Yannis Ritsos: New English Translations and Visualisations, King’s College London, 12 June 2023

We are pleased to 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, intro. John Kittmer (Hexham: 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). Our 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.

The Council Room, King’s College London, The Strand, London WC2R 2LS

Monday 12 June 2023, 6pm

David Harsent has published thirteen volumes of poetry. Legion won the Forward Prize. Night was thrice shortlisted in the UK and won the Griffin Poetry Prize. Fire Songs won the T.S. Eliot Prize. A new collection, Loss, appeared in 2020. Harsent has collaborated with several composers, most often with Sir Harrison Birtwistle. He holds several fellowships, including Fellowship of the Royal Society of Literature and Fellowship of the Hellenic Authors Society. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Roehampton.

Chiara Ambrosio is a London-based filmmaker and visual artist, working with moving image, photography, text, sound and printed matter to explore the ways in which we remember, articulate and preserve personal and collective histories and a sense of place. Her work pays witness to and portrays that which struggles on the fringes of dominant narratives – communities, landscapes, stories, objects, perceptions, sensibilities – excluded and marginalised for a variety of different reasons but always fundamental to our understanding of what makes us human. Her work has been presented extensively both nationally and internationally at venuesincluding the Whitechapel Gallery, Anthology Film Archives and La Cinémathèque Française.

David Ricks taught at King’s College London from 1989 to 2020 and has written on the work of many Greek poets, among them Solomos, Kalvos, Cavafy, SIkelianos, Anagnostakis, Sinopoulos, Vayenas and Ganas. He is editor (with Ingela Nilsson, Uppsala) of the journal Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. Gonda Van Steen holds the Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature in KCL’s Centre for Hellenic Studies and Department of Classics. She is the author of five books: Venom in Verse: Aristophanes in Modern Greece (2000); Liberating Hellenism from the
Ottoman Empire
(2010); Theatre of the Condemned: Classical Tragedy on Greek Prison Islands (2011); and Stage of Emergency: Theater and Public Performance under the Greek Military Dictatorship of
(2015); and Adoption, Memory, and Cold War Greece: Kid Pro Quo? (2019).

John Kittmer is a former British Ambassador to Greece and is Chair of The Anglo-Hellenic League. He has degrees in classics and modern Greek and wrote a prize-winning PhD thesis on Yannis Ritsos.