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Haris Vlavianos  [ Greece ]

Biography

Haris Vlavianos
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2003, 2007, 2015.

Bibliography

Ipnovassies

Plethron

Athen, 1983

I nostalgia ton uranon

Nefeli

Athen, 1994

Der Engel der Geschichte

Romiosini

Köln, 2001

[Ü: Dadi Sideri / Dimitra Visaitou]

Nach dem Ende der Schönheit

Hanser

München, 2007

[Ü: Torsten Israel]

Soneta tis symforas

Patakis

Athen, 2011

Haris Vlavianos was born in Rome in 1957. He studied Economics and Philosophy at the University of Bristol and Political science and History at the University of Oxford, but language, heritage, and his present home make him a Greek author.

Readers with an interest in the field cannot fail to notice Vlavianos’s interest in the poetry of classic contemporary Greek writers such as Konstantinos Cavafis, George Seferis, and Nikos Karousos. Parallels between his verse and the work of American language poets he has translated like Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery are just as evident. Vlavianos is always able to maintain a balance between abstraction and sensuality, between rational reflection and creating a suggestive atmosphere. A frequent theme of Vlavianos’s poetry is history (both as a concept and as a sequence of events). Vlavianos’s poems usually deal with the twists and turns in his family’s fortunes, which he consciously treats as archetypical examples of emotional dependency, loss, or betrayal. Eroticism and love, on the other hand, appear in his work both in their ambivalence and as the elemental root of happiness. Poetry itself and its endangered status are also a source of inspiration for Vlavianos. Some of his poems refer directly to current philosophical discourse. Haris Vlavianos expresses himself in a rare elegance of language, combining a basic commitment to formal transparency with a few selectively used syntactical and lexical violations. The sound of this language, despite the structural variety in Vlavianos’s verse, gives the reader the impression of reading a stylistically unified body of work. Perhaps this special tone best attests to Vlavianos’s qualitative enrichment of European poetry. To date, Vlavianos has written twelve books of poetry, »O aggelos tis istorias« (1999; tr: The angel of history) and »Meta to telos tis omorphias« (2003; tr: After the end of beauty), both nominated for the Greek National Prize. He has also published essays and numerous translations, most notably of American and European poets, like T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, e. e. cummings, Anne Carson, Fernando Pessoa, Zbigniew Herbert and William Blake). Despite the title of his collection of essays, »Poion aphora he poiese? Skepseis gia mia techne peritte« (2007; tr: Does poetry matter? Thoughts on a useless art), he has remained true to poetry with »Diakopes stin pragmatikotita« (2010; tr: Vacation in reality) and »Sonneta tis symforas« (2012; tr. Sonnets of despair). He has recently published an autobiographical novel entitled »To aima nero« (2014; tr: Blood into water) to great public acclaim.

Haris Vlavianos lives in Athens, where he teaches History and History of Ideas at the American College of Greece and Creative Writing at Patakis. He is the publisher of the acclaimed literary journal »Poiitiki« (Poetics).

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