Nikos Gatsos' profoundly mysterious and magnetic poem "Amorgos", named after a Greek island he never visited and written during the Nazi occupation, is the single work on which his reputation rests. It is a wonderful incantation on the theme of loss and hope - a unique blend of surrealism, symbolism and folk song - lyrical and erotic, sometimes celebratory, sometimes bitter. It was much admired by the Nobel laureates Odysseus Elytis and George Seferis, and was hugely influential on the postwar generation of Greek poets. However, after its publication in 1943, Gatsos abandoned poetry, and wrote only popular songs, for which he was later renowned.
Nikos Gatsos was born in Arcadia in 1914, and educated in Athens from the age of 16, studying Literature, Philosophy and History at Athens University. Well versed in English, French and Spanish, he translated poetry and plays by Lorca, O'Neill, Strindberg, Lope de Vega, Genet and Tennessee Williams into Greek. He died in 1992.Sally Purcell (1944-1998) was the author of three collections of poetry and a posthumous 'Collected Poems', published by Anvil in 2002. A specialist in mediaeval literature, she edited selections of George Peele and Charles d'Orleans and was the translator of a selection of 'Provencal Poems'.
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