‘They put big wings on him, he can’t walk any more’

Poet Yiannis Ritsos invited his editor Ninetta Makrynikola to his house in 1988 to sort out dozens of little notebooks in his distinctive handwriting and select the final versions of previously unpublished work for publication. That was two years before his death. A few days ago, Kedros Publishers brought out the 14th volume of his poems. The poet came under heavy criticism for his militant verse and his devotion to the Greek Communist Party, from both comrades and opponents. His inner conflicts are evident in these newly published poems, as they are throughout his work. Seventeen years after Ritsos’s death, Kathimerini asked the poet’s friend and fellow writer Maro Douka, poet and comrade Titos Patrikios, critic Pantelis Boukalas and poet Giorgos Chronas how they used to see Ritsos’s work and how they see it now.