Nikos Karouzos (1926-1990): a Christian poet between nihilism and tragedy


  • Vrasidas Karalis University of Sydney


Very few things exist in English on Nikos Karouzos, despite the excel­lent translation of his work by Philip Ramp (Shoestring Press, 2004). Yet his poems are amongst the finest in modern Greek literary tradition and constitute some of the most significant experimentations with grammar, versification and meaning in post-war Greek poetry. While Karouzos never achieved the popularity, or the literary iconic status attributed to other po­ets like Yannis Ritsos, Tasos Leivaditis, Manolis Anagnostakis and more re­cently Kiki Dimoula, his poetic idiom is quite distinct, embodying a strange mythography of death, nihilism, faith, doubt, rebellion, fatalism and love for life, all fused in one and all turned against each other. Unlike other po­ets, Karouzos kept publicity and state recognitions away from him, mock­ing prizes and awards, taunting all bureaucratic committees and challeng­ing any ministerial or governmental authority on matters of poetry and art.