Poetry. Translated from the Greek by Martin McKinsey and Scott King. Bilingual Edition. Written in 1949 while Ritsos was detained on the Greek prison isle of Makronisos, the poems in PETRIFIED TIME (translated in its entirety and printed with the Greek en face) document this harrowing time in the poet's life. As Martin McKinsey states in his introduction to this collection, "Aside from their documentary interest, what makes them worth reading is their luminous imagery, drawing on the Greek oral tradition of fairytales and folksongs (especially Klephtic ballads), and the controlled power of their free-verse idiom. Their purposefulness should also serve as a reminder of what it means for an artist to step out of him or herself, and conceive of an art that is not simply a record or critique of what is, but a shaper of what will be."
Yannis Ritsos was born in 1909 at Monemvasia in the Peloponnese. A lifetime communist, his unpretentious, memorable poems were a prominent feature of his active resistance to the German occupation of Greece and to a succession of fascist regimes. They led to the public burning of his lament Epitaphios in 1936 by the Metaxas dictatorship, and to his imprisonment during the Civil War from 1948-1952 and again during the 1967 dictatorship of the Colonels. He was transferred from this imprisonment to island exile on Samos when he became dangerously ill, and was allowed to return to Athens and to be published again in 1971. He was awarded the prestigious Lenin Prize in 1975 and received honorary degrees from the universities of Thessaloniki, Birmingham, Leipzig, and Athens. During his highly productive life he worked as an actor, dancer, book editor, calligrapher, and author of over eleven volumes of translations. His more than one hundred volumes divided between long meditations on historical themes and short enigmatic reflections on everyday events have been translated into over forty languages in more than three hundred editions. He died in November 1990, aged eighty-one.Author City: Monemvasia GRC