A happy blend from Ithaca

The latest issue of Ithaca, published bimonthly by the National Book Center, is a happy blend of new book presentations, an interview with writer Apostolos Doxiadis, and two thoughtful pieces on modern Greek poetry. In a new feature, Personalities, journalist Katerina Schina introduces the work of writer Stratis Tsirkas, with particular reference to the tension between politics and art. Tsirkas’s great work, Drifting Cities, is available to readers of English in a memorable translation by the late Kay Cicellis. Travel literature goes far beyond the narrow bounds of the travel guide. Journalist Olga Sella presents six books by Greek writers who write of trips taken in Greece and abroad in pursuit of other cultures, the writer’s hometown or – as is partly the case with travel – in search of oneself. The special feature in this issue is a pair of articles on modern Greek poetry. Literary critic Alexis Zyras writes about the 1970s generation and Euripides Garantoudis, Associate Professor of Modern Greek Literature at the University of Crete, deals with the 1980s generation. Zyras compares the shared sense of identity that initially typified the politicized 1970s generation with the more private concerns they addressed in the 1980s as their focus shifted from the language of wrath to the present consideration. Garantoudis sees in the 1980s poets, the more inward-looking generation of the private vision, the influence of modernism and, in some cases, of post-modernism, though not to the extent displayed in contemporary Greek prose. Elena Houzouri’s interview with writer Apostolos Doxiadis provides food for thought in Doxiadis’s wonderfully down-to-earth comments on success and on the writer’s duty to be readable. The regular new publications section ranges across fiction, poetry, essays, and children’s books. As a final treat there is a selection of books on food, attractively introduced, as usual, by Aglaia Kremezi. This time the emphasis is on healthy traditional eating: Three titles deal with the food of Myconos, the Pontus and Lemnos, and one volume is devoted to the edible wild greens of Greece. Future plans include the establishment of an award for exceptional translations in the fields of literature or the social sciences, summer seminars on the Greek islands (starting in 2002) and an electronic quarterly magazine, Apiliotis, on EKEMEL’s website at

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