Yannis Patilis occasionally refers to Greece’s inner discord in the Civil War and under the military junta, but is principally a member of the ‘Generation of ‘70’, whose declared aim was amfisvítisi (contestation). The poets of this generation fiercely oppose the rise of the modern technological, capitalistic consumer society, which they see as a mortal threat to the individual. Patilis, despite his sarcasm, is often more humorous and ironic in tone than his contemporaries.
His poetry is truly a poetry of the city, of the daily microcosm of urban life, reflecting the changing times. If he still uses names from ancient Greek history and mythology, it is not in pursuit of nationalistic goals or in search of a Greek national identity; his poetry remains strictly personal and is about the place of the individual in modern society.
Yannis Patilis was born in Athens, where he studied law and literature. He still lives in Athens and teaches literature in a secondary school. Between 1983 and 1985 he co-founded and edited two literary magazines (Island, with articles on poetry and music, and Critique and Texts, specializing in literary criticism). Since 1986 he has published the journal Planódhion (Travelling, ambulant), about literature and cultural policy.
A broad selection from Patilis’ poems, translated into English by Stathis Gourgouris, was published in the Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Series, vol. XXXVI, 1997.
[Yannis Patilis took part in the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam 2000. This text was written on that occasion.]
The Little One and the Monster (1970); Now Watch This.! (1973); On Behalf of the Fruits (1977); Coins 1980); Non-Smoker in a Land of Smokers (Poems 1970-1980); Hot Afternoon (1984); Mirror of a Clerk (1989); Voyages in the Same City (Poems 1970-1990).