92 Acharnon Street: A Year in Athens

By John Lucas

Greece has consistently had its admirers, notwithstanding none turns out to have adored the Athenian tavernas, the murderous site visitors and the jaded prostitutes, the petty bureaucratic tyrannies, the road noise and the heroic individualists with the irony and detachment of John Lucas. '92 Acharnon road' is a gritty portrait of a filthy urban and a wayward kingdom. but Lucas' love for the realities of Greece triumphs- for the Homeric kindness of her humans in the direction of strangers, for the pleasures of her desk and for the proximity of islands in transparent blue water as a safe haven from the noise and toxins of her capital urban. this is often Greece because the Greeks might recognize it, noticeable throughout the eyes of a poet.

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The mayor’s place of work, police departments, deepest voters, all of them knew Maria. She was once way more well known because the ‘cat-woman’ than she used to be as a poet. As for her thirty-nine cats, every one stored to its disbursed position, attentive, and possessed of a nearly unnerving calm. The 4 folks have been seated on chairs prepared concerning the room, dealing with the chaise longue on which Maria sat bolt upright. I stored pondering that not less than one of many cats could bounce onto certainly one of our laps, yet no. They remained of their locations. in fact, i needed to invite approximately her poetry. the gathering she released in 1971, the opposite backyard, had introduced her a few cognizance, its wild surrealism tempered by way of a rhetoric that appeared to owe whatever to Rilke. And sure, she stated, Rilke was once a power on her, specifically the Duino Elegies, yet then wasn’t he, weren’t they, a power on all later poets? sooner than i may solution that question, she additional that Elytis used to be a much better and extra abiding impact, as was once Nikos Karouzos. ‘I am Greek, you spot. ’ i presumed of her unusual, disturbing poem ‘Landscape of the Medusa and Chorus’, very in contrast to the house lives of our personal pricey poets. I couldn’t rather declare to appreciate the poem and felt it most unlikely that she might by any means enlighten me. besides, it wasn’t that kind of poem, was once proof against an irritable attaining after which means, even supposing its strength looked as if it would spring from a deep, erotic resource. I had heard that she and Blackstone, whose learn of Blake I as soon as attempted to learn, had engaged in a few lovely wild events, yet I couldn’t fairly attach this serious lady, who remained seated all through our stopover at, with both the poem or these legends approximately her past lifestyles. As we ready to depart I requested her if she nonetheless discovered time for poetry. definite, she stated, she wrote for 2 hours on a daily basis. And while may possibly that be? regularly among 3 and 5 within the morning. ‘They are the hours I hold unfastened. no one might disturb me then. ’ there has been another query i wished to place to her. Fotini had instructed me that during Maria’s backyard have been tortoises aplenty. because it occurred i used to be on the time placing jointly a variety of Lawrence’s poetry and used to be intrigued via his six-poem series, Tortoises. This culminates in ‘Tortoise Shout’, which he describes as Worse than the cry of the new-born A scream, A yell, A shout, A paean, A death-agony, A birth-cry, A submission… So he tups, and screams Time after time that frail, torn scream… Did male tortoises, I questioned, quite make one of these scream? Maria used to be quickly matter-of-fact. convinced, in the course of copulation the male tortoise screamed. And screamed. ‘You’d imagine it used to be having its penis ripped off. ’ She smiled a bit. no longer a lot Medusa, extra Maenad. From Maria to Katerina. My first assembly along with her was once a defining second, even, if the observe could be accredited, a revelation. definitely, the ambience – atmosphere – surrounding her is person who turns out closer to precise carnivalesque than the other i've got ever stumble upon. Her condominium on Aegina, outfitted by means of a forebear early within the 20th century, is a small, two-storey, neoclassical construction, its rough-cast partitions painted within the aubergine color that could be a function of homes at the east aspect of the island yet which i've got obvious nowhere else.

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