Paying tribute to Odysseas Elytis

Saturday will mark the 10-year anniversary of distinguished Greek poet Odysseas Elytis’s death. Numerous Greek cities have prepared events to commemorate the occasion; the main event, a music and poetry evening, will take place at 6.30 p.m. at the New Wing of the Benaki Museum on Pireos Street in Athens. The soiree will feature pianist Alexandra Papastefanou and soprano Irini Karayianni who will interpret two poems by Elytis put to music by Giorgos Kouroupos, with the participation of Ioulita Iliopoulou, who will recite verses. Events have also been scheduled in Thessaloniki, Mytilene, Patras and Iraklion, with the help of the Regional Municipal Theaters of the Northern Aegean, Patras and Crete. In Thessaloniki, the National Theater of Northern Greece’s Vassiliko Theater will host an event based on Elytis’s «Erotika» («Love Poems») at noon on Saturday, featuring the general secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Christos Zachopoulos, as the main speaker. The music and poetry program will include pieces from the anthology «Ta Ro tou Erota,» put to music by Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis, Linos Kokkotos and Michalis Tranoudakis. Leading actors from the National Theater of Northern Greece will recite the poems. Ikaros Publications is preparing a special 16-page edition about the role that poetry plays in our life the way that Odysseas Elytis approached it. The booklet will be distributed both at the Elytis events and also at schools. This year, the National Book Center (EKEBI) will launch an audiovisual campaign for International Poetry Day. The campaign starts on Saturday and will run to April 7. Posters with verses by distinguished poets will go on display in the metro and on trolley buses, at bus stations, on trains and at train stations around the country. Commuters waiting on metro platforms will be able to listen to recorded recitations of poetry, while the verses themselves are to be projected on screens at central metro stations. Apart from commuters and travelers, phone users will also have an opportunity to revel in poetry, as EKEBI, in collaboration with the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), will release collector’s phone cards with poetry on them. The first card will feature verses by Odysseas Elytis. EKEBI will also organize a performance of satirical poetry on April 3 and 4, in collaboration with the Athens Concert Hall’s Megaron Plus series.