Posts tagged ‘Greece’

Reading and Q & A with Adrianne Kalfopoulou and Rachel Hadas

In collaboration with Red Hen Press, Book Culture is very excited to be hosting Greece: Journey’s and Returns, a reading with the poet-scholars Adrianne Kalfopoulou and Rachel Hadas, on Monday, October 20th, at 7pm.

Kalfopoulou’s newly released Ruin: Essays in Exilic Living is a collection of linked personal essays that weave together meditations on teaching, friendship, motherhood, love, the financial meltdown in Greece, the shared language of politics and advertising, Occupy Wall Street, the Parthenon Marbles, and a host of other subjects into a blistering interrogation of identity and loss.  The refugee, the immigrant, the fragmented ‘I’ charted in these essays–all are studies in exilic living, fugitives from history, pilgrims wandering the wreckage of late capitalism.

The Golden Road is classicist Rachel Hadas’ richly personal collection of poems whose central theme is the prolonged dementia of the poet’s husband.  Using a range of forms as well as meticulous observation, Hadas’ new book sets the loneliness of progressive loss in the context of the continuities that sustain her: reading, writing, and memory; familiar places; and the rich texture of a life fully lived.

97815970953729780810128590

How did you come to write Ruin?

Adrianne Kalfopoulou: These were essays that came out of rather contested moments, politically and personally — times when I felt very existential, as if the speaking I, or my sense of being an integral subject, was being deconstructed by the circumstance I found myself in. These moments ranged from the more ordinary experience of the empty-nest when my daughter left for college to the economic dismantling of Athens when the financial debt crisis hit in 2009. I found myself exploring the interface between my more personal and emotional realities with the larger contexts of where I found myself. To quote Emerson in an entirely different historical moment, “The ruin or the blank, that we see when we look at nature, is in our own eye.”

How did you come to write The Golden Road?

Rachel Hadas: I write poems in response to most things that happen in my life. The Golden Road is a carefully arranged selection of some of my many poems written between about 2007 and 2009 (give or take), divided into four thematic sections: 1) travel (especially in Greece), which I’ll be reading from, mostly; 2)  reading and writing, including two elegies for the poet Rachel Wetzsteon (1967-2009), who lived and died on 110th St., very near Book Culture; 3) my late husband’s illness (he died in 2011 but no poems referring to his death are included in The Golden Road; and 4) my summer house in Vermont, poems which also inevitably ponder the passage of time, since I’ve been summering there since the late Fifties, and which also consider shifting family relationships and the ghosts that tend to hang about old houses. The title poem, the last in the book, is about encountering my now grown son on a fall country road, and about joy and renewal.

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September 27, 2014 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment


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