Ritsos and the Metaphysical Moment

  • Stephen Dobyns

Abstract

Consider the poem without thinking of it as a translation from the Greek, without considering its merits as a poem. The “he” of the poem is the poet, probably Ritsos himself, and what the poem gives us is a metaphysical connection between the poet and the world. The lighthouses light up and the poet-because of the very fact of being a poet-feels his pencil tremble: a trembling caused by the lighting of the lighthouses. We call the moment itself metaphysical. It is neither rational nor scientific. It is not governed by what we might think of as logical systems of cause and effect. It suggests a series of sympathetic affinities and a sensitivity to these affinities on the part of the poet.

Keywords

Steam Posit Straw Metaphor Verse 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Yannis Ritsos, “Triplet,” from Parentheses, i950-6i in Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses, trans. Edmund Keeley, (Princeton, NJ, 1991), p. 177.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Yannis Ritsos, “The Day of a Sick Man,” from Testimonies B (1966), in Yannis Ritsos: Selected Poems, trans. Nikos Stangos, (London, 1974), p. 62.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Yannis Ritsos, “Midnight Stroll,” from Scripture of the Blind (1972), trans. Kimon Friar and Kostos Myrsiades (Columbus, OH, 1979).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Yannis Ritsos, “Approximately,” from Testimonies B(1966), in Yannis Ritsos: Selected Poems, trans. Nikos Stangos (London, 1974), p. 78.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Yannis Ritsos, “The Meaning of Simplicity,” from Parentheses, 1946–47 in Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses, trans. Edmund Keeley, (Princeton, 1991), p. 125.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Yannis Ritsos, “Necessary Explanation,” from Exercises (1950–1960), trans. Kimon Friar in Yannis Ritsos: Selected Poems 1938–1988, ed. and trans. by Kimon Friar and Kostas Myrsiades, (Brockport, NY, ) p. 88.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Yannis Ritsos, “The More Sufficient,” from The Distant, 1975 in Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses, trans. Edmund Keeley, (Princeton, NJ, 1991), p. 208.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Yannis Ritsos, “Motionless Swaying,” in Gestures and other poems 1968–70, trans. Nikos Stangos (London, 1971).Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    Georg Luck, Arcana Mundi (Baltimore, MD 1985), pp. 3–4.Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    E. R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational Berkeley, CA, 1951), p. 140.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    Werner Jaeger, Paideia; The Ideal of Greek Culture, trans. Gilbert Highet, vol. 1, (Oxford, 1939), p. 162.Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (Chicago, 1964), p. 45.Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    Enid Starkie, Baudelaire (New York, 1958), p. 228.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    Graham Hough, The Mystery Religion of W.B. Yeats (Brighton, Sussex, 1984), p. 28.Google Scholar
  15. 23.
    Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Jane Bannard Greene and M. D. Herter Norton (New York, 1945), p. 266.Google Scholar
  16. 24.
    Yannis Ritsos, “Point,” from Parentheses, 1950–61 in Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses, trans. Edmund Keeley, (Princeton, NJ, 1991), p. 158.Google Scholar
  17. 26.
    Yannis Ritsos, “From Poseidon,” from Repetitions, 1963–65 in Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses, trans. Edmund Keeley, (Princeton, NJ, 1991), p. 5.Google Scholar
  18. 27.
    Yannis Ritsos, “Association,” from Testimonies A (1963), in Yannis Ritsos: Selected Poems, trans. Nikos Stangos, (London, 1974), p. 54.Google Scholar
  19. 28.
    Yannis Ritsos, “Miniature,” from Parentheses, 1946–47 in Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses, trans. Edmund Keeley, (Princeton, NJ, 1991), p. 137.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen Dobyns 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Dobyns

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations