First Presentation 13 Feb. 2017 in Eleusis
Opening: Ilias Monacholias reading the introduction of Katerina Anghelaki Rooke (see The poetry of H.F. by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke). Ilias is the publisher and owner of the Cyceone Café in Eleusis where the presentation took place. It is located just vis a vis the archaeological site.
Ilias was followed by an introduction of Hatto Fischer by Socrates Kabouropoulos who works at the Ministry of Culture and is an expert of the book market, authors and publishers mutually taken into consideration by his comprehensive overview he developed already while working at EKEVI, the National Book Centre, until that institution was closed by the Nea Democratia government under PM Samaras.
The fact that the book presentation took place at the café Cyceon which is located vis a vis the archaeological site in Eleusis and owned by Ilias Monacholias, and who is at the same time head of the friends of Eleusis but also my publisher, all that has given a special touch to this publication.
I call the cafe a place of coincidence and cite here Adorno who said "a society without coincidence is dictatorship."
Following story needs to be told over and again. During a concert by Savinna Yannatou in August 2015, while waiting to enter the archaeological site which was opened that day due to full moon (a yearly event), I wandered across the street and discovered this café.
One month later, that is in September, I wanted to meet the future artistic director of Eleusis 2021 while doing still the bid. I proposed to meet at the café. When my wife Anna and I had arrived, a man suddenly shouted "Anna, Anna". It was a former colleague of Anna at the Ministry. They had not seen each other for years. While they chatted and I sitting alone at the table while waiting, I saw suddenly a man looking at a book shelf with great intensity and concentration. I looked again for I could not believe my eyes. No, it could not be! But that face is so familiar! Finally I recognized him. It was Fernando Rendon from Medellin, Colombia. He had come to attend the poetry festival in Athens held that September. Fernando and I had joined efforts to convince the European Commissioner for Culture to put poetry on the agenda of the EU. That was back in 2012. At that time, Fernando Rendon had invited me to come to the Poetry Festival in Medellin but to no avail as I had not the financial means to pay for the flight. This time around the coincidence did its magic trick. Fernando Rendon had come to Eleusis on the strong recommendation of Prof. Carl A. Ruck who is an expert on the mysteries of Eleusis. So it was a sheer coincidence that we ended up meeting at that cafe of Ilias. As a result, both Ilias and I were invited to the 26th World Poetry Festival in Medellin, Colombia since devoted to the Mysteries of Eleusis as well as to Rimbaud. I made it this time thanks to the support of Goethe in Bogota. The festival took place June 18 - 25, 2016. It is an amazing feeling to be a city where poetry is at home everywhere. While reading my poems, Ilias Monacholias listened attentively. Afterwards he came up to me to say that he liked my poems and that he has decided to publish them. This is how the book came about.
Remarks by one of the two translators (Katerina Angelaki Rooke being the other):
"The notice by Dilip Chitre "Poetry is a minority language that once was the language a whole community understood as its own inner voice" applies to all ancient civilizations. We know that rythm expressed the indigenous need for harmony and had been a primary element in constructed human speech. Today, all the work that is being done by inspired and devoted persons who have spent a life time with real enthusiasm, and you have also worked a lot on this field (as poets, translators, publishers) to help poetry become again a language that most people would be able to understand, enlightens the confused and dark image of Future."
Letter from poet Dileep Jhaveri in India
My dear Hatto,
Demeter is the Goddess of fertility and Eleusis is the mysterious place of her worship. Poetry is also the same goddess and Untamed Life is her daughter Persephone. Being untamed she wandered in the arms of Hades but was saved ultimately. The present life on which you have mused is your life also. After three months of dark winter, Persephone returns to the fold of Demeter ( Ceres ) and the spring blossoms again. Let poetry be your spring always and your return to Berlin be your rejuvenation. Carry some pomegranates from Greece to bring fertility in Germany!
Wishing you a very happy journey to Greece and back, let me also wish for a brilliant success for your book launch.
Both Ann and Maya also will be thrilled. Take good care of your health.
With love as always
Hatto and Anna dears, your sense of humour is the biggest motivator for oldies like me. Thank you for the response. May I add to the pomegranates something which you may be knowing already? Persephone could return to Demeter on the condition that she should not partake of any food from Hades. Very cleverly Hades put a pomegranate seed between the lips of Persephone. So she has to return to the underworld for three months every year. That explains the long and bitter dark nights of winter when her mother Demeter mourns for her. The winter nights in Europe are really cold, barren and dark. Pomegranate is a symbol of fertility. So Persephone, the personification of greenery adds to the image of Demeter the goddess of fertility. The misogynist patriarchal system tried its best to undermine the mother-goddess and it is evident in the rising fundamentalism in Asia-Europe and now the anti-environmentalist Donald Trump.
Again with many best wishes for your book launch and with much love
A note from Toronto, Canada
"If prose is a house, poetry is a man on fire running quite fast through it."
Our time is marked by an urgency for expression and thought that parses the world along revelatory and humane lines, something that requires a new language.
Doina Popescu, Toronto
The friends who could come that cold Monday evening with Eleusis 28 Km outside of Athens
After the reading of poems by various friends and others like Anna and Peppi.
Kanakis Leledakis and Thanos Contargyris
Angela Adams engaged in a discussion with Liza
Pascali with Angela Adams
Maya Fischer with her mother, Anna Arvanitaki
Socrates Kabouropoulos at table with wife of Ilias Monacholias and writers
Signing the books for Stephania and Konstantinos
After signing the book for Aristea
The coming to a closure of a wonderful evening
Concluding remarks by Ilias Monacholias, publisher and CEO