The Poetry of Kiki Dimoula
“These beautiful poems are reflections of a cloudy sky in earthly words. Their rays of light, also, their reasons for hope.” —Yves Bonnefoy
The Brazen Plagiarist: Selected Poems compiles a poignant selection of poems from the oeuvre of Greek poetess Kiki Dimoula, to be published next month by Yale University Press. In this volume, Dimoula — a recipient of the European Prize for Literature — succeeds in blending the esoteric and the popular to create poetry that can move an entire range of readerships. Her poems appeal equally to readers looking for mystery and those looking for flashes and streaks of recognition; by conflating opposing ideas and manipulating the Greek language in a way that mystifies the familiar, Dimoula has fashioned a work that is beguiling, emotional, and arresting.
Dimoula’s considerable manipulations of grammar and diction in Greek put the translators’ work on par with the poet herself. Award-winning translators Cecile Inglessis Margellos and Rika Lesser have recreated the work in a language with an exceptionally different syntax and range of vocabulary while preserving its essence — an elusive, if not almost impossible, feat. Yet Dimoula’s poems read and move as easily in English as they do in Greek, which testifies to these translators’ superb talent and hard work. Cecile Inglessis Margellos is herself a donor to YUP’s Margellos World Republic of Letters – a literary series dedicated to making noteworthy titles from world literatures available to an English-speaking audience through quality translation. The Brazen Plagiarist is exemplary of the series in that it beautifully fulfills its purpose: a foreign work of poetry becomes available to English speakers willing to explore the powerful and insightful perspectives offered by international literature and creative exchange. The experience of Dimoula‘s poetry reminds any and every reader that “[e]ach word has its life, its past, its ego, its self-esteem.”
We invite you to read and share Dimoula’s poems in Greek and English; a sneak preview is available here.