Solomos, yesterday

Yesterday marked 150 years since the death of Dionysios Solomos, in 1857 on the Ionian island of Corfu. Celebrations on the bicentennial of his birth in 1998 seem to have dulled the mood to honor the memory of the poet in the same depth and breadth that we should this year. Of course there are events being organized, but announcements so far makes it appear as though there are not as many of them as there were in 1998. There are certainly fewer than there were in 1957, the centennial of the poet’s death, when the events were led by a significant exhibition at the French Institute, then under Octave Merlier. It seems that the times do not favor public displays of this manner. It would be comforting to hear that yesterday, two, three or a thousand teachers ignored the idleness of their supervisors and, on their own initiative, spoke to their students about the poet, even if it was off the cuff. It would be comforting if one, two or three teachers, who truly cared about the quality of education, recited to their students extracts from one of Solomos’s works. It would be comforting if just one teacher had brought to his class the inexpensive electronic publication on the life and work of Solomos – compiled by Professor Eratosthenis Kapsomenos and circulated two years ago by the Hellenic Parliament Foundation – and invited the students to participate in the computer quiz. Let’s hope that some teachers dared to work overtime; that they bent their heads over Solomos’s poetry for their own pleasure and went to class prepared, like they expect their pupils to be.