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Archipelago Books to Host A CELEBRATION OF YANNIS RITSOS at Poets House, 4/11

Archipelago Books to Host A CELEBRATION OF YANNIS RITSOS at Poets House, 4/11

A Celebration of Yannis Ritsos with translators Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley is set for Thursday, April 11th at 7 p.m. at Poets House, 10 River Terrace, NYC. Subway: A/C, 2/3 at Chambers St. Admission: $10, $7 for students and seniors, free to Poets House members.

Join Archipelago Books and Poets House for a night of poetry celebrating the work of Yannis Ritsos, "the greatest poet of our age" (Louis Aragon). Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley will read from their remarkable translation of his Diaries of Exile, followed by a discussion of his work.

Yannis Ritsos (1909 - 1990) Plagued by turberculosis, family misfortunes, and repeated persecution for his Communist views, Ritsos spent many years in sanatoriums, prisons, or in political exile. Despite these misfortunes, Ritsos continued writing, eventually achieving a personal, humanitarian medium devoid of anger and recrimination. In 1967, Ritsos was arrested again by the Greek junta and exiled, and was prohibited from publishing until 1972. By the end of his life, and contrary to all odds, Ritsos had published 117 books, including numerous plays and essays.

Karen Emmerich has translated works by Vassilis Vassilikos, Yiorgos Skabardonis, Rhea Galanake, Miltos Sachtouris, and a variety of Greek poets of the twentieth century. Her translation of Sachtouris's Poems (1945-1975) was a 2006 NBCC Poetry Award Finalist and she has received translation grants and awards from PEN and the Modern Greek Studies Association. She teaches at the University of Oregon.

Edmund Keeley is the Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English Emeritus and the Director Emeritus of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. His collaborative translations of the modern Greek poets C.P. Cavafy, George Seferis, Odysseas Elytis, and Yannis Ritsos, have received the PEN / Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets, and the First European Prize for the Translation of Poetry.

Called "the greatest poet of our age" by Louis Aragon, Yannis Ritsos is a poet whose writing life is thoroughly entwined with the contemporary history of his homeland. Nowhere is this more apparent than in this volume, a series of diaries-in-poetry Ritsos wrote between 1948 and 1950, during Greece's Civil War, while a political prisoner first on the island of Limnos and then at the infamous camp on the desert island Makronisos. Even in these darkest of times, Ritsos dedicated his days to poetry, trusting in writing and in art as collective endeavors capable of fighting oppression, of bringing people together across distance and time. These poems offer glimpses into the daily routines of prison life, the quiet violence he and his fellow prisoners endure, the ebbs and flows of the prisoners' sense of solidarity, the struggle to maintain humanity through language. This moving volume justifies Ritsos's reputation as one of the most venerated poets in Greece's modern history.

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