Sunday, January 24, 2010


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. After he received Greece's National Prize for Literature, Patrikios' numerous books were assembled by Kedros Publishers into a three-volume Collected Poems, and several new volumes have followed.-

Titos Patríkios held on to his ideals after the defeat of the Greek left in the 1940s and fought against their corruption in later years, against moral decay and compromise, against the repression of the individual. His combination of political engagement and scepsis about the human species, added to the ‘low tone’ of his poetry, had a profound impact on the ‘generation of ’70’. Patríkios was born in Athens, where he read law and took up a practice as a lawyer.
During the German occupation he joined a left-wing resistance group and narrowly escaped death at the hands of collaborators. He published his first poem in 1943. After the civil war he was arrested for his left-wing sympathies and imprisoned on ‘concentration islands’ for three years. In 1954 he published his first book of poems and helped set up the influential progressive magazine Epitheórisi Téchnis (Arts Review), to which he contributed features, reviews and poetry. In those years he worked as a lawyer, journalist and translator. In 1959-1964 he took postgraduate courses in sociology and philosophy in Paris. From 1964 he worked as head of research at the Greek Centre of Social Sciences, until the military dictatorship (1967-1974) forced him to seek refuge in Italy and France. Since his return to Athens he has worked as a lawyer, sociologist and translator. He has several sociological studies to his name.
Apart from fifteen collections of poetry, Patríkios has published essays and three books of prose. He translated work of Lukács, Aragon, Stendhal, Balzac and Valéry. A three-volume edition of his poems appeared in 1998: Poems I, 1943-1953; Poems II, 1953-1959; and Poems III, 1959-1973. His poetry was translated into French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Arabic, and other languages. In 1992 Italy honoured him with the ‘Salerno ’92’ international poetry prize, and in 1994 he received the Greek national poetry prize for his entire oeuvre.

Hero Hokwerda  (Translated by Ko Kooman)
Last updated: Apr 11, 2007
© Image: Pieter Vandermeer
[Titos Patríkios took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2000. This text was written on that occasion.]

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