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Culture

Your Guide to Greek Poets at the NYC Poetry Festival

By Stephanie Nikolopoulos

Special to The National Herald

NEW YORK— The New York City Poetry Festival is back for two days—Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31—bringing together 250 poets across three stages on Governors Island. Here are four Greek poets to hear at the festival.

Vasiliki Katsarou is a first-generation Greek-American, born in Massachusetts, who works in English, French, and Greek. She studied at Boston University, Harvard College, and the University of Paris I-Sorbonne. Her first poetry collection, “Memento Tsunami,” was released in 2011. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry and has been the Geraldine R. Dodge Poet in the Schools in New Jersey since 2013. She has read extensively, including at Cornelia St. Cafe, KGB Bar, the National Arts Club, Princeton University, and the Trenton City Museum-Ellarslie. Katsarou will be reading with Ragged Sky Press on the Chumley Stage on Saturday at 11:30AM.

Dean Kostos edited “Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry,” which had a debut reading at the United Nations. He also coordinated a Greek poetry event for the Rockefeller Foundation in July 2011 while serving on the editorial board of Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora. His “This Is Not a Skyscraper” (2015) was selected by Mark Doty for the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, and his “Last Supper of the Senses” (2005) is required reading at Duke University. His other collections include “Rivering,” “The Sentence That Ends with a Comma,” and “Celestial Rust,” and his poems, essays, and translations have been published in more than 300 publications. He is a recipient of a Yaddo fellowship and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Kostos will be reading with Ragged Sky Press on the Chumley Stage on Saturday at 11:30AM.

Nico Vassilakis, born in New York City, is a writer and creates visual and video poetry. He is the author of  “All-Purpose Vispo” (2014), “staring@poetics” (2011), “Gamma” (2010), “Phabetical” (2010), “Language Is Hell” (2010), and “Disparate Magnets” (2009), among others, and co-wrote “Orange: A Manual” (1997). He is the editor of “The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry, 1998–2008” (2012) and “Clear-Cut: Anthology: A Collection of Seattle Writers” (1996); as well, he worked as the coeditor of Sub Rosa Press. Vassilakis will be reading with Coldfront on The White Horse Stage on Saturday at 4PM.

George Wallace was born in Hempstead, New York, and studied at Syracuse University with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W. D. Snodgrass. It was there that he met Allen Ginsberg, and he has since been emerged in the post-Beat Generation community. He is the author of the bilingual (English–Greek) poetry collection “EOS: Abductor of Men” (2012), which honors the contemporary struggles of Greek people. Known for his performance-oriented poetry, he is the author of “Poppin Johnny” (2009), “Who’s Handling Your Aubergines” (2008), “Sunnyside Up The Dream Cloud Egg” (2008), “Wrestling Godzilla” (2007), and many other poetry collections. Wallace will be reading with Coast to Coast Poetry Press Collective on the Algonquin Stage Sunday at 2PM.

In the ancient days of Greece, artistically-minded citizens used to gather together at the agora, the central place of assembly, to discuss poetry, politics, and spirituality. These days, though, we crane our necks over tablets and cell phones, exchanging ideas over social media, as we sit alone in air-conditioned rooms. The luddites among us cozy up to mass-produced books and handmade chapbooks, perhaps reading on the subway or at a coffeehouse. Now in its fifth year, the New York City Poetry Festival creates a modern-day agora, gathering up writers and poetry lovers for its free outdoor readings. More information is available online at the New York City Poetry Festival website.

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