Manual Diaries of Exile

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Start your review of Diaries of Exile. View 2 comments. Jul 01, Imen Benyoub rated it liked it Shelves: greece. Under the lukewarm water of night I held the hand of sleep and the sense of forgetting the texture of the blanket and of the wall. Aug 11, Parrish Lantern rated it really liked it Shelves: anthology , pomesallsizes , review-copies , translation.

Diaries in Exile is actually three diaries, the first two written from The Kontopouli camp on the island of Limnos. Kontopouli was a makeshift detainment centre, originally used by the Germans as warehouses during the occupation of Greece. By the time Ritsos began the second diary he had been detained for over a year, having faced beatings and forced labour whilst living Diaries in Exile is actually three diaries, the first two written from The Kontopouli camp on the island of Limnos.

By the time Ritsos began the second diary he had been detained for over a year, having faced beatings and forced labour whilst living on meagre rations, this would impact on his writing, which became sparser, focusing on the relentless sameness of his existence. The last Diary was written on Makronosis, where he had been sent in - a desert island, entirely cut off from the mainland and inhabited only by guards and prisoners. On Makronosis prisoners were crammed into already overcrowded tents and were made to carry stones from one spot to another without reason for hours on end, regardless of the time of day or year, without water or footwear and letters were reduced to postcards being highly censored.

On Makronosis prisoners were routinely tortured, driven mad and executed. The poetry in these diaries weren't the only poems Yannis Ritsos wrote whilst in exile, regardless of the harshness of his detention, he constantly wrote. In fact even under the unremitting hell of Makronosis, he found a means to write on whatever scrap of paper he could lay his hands on, including the linings of cigarette packs, which he then hid or buried in bottles in the ground.

What stands the Diaries apart from his other works are their nature, part poem, part diary, part letter to the outside world, all normal correspondence from camp were never wholly private, having to pass through the censors scrutiny. With the poetry Ritsos could write as he pleased, although he could be never certain if they'd ever be seen by others. This would remain so for quite a while as his books were banned until and in , when army colonels staged a coup and took over Greece, he was again deported, then held under house arrest until His works were again banned - despite being banned from publication until , he continued to write and paint.

He died in Athens on the 1th November During his lifetime, he published collections of poetry, novels and theatre plays and is said to be Greece's most widely translated poet. He was unsuccessfully proposed nine times for the Nobel Prize for Literature and in was awarded the Lenin Prize for Peace. Nowadays Yannis Ritsos's name is amongst the five great Greek poets of the twentieth century, sharing that title with Konstantinos Kavafis, Kostas Kariotakis, Giorgos Seferis, and Odysseus Elytis, and this volume translated by Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley and published by Archipelago books justifies his inclusion, and as Peter Levi said: "in their directness and with their sense of anguish, are moving, and testify to the courage of at least one human soul in conditions which few of us have faced or would have triumphed over had we faced them," View 1 comment.

Jan 16, Leif rated it really liked it. I can't. Over time the good lies grow few. Remarkable, really, that a poet as prolific as Ritsos could maintain such a focused intensity of mourning watchfulness as he does over these poems.