Saturday, 9 May 2009


DemetriosCapetanakis -Kapetanakis, Δημήτριος Καπετανάκης-
Smyrna-1912 London-1944 Greek poet, essayist and critic. Resident in the United Kingdom -from 1939, he wrote some poetry in English. He came to Athens when his mother fled the Asia Minor catastrophe and the invasion of Smyrna with her three children. He was a graduate of Athens University, where he was taught by Panagiotis kanellopoulos whom he would encounter again in the Greek government-in-exile in London, and held a doctorate from theUniversity of Heidelberg. . In 1939 with a scholarship from the Bristish Council he came to theUniversity of Cambridge, studying under Dadie Rylands He became a protégé of Edith Sitwel . In 1941 he met John Lehmann, who published Kapetanakis in New Writing and became a close friend. Through Lehmann he met Willian Plomer.In 1944 he died (leukemia)

The Isles of Greece & Other Poems

The sun is not in love with us,
Nor the corrosive sea;
Yet both will burn our dried-up flesh
In deep intimacy
With stubborn tongues of briny death
And heavy snakes of fire,
Which writhe and hiss and crack the Greek
Myth of the singing lyre.

(Monograph contains the seventeen short poems written by the Greek philosopher Demetrios kapetankis before his death in 1944,in London . They are metaphysical poems, written in English, not his native language but one in which he achieved such mastery during the few years he lived in England that he was able to concentrate the intensity of his thought into the four-line stanza of English verse. )
"He had spoken more than once about his desire to write a poem representing a truth about Greece which Byron had missed in his famous poem; and now, into those twenty short lines he concentrated all that he felt about his country and her eternally renewed destiny of suffering, lines which are among the most tragic and haunting he ever wrote, and which express Greece perhaps more completely than anything that has been written in our time.John Lehmann "-

Introduction to his book Demetrios Capetanakis--- A Greek Poet in England -London, 1947