Monday, 14 October 2013

Vassilis Amanatidis - a brief interview


Vassilis Amanatidis is the author of six poetry collections and two books of short stories. He studied History and Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His poems and stories have been translated into ten languages and he has translated into Greek the works of well known writers and poets, such as Isaac Bashevis Singer, e. e. cummings, Anne Carson and Witold Gombrowicz.  



Poet and festival blogger Nia Davies asked him about his poetry. 
Nia: Alexis Ziras has said that your work has no ‘apparent roots in contemporary Greek poetry’ and it is ‘connected with those works of literature which submit their grammar to the immense territory of the imagination’. How do you respond to this? Which contemporary poets (or artists more generally) do you feel a strong connection to in this immense territory and why? Can you describe this territory of the imagination?

Vassilis: The closer you are to your mother (and your first-mother language) the most secure you feel. This maternal bond makes you feel extremely special to your mother (language). Growing up is a procedure that involves an irrevocable sense of loss. This loss is valuable. Upon it we build ourselves, our poetry. There we decide which kind of poet we want to become. In order to grow up as beings and as artists we need love, acceptance and limits. If we don't get them we are filled with panic. But panic is the synonym of our illusion of omnipotence, autonomy and differentiation. We don't need panicked poets. We need poets who understand that maternal sameness is what makes us eternal children, but otherness and togetherness is what we need. This is the only way: from the 2-as-1 we go to the 1-as/with-all.

So I am not different and unconnected. I am just differently same, differently connected. And this is the immense territory of the imagination. A bridge between uniqueness and individuality, between the child and the grown-up, between this and that.

You can read more about Vassilis Amanatidis's work and a poem in English and Welsh translation at: http://www.northwalesinternationalpoetryfestival.org
Vassilis will be performing in Bangor on Thursday 17th of October:

International Encounters 
Thursday 17th October, 19.30
Terrace Room 3, Bangor University, £6/8
Some of the most exciting contemporary poets from Wales and across Europe create encounters between languages in a multimedia context, with translation into Welsh and English. Astrid Lampe (Netherlands), Marie-Louise Chapelle (France), Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl (Iceland), Vassilis Amanatidis (Greece), Violet Grigorian (Armenia), Hasmik Simonian (Armenia) and Ifor ap Glyn (Wales).

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