Athens is an emblematic city, a place of significance. It is memory embodied in a multi-layered topos, a place of ruins with the Parthenon as its headpiece. The routes one may follow in the city are numerous and the story one may narrate changes with each turn one takes. This book acknowledges this and offers the option of the poetic word creating narratives that travel through the city of today but also cut into the city’s past touching on various of its corners and opening up to the reader the city’s microcosm yesterday and today. Through this itinerary, the city becomes emblematic of the macrocosm surrounding both this city and others like it.
This book includes the first translation of three Modern Greek poems into English, creating a thread linking the 1980s to 2010s. The reader is led from Kaisarianē, the corner of Patēsiōn-Stournara, Athēnas street, Concordia Square and Monastēraki (Ēlias Lagios, Erēmē Gē, 1984), to the old harbor and refugee suburb of Perama 14.7km from the centre of Athens (Andreas Pagoulatos, Perama, 2006), on to Psyrrē, Exarchia, Agioi Anargyroi and Kypselē and finally into all the bins of Athens (George Prevedourakis, Kleftiko, 2013). Critical texts accompanying the poems urge the reader to view the poems as historical meta-texts, city narratives and depictions of the ‘meta-hellenic’, active political texts offering valuable insights into today no matter from how many years afar.