Kostas Varnalis

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Commemorative plaque of Kostas Varnalis in his native city Burgas, Bulgaria Kostas Varnalis (Gedenktafel).jpg
Commemorative plaque of Kostas Varnalis in his native city Burgas, Bulgaria

Kostas Varnalis (Greek : Κώστας Βάρναλης; 14 February 1884 – 16 December 1974) was a Greek poet.



Varnalis was born in Burgas, Eastern Rumelia (now in Bulgaria), in 1884. As his name suggests, his family originated from Varna; his father's family name was Boubous. [1] He completed his elementary studies in the Zariphios Greek high school in Plovdiv and then moved to Athens in 1902 to study literature at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. [2] While there, he became involved in the Greek language dispute, taking the side of the demoticists over the supporters of the katharevousa . After his graduation in 1908 he worked for some time as a teacher in Burgas, before returning to Greece and teaching in Amaliada and Athens. During the next years, he worked as a teacher and part-time journalist, also engaging in translation work. In 1913, he took part in the Second Balkan War.

In 1919 he gained a scholarship and travelled to Paris where he studied philosophy, literature and sociology. It was during his Parisian studies that he became a Marxist and reviewed his ideas on poetry in theory and in practice. His political alignment resulted in his being dismissed from his teaching position at the Paedagocical Academy in 1926 and barred from any state employment. Varnalis thus took to journalism, a profession he practised until the end of his life. In 1929, he married the poet Dora Moatsou. In 1935, he participated in the Soviet Writers' Conference in Moscow as Greece's representative. Under the 4th of August Regime, he was sent to internal exile in Mytilene and Agios Efstratios. During the German Occupation of Greece, he took part in the resistance movement as a member of the National Liberation Front (EAM). In 1959, he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. Varnalis died in Athens on 16 December 1974, and is buried in the First Cemetery of Athens.


Varnalis published his first poetic work at the Greek-language Plovdiv newspaper News of Aimos, under the pen name Figeus (Φηγεύς). His first appearance in Greece was in the magazine Noumas (Νουμάς) under his real name.


Prose and literary criticism



  1. George D. Boubous, «Varnalis, Kostas», article in the Encyclopaedia of the Greek Press, Vol. 1, National Hellenic Research Foundation: Athens 2008.
  2. ""Kostas Varnalis" – Ethnological Museum of Thrace". Archived from the original on 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2016-05-05.

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