The Monochords: Artists and Poets in Dialogue with Yannis Ritsos, The Hellenic Centre, Thursday 4 May 2023, 7pm

Join us at the Hellenic Centre to celebrate the launch of Monochords, by Greek poet Yannis Ritsos (trans. Paul Merchant) and London-based artist and filmmaker Chiara Ambrosio.

This is an evening of conversation and readings about Ritsos’s poetry, its significance and continuing resonance with contemporary artists and writers.

Exiled on the island of Samos during the summer of 1979, Greek poet Yannis Ritsos (1909–1990) composed a remarkable collection of 336 single-line poems, written at a rate of about ten a day: the Monochords, each line an essential observation of a moment; a personal archive of time past, present and future.  

In London in 2020, during a period of Covid confinement, artist and filmmaker Chiara Ambrosio began responding to Ritsos’ words through linocut images: an experiment in entering the space opened by each poem, rendering it in line and shape; a daily ritual that accompanied her along a strange year of exile from life.  

This event, chaired by writer and broadcaster Maria Margaronis, will launch the publication of Monochords, a new edition of Ritsos’ seminal poems accompanied by and in dialogue with Ambrosio’s linocut responses. Poets Stephen Watts and Sophie Herxheimer will be in conversation with Ambrosio, discussing the significance of Ritsos’ work for artists and writers today, and the ways in which poetry and visual art interact through a shared language of imagery and space.   

After the event please join us for the preview of Chiara Ambrosio’s exhibition Monochords; a suite of 336 linocuts, produced daily in the space of one year in response to Yannis Ritsos’ collection of one-line poems by the same title.