerging Poet Award by “O Anagnostis” online magazine. His poems and short strories have been published in magazines and anthologies. Hatzigeorgiou’s poems have been published in print and online magazines while the release of her first book is forthcoming.

Siorikis was born in Agrinio in 1989. He studied in the Faculty of Primary Education in the University of Athens, and then took an M.A. in the didactics of literature. He organizes creative activities around books in the Library of the Cervantes Institute in Athens, and teaches Spanish language and literature to children and adults, using poetry and other literary texts. He has translated the book of Julio Cortázar, The bear’s discourse, for its illustrated version (Papyros Publishing, 2015), and has participated in the translation of Spanish-language short stories for the Anthology Mini71cuentos (Michalis Sideris Publishing, 2012). His poems and short prose pieces have been published in print and online literary journals.

There are occasions when certain books impress us in unexpected ways. Sometimes just picking up a book at random can open up worlds for us as readers. Though some readers can get stuck in a rut when it comes to their reading habits, trying a genre you are not necessarily a fan of can be a fun exercise in your reading adventures.

Gravity by Michael Kazepis is a powerful collection of memorable short stories which embody Stephen King’s quote, “A short story is a different thing altogether – a short story is like a quick kiss in the dark from a stranger.”

Gravity by Michael Kazepis. Photo: Amazon

As noted in the book’s description, “Murderous revelation draws a photographer into the dark heart of Athens. The sole survivor of a space-stranded cult faces oblivion at the seat of the universe. Balkan scavengers turn toward ancient ways to thrive in an apocalyptic wasteland. Flesh magic,’80s hardcore, immortal aliens. Chaotic detectives and black-gloved killers.”

The book’s nine stories are not for the faint of heart and demonstrate the author’s tremendous talent and imagination. Kazepis is also the author of Long Lost Dog Of It and his work on Veterans: Faces of World War II has been featured in The New Yorker and Vocativ. In 2014, he launched King Shot Press, a micropublisher of radical books. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Kazepis’ books are available online.