Michalis Gkanas Speaks at Psychico College High School

Renowned poet and lyricist Michalis Gkanas spoke to International Baccalaureate Year 1 and General Lykeion 11th grade Humanities Track students on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 in Choremi Auditorium.  The event, co-organized by Psychico College High School and the Library, was prefaced Director of Psychico College High School, Ms. Anastasia Papakostopoulou, whilst Ms. Alexandra Papazoglou, Director of the College Libraries, introduced the poet.  Mr. Gkanas read a selection of his poems that then sparked an interesting discussion with students in the audience. The poet answered questions about poetic inspiration, the writing process, the limits of interpretation and his personal connection with his works.

Michalis Gkanas was born in Tsamantas, Thesprotia in 1944.  He studied law at the University of Athens and subsequently worked as a bookseller, editor of literary broadcast programs, screenwriter and copywriter.  He has published the following poetry collections:  “Standing Dinner” (“Akathistos Deipnos” 1978), “Black Stones” (“Mavra Litharia” 1980), “Glass Ioannina” (“Gyalina Giannena” 1989), “Absurdity” (“Paralogi” 1993), “The Little One” (“Ta Mikra” 2000), “The Smoker’s Sleep” (“O Ypnos tou Kapnisti" 2003), and “Wormwood” (“Apsinthos” 2012). In 2013 the book, “Poems 1978 -2012,” containing all his poetry collections, was circulated.

 

His poems have been translated into various languages, while lyrics he has written have be set to music of well-known Greek and foreign composers, such as M. Theodorakis, N. Managakis, N. Xydakis, D.Papadimitriou, N. Kypourgos, G. Begovic, A. Dinkjian, et.al.   

He translated Aristophanes’ “Clouds” (“Nefeles”) for the Art Theater – Karolos Koun and Aeschylus’ “Seven Against Thebes” (“Epta epi Thivas”) for the Patras Municipal and Regional Theater (DH.PE.THE).  

In 1994, Michalis Gkanas was awarded the State Poetry Prize for his book “Absurdity” and in 2009 the Cavafy Prize.  In 2011, he was awarded by the Academy of Athens (Petros Charis Foundation) for his body of poetry.

 

Self-introduction

 

I’ve been writing since the first years of Junior High School… whatever one writes at that age.   I published my first book, “Akathist Dinner,” at the age of 34, in 1978, and the last one in 2012.

 

Seferis, in particular, inspires me as does Karyotakis and I sense the presence of Solomos.

 

I consider folk music (Dimotiko Tragoudi) my greatest teacher…

 

 

Critiques characterize me as a grassroots poet, representative of his homeland.  I would like to believe that I’m not just that…

 

I write slowly and publish sporadically…

 

As I grow older, I am increasingly interested in poets who gain a sense of self-affirmation as they mature.

 

Michalis Gkanas