Bridging visual arts and poetry

E-mails of unknown provenance are almost invariably doomed to deletion by this writer. One of the rare few to survive this spam-hater’s zap button comes from Poema – well, you have to give a name like that a second chance. Poema – officially written. poema.. – is a quarterly e-magazine that also brings a poem to your desktop every day. More than a welcome change from the deluge of encouragement to purchase unwanted pharmaceuticals for non-existent problems, this friendly site injects a little inspiration into the day. The venture started up a year ago, with the aim, the site says, of promoting «new Greek contemporary poetry through the Internet, as well as highlighting the most prominent voices of both established and up-and-coming Greek poets. Equal emphasis is also given to poets from countries with distinguished poetic traditions.» It is published in Greek, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. As well as original translations, it runs reviews of poets and poetry, critical essays, articles and notices of new publications. There’s also a poetry translation forum. The deliberate choice to give the site a European dimension is echoed in the choice of a European URL: At latest count, in March, the site had registered 21,000 visitors, a respectable number at a time when poetry is hardly a mainstream pursuit. Like many noble enterprises, this one is supported solely by the efforts of the contributors, i.e. no funding, just dedication. But that is one of the beauties of electronic publishing: expenses need not be prohibitive. Now Poema has gone a step further and organized a conference, starting tomorrow, May 11, and ending on Saturday. Conference The purpose, Poema’s editor, journalist Vassilis Rouvalis, told Kathimerini English Edition, reflects the interests of the editorial team, who would like to create a bridge between poetry and the visual arts. «We feel the need to converse with other forms of art, to find common ground,» said Rouvalis. As well as artists, art theorists and critics, the participants will include writers who also paint, such as like Soti Triantafyllou and Yiannis Kondos. What does Poema hope to achieve by the conference? «We hope the meeting will spark new ideas, perhaps some work on which artists and writers have collaborated, explained the editor, adding that every event Poema organizes will eventually be presented in book form. So, lovers of poetry and the visual arts, if you fancy a two-day feast for the mind, go to the Karatzas Mansion, National Bank of Greece, 82-84 Aeolou Street, starting 4.15 p.m. tomorrow and 11 a.m. on Saturday. The discussions cover an intriguing range of topics: Images of utopia, the visual art of William Blake and its relation to his poetry, stories of the body, artists’ notebooks, portraits in words and much more. Admission is free and the event is sponsored by NBG, Gavriilidis publishers, Oinoforos winemakers and I dromoi to tsagiou store.