CULTURE

Ithaca No. 12 looks at modern Greek drama

The 12th issue of Ithaca is out, with a special feature on aspects of modern Greek drama. Other highlights include an article on Melpo Axioti, an interview with essayist Kostis Papayorgis, and a discussion of the need to rethink religion. These are in addition to the usual brief reports on recent publications. Let it be said once again, Ithaca is a praiseworthy attempt to make contemporary Greek literature known beyond the borders of Greece, and the editors obviously make every effort to cover vital issues. Yet this valiant little magazine will always fall short of its goals unless its style and approach get a shot in the arm. In some cases the translation is to blame, being either wooden or excessively literal, but in most cases it is the articles themselves which are far too dry for a publication of this nature. Sometimes a combination of both makes texts virtually impenetrable, defeating the purpose of the journal. Foreign publishers and agents simply don’t have the time or the inclination to hack their way through thickets of tortured prose. To their credit, the editors acknowledge these shortcomings, and have expressed their determination to overcome them. But they have not yet managed to guide Ithaca into a new, more effective phase. Readable translations and clear, accessible original material in English are achievable objectives from which Ithaca and its readers would benefit. We look forward to seeing improvements in 2002. Literary journals under discussion The Wordplay discussion series at the National Book Center (EKEBI) continues to tackle diverse subjects. The topic for next week’s discussion (Monday, January 28, at 8 p.m.) is «Literary journals at the dawn of the 21st century: Good old tried and true recipes, or daring perspectives on contemporary literary events? How and to what extent do the literary journals of 2002 affect the contemporary literary scene?» Stavros Zoumboulakis, director of Nea Estia magazine, Giorgos Kordomenidis, publisher-director of Entefktirio, Sotiris Trivizas, poet and editorial committee member of Porfyra, and Antonis Fostieris, poet and editor of I Lexi will lead the discussion. Arena Room, EKEBI, 4 Athanasiou Diakou, third floor (Acropolis Metro station). Local libraries Local libraries and their role in the community are the subject of a discussion tomorrow, with writer Nikos Papandreou as the guest speaker. «Public Libraries as Information Centers in the Local Community» has been jointly organized by the Neo Iraklion municipality and the National Book Center. The subjects to be included are: Papandreou’s talk on communicating with readers; archivist-librarian Antonis Frangedakis’s comments on the role of public libraries; and librarian and professor Nikos Stavropoulos’s discourse on modern information technology in local libraries. There will be time for discussion, followed by a reception.Tomorrow, 6.30 p.m., at the Culture Center, 18a Kountouriotou and Neotitas streets, Neo Iraklion, in Attica.