Thursday, August 07, 2008

Interview with a poet from Greece

“Poetry is a gift – Poets have blessing of God”

Zacharoula Gaitanaki was born in Athens on November
30th, 1966. She writes poems, articles, short stories,
essays and review of book.
She is a life member of the “World Academy of Arts and
Culture” / “World Congress of Poets” (which awarded her the title of the Honorary Doctor of Literature), of the IWA and a member of the “World Poets Society”.
Her poems, short stories and essays are in Anthologies, they have been
translated into English, French, Italian, Albanian, Bengali, Chinese, Korean and have won prizes in national and international literary competitions. She selected by “The International Poetry Translation and Research Centre” and the Journal of “The World Poets Quarterly” as one of “The International Best Translators 2005” and by the Literary Club “Xasteron” as “The Greek Translator of the Year 2007”.
She has published the books:
1.- “DISSIMILAR LANDSCAPES” (Poetry collection), Athens, 2001.
2.- “POTIS KATRAKIS, A PROLIFIC WRITER” (Essay), Athens 2003.
3.- “STATHIS GRIVAS – WRITING FOR LIFE - Tracking in his poetical space”
(Essay), editions “Platanos”, Athens, 2006.
e- mail:
You can visit her web sites:

1.What place do nature and God have in Zacharoula’s poetry?

Dear Patrick, thank you for the hospitality. We destroy the environment (the pollution, fires, wars, scarcity of water, smog, greenhouse effect etc.) We live in an unhealthy climate. We’ve spoilt everything with our behavior… So, the beauties of Nature, the nature of things, matters of general interest, legends and myths, God, love, the end of our life, are part of my poetry. Poets - with their voices - have to tell the Truth. Poets blaze a trail for a better world. I write in my poem:


Poets do not struggle
with bullets and knives,
they write verses, sing
and extend their hands.

They yield in inspiration
in the hours of loneliness,
they count with verses and strophes
fine weathers and storms.

Poets do not love
simply for love.
They write verses for naked bodies
before they touch them.

They are absorbed by love and swim
in love’s depths
and after, they write poems
for “the moment” that is lost…

2.Do poets write only for themselves and do give vent to their emotions and reflections or do they have a wider role in today’s society?

I believe that Poetry is a gift and the Poets have the blessing of God. But we have also a moral obligation: Poets like politicians must serve the public interest. We write not only for ourselves but for all the people.

3.Do you write poetry for art’s sake or are there other agendas behind your verses?

I write poems (short stories, novels, critic, essays too) for the creation, communication, happiness. Writing is great fun for me.

4.How do you react when people say that poets are idealists and dreamers?

“Poet isn’t a weird guy”. If he / she dreams of a new world, this isn’t a visionary dream. It’s a feasible objective.

5.Do you write poetry in Greek and then translate in English? Or do you write poetry directly in English?

I write my verses in Greek and then I translate them in English. My mother language has a rich vocabulary and I use it in my work.

6.When you write poetry do you prefer traditional and regular forms (prosody, metre, rhyme) or modern form such as blank verse?

I use “Poetry’s materials” (my poem):
“A well – dressed verse
with a red, full of freshness
and fragrance carnation on the lapel
pops out right
in the crown to dance.
Two strophes start a feast
on the white paper.
On top, an underlined title
assigns the intention of the poem.
Rhymes, words, “moments”
are valuable and invaluable
materials for a Poet
to make an emotion,
to pay off a debt
and to defeat a chimera.”

7.In your poetry you frequently write about poetry itself. You also write about yourself as a poet. Why? Does the poet depend on the readers’ judgment?
In my poetry I write about myself but I write also for you, for all the people. The readers are happy when they read a good poem or a nice story.

8.Personally I find that metaphor is a strong point in your poetry. How do you react to this? Can metaphor and sincerity / clarity of meaning go together?

Poetry is like our life. A poem with several verses is like an adventurous life or not? I think that my poetry is an extension of myself. Metaphor is a strong point and in my life. But clarity of expression is a great asset. I’ll continue with my life and poetry together…

9.Is poetry an act of love or an act of narcissism? What do people prefer today: poetry or soap – operas?

Poetry is an invaluable help in our days. Soap – operas are like artificial flowers in a garden. A flimsy life is without poetry, love, smile, colors, songs, joy…

10.How is Zacharoula as a person? How does she spend her time: career and pastimes?

I am a woman with a mild nature and a simple life. When I’m in Arcadia, I live near to the beauties of nature. I spend time with my family, my friends (poetry is a good friend for me too), my cats. Music is a good way to unwind. I hear classical and Greek folk music. Sometimes, I take refuge in books. I read many books every month and I write my opinion (in literary magazines and newspapers). I write poems, articles, essays, short stories, translations etc… (I have 22 years experience in poetry and prose). I think that “The real happiness consists in desiring little”.
Patrick, thanks again. I send my warm regards to all the visitors of your blog and to all the poets in Malta.

Arcadia, August, 6, 2008.

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