Nikos Karousos
Born in Nafplion in 1926 and died in Athens in 1990.
His final volume appeared, posthumously, in 1991.

Ich höre; du bist Musik
aber wer kann das Hören
Was willst du mit so viel Musik mit ohne Fleisch
ohne ihre Todeslaken die aus Smaragden
und ohne
den Pflaumenfarbigen Geflügel von dem schnellen
Altern der stilllosen Insekten…
Ein exzellenter Singer wie du es schon kennst
ist die rohe die am meisten gefärbte Erscheinung
und die große Mobile Schlucht des Wales
zwischen der Streitigkeit im chemischen hellblauen
-brauchst jetzt nicht laut zu sagen, wir kennen es alle
wohin der Eros sie hingeschleppt hat
mit seinem Nagel herumbohrend die gnadenlose
Und der Dichter was macht er -wirst du mir sagen…
Er sorgt so dass
die Quellen des Wahnsinns austrocknen.

Übersätzungsversuch : delta-kapa


Σ’ ακούω είσαι μουσική
μα όμως ποιος μπορεί ν’ ακούει
την ακοή;
Τι ναν την κάνεις τόση μουσική με δίχως κρέατα
δίχως τα σάβανά της τα σμαράγδινα
και δίχως
τα βυσσινιά φτερούγια στα ογλήγορα
γερατειά των αεικίνητων εντόμων…
Ένας υπέροχος τραγουδιστής όπως το ξέρεις
εν’ η ωμότητα η πιο βαμμένη λάμψη
και το μεγάλο κινητό φαράγγι της φάλαινας
ανάμεσα στην έριδα στο χημικό γαλάζιο
– μην το φωνάξεις τώρα, όλοι το γνωρίζουμε
οπού ο έρωτας την έχει σκυλοκουβαλήσει
σκαλίζοντας με το νύχι του το άσπονδο ολόγυρα
Κι ο ποιητής τι κάνει – θα μου πεις…
Αυτός κοιτάζει
να στερέψει τις πηγές της τρέλας.

Νίκος Καρούζος ΑΝΑΜΝΗΣΤΙΚΗ ΛΗΘΗ [1982]

Interesting articles:

From essays published in a special issue of Vivliothiki (a book-review section of the national newspaper Eleftherotypia) dedicated to Karouzos, September 25, 1998.

Issue 2.699 of the 57th year (August 9-23, 1979) of the French weekly literary review of the time Les Nouvelles Littéraires, Nikos Karouzos wrote the following self-explanatory text, typed in red ink and in the traditional polytonic system:

Nobody asked me to write. Consequently, no mathematical logic is in my favour if I should seek justification. In the end, the way I am adapting to exist as a poet is like a man who is grazing his own personal sheep without being a shepherd at all. Possibly I may exist as a poet because I did not become an astronomer, as I imagined I would as a child, or a philosopher, as I thought about later, absorbed exclusively in philosophical interests. The fact is this: poetry keeps me hanging onto the bitterness that we call life, and life devotes me to poetry. I resent existing, but existing – damn it to hell – has a certain allure, as they say. This contradiction is crushing me. I would say that no, I am not a automobilist of verses, I am a walker of verses; I don’t belong to highways (Pythagoras told us to avoid walking on them); I created my own path by myself, and nobody treads it but love and I. The poet’s drama, in my opinion, is not to express reality, but to overcome it. The true poet creates outstanding business with existence – that’s what I believe – and his vision, a chimera if you wish, is to break the fetters of reality. For me, poetry is an ontological self-illusion, unless the poet meets and achieves the freedom of existence (i.e. the extinguishing or reduction of the ego to the intellect of the heart – i.e. what used to be called holiness) which shatters reality and leads man to the living infinity of universality.

Dimitris Kalokyris: Stones of Dreams

Examining the philosophical ideas behind Karouzos’ poetry, Tassos Goudelis finds that the concept of ‘existence’ lies at the bottom of them all. “This elemental word, shattered or rather proteanly transformable in Karouzos’ verses, offers magical flights, diverse hues and an unfathomable depth that simply astounds.”

“I suckle divinity / it suckles me”
Nikos Karouzos

For Karouzos, the world, things in general, are creations of language and time: these two concepts fuse with their creations and may become ‘apparent’ like lightning exclusively through the medium of great poetry. At this point, it is easy to understand the dimension that the poet ascribed to the word ‘create’ – which in Greek is the etymological root of poetry (poio).

Tassos Goudelis: Gaol and Supplication

Although Karouzos is not a religious poet, God-inspired and spiritual elements play an important part in his work, argues Vangelis Xadjivassiliou. “For though God features regularly in it, he does not do so in order to reassure or promise but to enlarge and intensify the void of existence and the anguish and agony of death to their very limits.”

Vangelis Xadjivassiliou: Our Gods are Made of Clay



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