Titos Patrikios was born in Athens in 1928. He studied Law in the University of Athens and later sociology and philosophy in Paris, at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and at the Sorbonne. He was active in the resistance movement against the German Occupation, but during the years of military dictatorship following the Greek Civil War, he was “displaced” within the borders of his own country (to detention camps on the islands of Makronissos and Ai-Stratis), and later exiled outright to Paris and Rome, once from 1959-1964 and again from 1967-1975. Patrikios is well-known and widely translated in Europe, but these poems represent some of the first appearances of his work in American publications.
Christopher Bakken's book, After Greece, won the 2001 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. His new poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Paris Review, Gettysburg Review, Lyric, Southwest Review, Raritan, and elsewhere. His translations of Titos Patrikios are collaborations with Roula Konsolaki.
Roula Konsolaki lives in Thebes, Greece. She took her degree in English Philology from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and she now does free-lance translations for Lagouderas Press in Athens. Her translations of Titos Patrikios are collaborations with Christopher Bakken, whose poems she has also translated into Greek.
While They Speak
While they speak in cafés
of love and freedom and that kind of thing,
how could you say love was abandoned,
how it eluded even solitude,
or how justice is shaped by the chaos
of a thousand insults and errors;
how could you say that freedom
could only be attained in the bottom of crowded cells
where all the hours of our lives are held captive…
from Litigations (1981)
translated by Christopher Bakken and Roula Konsolaki