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The last great poet: Dinos Christianopoulos passes

Featured The last great poet: Dinos Christianopoulos passes

He was like a thorn, incandescent, he burned with his words, many feared him, everyone secretly admired him because he was not part of the systems of power, he was honest with himself, he had through poetry deepened in matters of identity as few scientists ever could. The loss of the poet Dinos Christianopoulos is heavy for the Greek letters and the way in which public speech is articulated.

There were many journalists, writers, people of good society who enjoy hanging out with intellectuals and poets who trembled at the sight of him. Because the poet Dinos Christianopoulos - a poet as a quality but also a temperament - did not sift his thoughts, did not mince his words. He launched his thought, let it pass through his mouth and hit you leaving you in a trance. One could feel after the first numbness that one was in front of an apocalyptic process about one's life. The last great poet, permanently settled in Thessaloniki, passed away on August 11, at the age of 89 - he was born in March 1931. And as even he who introduced clichés would surely accept: he leaves a gap unfilled.

He wrote poetry since adolescence. Small verses in notebooks, in the margins of newspapers, on the back of a pack of cigarettes. Verses everywhere, with the gaze animated in the passage of the bodies, in the burning of the asphalt, in the humidity of the Thermaikos Gulf, in the pages of the books that confronted them, in the verses of the rebetika that he did not just love but studied in depth. He was a poet even in front of the ballot box, after he once wrote Cavafy's verse "Everyone hurts Greece equally" on the white ballot. He deeply disliked being political, although he made no secret of the fact that he had friends who were in politics - George Papandreou was one of them. He never voted for anyone. His vote was always invalid or blanc. So that he could laugh at them and deconstruct them as he wanted. But always, in every election he went to the ballot box.

His real name was Konstantinos Dimitriadis. He changed it to Christianopoulos in adolescence, when he sent some poems to a teenage magazine entitled "Ellinopoulo". This "vulgar", groundbreaking, post-Cavafy poet who put homosexuality without interpretations or paradoxes at the center of poetry and paved the way for Greek letters, chose Christianopoulos as his name and identity. This was because he went to Catechism school from 9 to 21 years old initially due to the pressure of his mother - this image was unthinkable in her conception. In an interview he said that during the Axis Occupation, bread was brought into the house of his refugee parents thanks to the Catechism. "I was saved thanks to the catechism meals. Archimandrite Leonidas Paraskevopoulos knew my condition and made me one of the first to eat at meals. So do you understand? When I owed my life to catechism, I could not be without catechism. It was a matter of honesty. "

His first poetry collection was published in 1950. It was titled "Age of lean cows" and the title quickly acquires its own life. He was expelled from the Catechism because he did not submit his poems for approval.

He was often censored, but this steeled him and liberated him in verse. His last collection was published in 2011 and was "Strange, where he finds courage and blooms". He considered Cavafy the greatest poet of Greece, he said that Seferis and Elytis were sly for securing the Nobel Prizes. His dominant images always contain a cigarette with the ashes growing longer, a lighter in a handful and cats pressing on the bed, in the pages of his poems, dominating him.

In 2011 he was honored with the Grand Prize of Literature for all his works.

However, he refused to accept it, referring to his text “Against” from 1979, where he characteristically states: “I am against any honorable distinction, no matter where it comes from. There is no more vulgar ambition than wanting to stand out.”

The naked piazza
by Dinos Christianopoulos

translated by Nicholas Kostis

A demonstration is proceeding down Tsimiski Street.
People have found entertainment. Only a mongrel
takes no notice. He has found a bag containing a
bone and is attempting to tear it open. He appears
happy. He expects nothing from ideologies.

  The naked piazza, Bilieto Publications, Athens 2000