David Harsent events
David Harsent has published thirteen volumes of poetry. Legion won the Forward Prize. Night was triple shortlisted in the UK and won the Griffin International Poetry Prize. Fire Songs won the T.S. Eliot Prize. A new collection, Loss, appeared in January 2020. His A Broken Man in Flower: versions of Yannis Ritsos was published by Bloodaxe in March 2023.
Yannis Ritsos (1909–90) is generally considered to be – along with Cavafy, Seferis and Elytis – one of the most significant Greek poets of the last century. His life was, to say the least, troubled. From an early age, he was dogged by the tuberculosis that killed his mother and brother. His father and sister suffered breakdowns and spent time in institutions. A Broken Man in Flower has an introduction by John Kittmer and includes the text of an illuminating and vivid letter sent by Ritsos to his publisher in 1969 while under house arrest on Samos describing his life – and the lives of Greeks – under the repressive rule of the Colonels.
A Broken Man in Flower was included in John Clegg's poetry recommendations for Spring 2023 in the London Review Bookshop newsletter.
‘His versions are unyielding in their consistency, and the poet-translator has succeeded in finding an apt literary voice for a well-curated collection of poems… I recommend reading A Broken Man in Flower not only for its mesmerizing formalist strength and ingenuity, but for its profound importance as a document of courage and resistance against a brutally repressive regime, a testament to the quiet yet formidable might contained in the poet’s verse. In the shrunken world of the individual under both confinement and the microscope of surveillance, we watch as time cinematically slows down, and man becomes his own sole companion.’ - Suzana Vuljevic, Words Without Borders
Monday 12 June, 6pm
Yannis Ritsos in English
Council Room (K2.29), KCL Strand Campus, Strand, London
The Centre for Hellenic Studies and the Anglo-Hellenic League introduce two new books of Ritsos’s work in English.
In March, the award-winning poet David Harsent published A Broken Man in Flower: versions of Yannis Ritsos, introduced by John Kittmer (Bloodaxe, 2023). In May, a new edition of Paul Merchant's translation of Ritsos’s Monochords was published, featuring linocut responses by Chiara Ambrosio, and a foreword by David Harsent (London: Prototype, 2023).
The event will include an introduction by John Kittmer, readings and illustrations by David Harsent and Chiara Ambrosio, and a panel discussion of these new works, chaired by Professor David Ricks. It will be preceded by a tribute by Gonda Van Steen, David Ricks and John Kittmer to Edmund Keeley (1928-2022), who was himself one of Ritsos’s most compelling translators into English.
Free event. Click here for booking and more information.
LIVESTREAMED LAUNCH EVENT ON WORLD POETRY DAY, 21 MARCH 2023
On World Poetry Day 2023, Bloodaxe Books hosted this launch reading by David Harsent and Yang Lian celebrating the publication of their new poetry books with John Kittmer and Brian Holton.
John Kittmer introduced David Harsent reading his new versions of Yannis Ritsos from A Broken Man in Flower and then Yang Lian (in Morocco) read in Chinese from his new book A Tower Built Downwards in tandem with Brian Holton reading his English translations, followed by a discussion with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley.
This multi-lingual Bloodaxe launch event was streamed on YouTube Live and is now available to watch via this YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP-Y3THlVAk
[17 May 2023]