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Poetry Connection: Poets and the Olympic Truce 2004


"Artists understand the power and effects of visual expression, and that peace can be achieved on the planet if individuals create a dialogue that does change the course of events for the better. The truce which occurred during the Olympic Games in 1896 was meant to demonstrate the need to come together with one goal in mind, to prove that all human beings, all races, can work collectively to find common ground by excelling in the same physical capacity. The artists selected here have done what artists have always done: they express their life experience in ways that describe and define their time and its hopes. At present, difference is frequently seen as dangerous. This work examines the world we live in by providing a visual expression of the fear and insecurity that exists when our connection to each other is terminated, but also the possibility of a peaceful future. As Joseph Beuys once stated, "Art can change the world".

Eleftheria Lialios


Contents of Athens 2004 Publication

Olympic Truce

Poets and the Olympic Truce – Hatto Fischer
Athens 2004: The Olympic Oath – Hatto Fischer
Work by Peace Waves
The Refusal of Iphigenia by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke

Poets and Connections

Seattle, USA
Poets against the War
Sam Hamill
Mary Lathrop

Montreal, Canada
Sonja A. Skarstedt

Rotterdam, Netherlands
Poetry International Web Foundation

Dublin and Galway, Ireland
Michael D. Higgins
Brendan Kennelly

Stefan Tontic

Milano, Italy
Giulio Stocchi

Torino, Italy

Berlin, Germany
Armin Groepler
Literatur Werkstatt, Christine Lange
Lyric Online Berlin

Athens, Greece
Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke
Pedro Mateo
Charis Vlavianos
Socrates Kabouropoulos
Hatto Fischer

From Baghdad to Athens

Text: From Baghdad to Athens
With tribute to the poem ‘A city ravaged by silence’ by Buland al-Haydari

The state of extreme by Sonja Skarstedt
A Pisan Canto by Sam Hamill
Canto Bagdadi by Pedro Mateo
Iraq by Hatto Fischer
Poems from Odyssey to Penelope by Stefan Tontic
Exiles by Michael D. Higgins

Fear of Violence

Culture and War – Hatto Fischer
Poetry and Violence by Brendan Kennelly

Nails by Brendan Kennelly
Paura – Fear by Guilio Stocchi
Goma by Hatto Fischer
The worst crime by Sonja A. Skarstedt

Entries into the War Diary

War – a collection of poems: The Green Book of Poetry ed. Ivo Mosley
Some thoughts about the War on Terrorism – Hatto Fischer

Amerika, Mon Amour by Sam Hamill
The Cromwell Poems (a selection) by Brendan Kennelly
War Diary by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke
Declaracion sin Guerra by Pedro Mateo

Painting in words – pictures of war

Giulio Stocchi and Veronica Menghi – the encounter of poet and painter By Claudio Cerritelli

Early Spring Report by Mary Lathrop
Girls in the Twilight by Giulio Stocchi
The blue of Vermeer by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke
August Meditations by Charis Vlavianos
Water Music by Socrates Kabouropoulos

Through day and night

Benjamin Peret’s “Le deshonneur des poets”
By Hatto Fischer

Jack Moon by Mary Lathrop
Panoply by Sonja A. Skarstedt
Closure by Charis Vlavianos
The Stone with the ‘Y’ by Socrates Kabouropoulos
Coming up for air by Hatto Fischer

Tram poetry

Surrealistic dreams of poetry by Hatto Fischer
Merchants and the Tram by Hatto Fischer

Lonely in victory

Connection by Hatto Fischer

In memory:
Nike when she hesitates by Zbigniew Herbert

The Solitary by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke

The poem – a nose ahead despite written in dust

Poetry in my life by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke
Greek Poetry by Hatto Fischer

Blossom Update
Matter alone by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke
The Poem of an other Poetics by Charis Vlavianos



Encouragement from Sonja A. Skarstedt, poetess in Montreal to go ahead with the publication of Poetry Connection: Poets and the Olympic Truce

Montreal, 4.2.2004

Dear Hatto,

On this the eve of Seamus Heaney's momentous public appearance in Greece -- may the day be touched, from beginning to end, with the calm intensity of his spirit. And may more listeners discover the true bounty of poetry as a result of his images coming to life via the wings of his voice. The legend of Delphi thrives onward, its mysterious 20th century ether consisting of metaphorical visions!

Your last letter serves as an example of e-mail at its brightest pinnacle, the bringing together of people and work from around the world. In one simple message box, we are all present -- are spirits communing for one exquisite instant over Athens, thanks to your insightful measures.

I find the line-up of potential activities, from Truce to high speed word relays, innovative and whimsical in such a way that they will immediately appeal to an audience's curiosity.

Onward, the Olympics of poetry and peace!




for Seamus Heaney

Murmuring his morning hosanna the gardener

pulls on dungarees and buttons his shirt

his chiseled fingers grip the spade

behind his cabin door:

outside the flicker of sticky tulips

good-day!  snags his eye

and cluck-tongued he notes

the spread of creeping charlie

flophouse daisies

meandering chicory;


impatiens line the path

he hammered years ago


he wields the spade to lip the soil

and turn its waste

scruff side-up

discards the arrogant roots of maple,

dahlia tinder

black-eyed susans

and crocuses' remains

dehydrated cabbages and milkweed

stubble to unwrap

a glimmer of moss;


to free the soil is his infinite goal

stiff-browed he picks out slugs

like polkadots

from the full-grown globes of tomatoes,

measures the biceps of burly cucumbers

gauges the lopsided noggins

of butternut squash

the cherry grins

of apricots,

acknowledges flocks of wormless apples

his roses unscroll concentrically

the papery green of snowpeas

and hollyhocks happy

as waterfalls —

the digger wipes his spade

surveying the heads of rutabagas


the cadmium yellows of pumpkins

and carrot-tops

until the waterspout signals

the oasis of noon;


the spade is an ink-dabbed nib

with which to explore the soil's black pages

to unearth oxygen like imagery

or cross out words like weeds

what power in the curve of a human hand

digging imagination is unpredictable

as tending corn, some grow ears

and some do not hear —


turning back toward the hut

he listens to the ground's


its inhabitants snug as sleep

bare-smiled he savours

their orchestrations

its humus warms his body


under the settling sky

the weight of his prize cargo

the basket expands as he rubs

the water from his brow

latches the door and goes

back inside, humming

an evening hosanna.


Sonja Skarstedt

From A Demolition Symphony (C. 1996)


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