Exile and Return: Selected Poems, 1967-74

Yannis Ritsos, Author, Edmund Keeley, Translator, Edmund Keeley, Photographer Ecco Press $17.5 (200p) ISBN 978-0-88001-017-7
Ritsos makes the horrifying seem ordinary: ""The dead sit speechless in the back rooms/ in their old slippers.'' This cycle of searing lyrics, written mainly during the Papadopoulos dictatorship in Greece, reflects the author's bitter years of imprisonment, house arrest and ``self-exile.'' The poems speak of the moral courage needed to survive tyranny (``What we didn't say became barbed wire again''). Not overtly political, these stark verses portray a sinister world of hostile masked figures, walking statues, of the aged and blind and crippled. In a wider context, Ritsos's short, free-verse snippets mirror the dislocation and anonymity of the modern age. ``I live here/ at this number, on this street,'' cries the narrator. An anonymous ``he'' is the protagonist of many of the verses. A stunning and powerful collection by a writer who has survived hell. November
Reviewed on: 09/01/1985
Release date: 09/01/1985
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-88001-018-4
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