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Poetry in Translation, (CCLXXXIII) – Yiannis RITSOS, (1909-1990), GREECE: “Singur pe lume”, “Moonlight Sonata” , “Solo”, “Seul au monde ”

April 11th, 2014 · No Comments · Books, International Media, PEOPLE, Poetry, POLITICAL DETENTION / DISSENT, quotations, Translations

Poetry in Translation, (CCLXXXIII) – Yiannis RITSOS, (1909-1990), GREECE: “Singur pe lume”, “Moonlight Sonata” , “Solo”, “Seul au monde ”



Singur pe lume
Yiannis RITSOS, (1909-1990)

Ştiu că fiecare dintre noi este singur în dragoste,
Singur în faţa Soartei şi a Morţii.
Eu o ştiu. Am încercat-o. Nu ajută la nimic.
Lasă-mă, dar, să vin cu tine!

Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN
© 2014 Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

Yiannis RITSOS, Grecia

Io so che ognuno di noi corre al l’amore da solo,
Da solo alla fede e alla morte.
Io lo so. Io l’ho provato. Questo non aiuta.
Lasciami venire con te!

Rendered in Italian by Constantin ROMAN
© 2014 Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

Yiannis RITSOS, Grèce
Seul au monde

Je sais que chaqun de nous se rend à l’amour tout seul:
Seul devant la foi et devant la mort.
Je le sais. Je l’ai essayé. Cela n’aide pas.
Je t’en suplie, laisse-moi venir avec toi.

Rendered in French by Constantin ROMAN
© 2014 Copyright Constantin ROMAN, London

Yiannis RITSOS, Greece

I know that each one of us travels to love alone,
Alone to faith and to death.
I know it. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t help.
Let me come with you.

(Translation by Peter Green and Beverly Beardsley)

ritsos poems SHORT BIO: Yiannis Ritsos was a Greek poet, Communist activist and a member of the Greek Resistance during World War II.
Born to a well-to-do landowning family in Monemvasia, Ritsos suffered deeply from the loss of his mother and his eldest brother from tuberculosis, This misfortune was compounded the commitment of looking after his mentally-ill father and the economic ruin of his family, These events marked Ritsos and affected his poetry. Ritsos, himself, was confined in a sanitarium for tuberculosis from 1927- 1931. At the end of this period he joined the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). He maintained a working-class circle of friends and published ‘Tractor’ in 1934. The landmark poem Epitaphios, published in 1936, broke with the shape of Greek traditional popular poetry and expressed in clear and simple language a message of the unity of all people.[
In August 1936, the Metaxas dictatorship came to power and Epitaphios was burned publicly at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens. Ritsos responded by taking his work in a different direction: exploring the conquests of surrealism through access to the domain of dreams, surprising associations, explosion of images and symbols, lyricism which shows the anguish of the poet, soft and bitter souvenirs. During this period Ritsos published The Song of my Sister (1937), Symphony of the Spring (1938).[
During the Axis occupation of Greece (1941–1945) he became a member of the EAM (National Liberation Front), and authored several poems for the Greek Resistance. Ritsos also supported the left in the subsequent Civil War (1946-1949); in 1948 he was arrested and spent four years in prison camps. In the 1950s ‘Epitaphios’, set to music by Mikis Theodorakis, became the anthem of the Greek left.
In 1967 he was arrested by the Papadopoulos dictatorship and sent to a prison camp in Gyaros.

Today, Ritsos is considered one of the five great Greek poets of the twentieth century, together with Konstantinos Kavafis, Kostas Kariotakis, Giorgos Seferis, and Odysseus Elytis. When he won the Lenin Peace Prize (also known as the Stalin Peace Prize prior to 1956) he declared “this prize is more important for me than the Nobel”: as it happened his bid for the Nobel Prize was unsuccessful.
His poetry was banned at times in Greece due to his left wing beliefs.
One of his most important works is ‘Moonlight Sonata’, which is translated above.

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