Manolis Anagnostakis was born in Thessaloniki in 1925. He studied medicine and practised radiology. Anagnostakis took an active part in the Resistance movement and in the Civil War that followed. After being condemned to death by a military court, he spent many years in prison and exile.
Anagnostakis is justly considered to be one of the most important poets to have emerged in Greece after World War II – that is, after the ‘famous’ modernist generation of Seferis, Elytis and Ritsos. Also a writer of prose and essays, Anagnostakis has won many awards for his poetry, which has been translated into numerous European languages.
In his early poems, Anagnostakis both sets the tone, and takes to extremes, the terse, unadorned presentation of a grim reality that is characteristic of all left-wing poetry of that time. As Roderick Beaton has noted, "beyond the bold, conversational tone of the narration lies a deep distrust of the poet’s very medium, which runs through almost all the poetry of his generation. For Anagnostakis, words are inadequate, the message of death reduced to a commonplace in the face of events whose very ‘simplicity’ makes them more terrible still. There is simply no time to contemplate the event – not even, or especially not, for the poet." In the face of such calamities, the poet himself becomes a devalued figure. The only weapon in the poet’s armoury is silence. It should come to no surprise, therefore, that Anagnostakis has not published any poetry in the last forty-five years.
Also on this site
Manolis Anagnostakis, existential poet
An essay by Nassos Vagenas.
The Deafening Sound of Silence
Vangelis Hadjivassiliou looks at Anagnostakis’ entire oeuvre.
Seasons 2 (1948)
Seasons 3 (1951)
The Continuation (1954)
The Poems (1956)