Nikos Kavvadias (Greek : Νίκος Καββαδίας; January 11, 1910 in Nikolsk-Ussuriysky – February 10, 1975 in Athens) was a Greek poet, writer and a sailor by profession. He used his travels around the world, the life at sea and its adventures, as powerful metaphors for the escape of ordinary people, outside the boundaries of reality. His poems are widely regarded as belonging to symbolism, and he has been characterized by some as a poète maudit.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Ussuriysk is a city in Primorsky Krai, Russia, located in the fertile valley of the Razdolnaya River, 98 kilometers (61 mi) north of Vladivostok, the administrative center of the krai, and about 60 kilometers (37 mi) from both the China–Russia border and the Pacific Ocean. Population: 158,004 (2010 Census); 157,759 (2002 Census); 158,016 (1989 Census).
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.
Kavvadias was born in Nikolsk-Ussuriysky (now Ussuriysk in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia). He believed that this had established a permanent connection between him and the Far East as he wrote in one of his short stories titled "Li". His parents were Greek, originating from the island of Cefalonia and as a young child he had the opportunity to travel extensively. His family returned to their island of origin for a few years before finally moving to Pireus, Athens' port, in 1921. He wrote his first poems while in grammar school.
Primorsky Krai (Russian: Примо́рский край, tr.Primorsky kray, IPA: [prʲɪˈmorskʲɪj kraj] is a federal subject of Russia, located in the Far East region of the country and is a part of the Far Eastern Federal District. The city of Vladivostok is the administrative center of the krai, as well as the largest city in the Russian Far East. The krai has the largest economy among the federal subjects in the Russian Far East, and a population of 1,956,497 as of the 2010 Census.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
The Far East is a geographical term in English that usually refers to East Asia, the Russian Far East, and Southeast Asia. South Asia is sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons. The term "Far East" came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 12th century, denoting the Far East as the "farthest" of the three "easts", beyond the Near East and the Middle East. Likewise, in Qing Dynasty of the 19th and early 20th centuries the term "Tàixī (泰西)" – i.e. anything further west than the Arab world – was used to refer to the Western countries.
In 1928, after having graduated from high school he sat an entrance exam for medical school but as his father fell sick the same year, young Kavvadias was forced to get a job as an office clerk in a shipping company in order to help his family. He lasted only a few months and after his father's death, he went on board the freighter ship Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) as a sailor. For the following years he worked on freighter boats, returning home wretched and penniless. At that point he aspired to train as a captain but settled for a diploma as a radio officer instead, which he got in 1939. By that time however, World War II had started and he was sent to fight in Albania.
A cargo ship or freighter ship is a merchant ship that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year, handling the bulk of international trade. Cargo ships are usually specially designed for the task, often being equipped with cranes and other mechanisms to load and unload, and come in all sizes. Today, they are almost always built by welded steel, and with some exceptions generally have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years before being scrapped.
A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft as part of its crew, and may work in any one in a number of different fields that are related to the operation and maintenance of a ship.
Radio is the technology of signalling or communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device called a transmitter connected to an antenna which radiates the waves, and received by a radio receiver connected to another antenna. Radio is very widely used in modern technology, in radio communication, radar, radio navigation, remote control, remote sensing and other applications. In radio communication, used in radio and television broadcasting, cell phones, two-way radios, wireless networking and satellite communication among numerous other uses, radio waves are used to carry information across space from a transmitter to a receiver, by modulating the radio signal in the transmitter. In radar, used to locate and track objects like aircraft, ships, spacecraft and missiles, a beam of radio waves emitted by a radar transmitter reflects off the target object, and the reflected waves reveal the object's location. In radio navigation systems such as GPS and VOR, a mobile receiver receives radio signals from navigational radio beacons whose position is known, and by precisely measuring the arrival time of the radio waves the receiver can calculate its position on Earth. In wireless remote control devices like drones, garage door openers, and keyless entry systems, radio signals transmitted from a controller device control the actions of a remote device.
During the German occupation of Greece, he joined the National Liberation Front (EAM) and became a member of the Communist Party. When the war ended in 1944, he embarked again and traveled continuously, this time as a radio officer, until November 1974. These experiences at sea and the exotic ports he visitited became the material for his poetry. Returning from his last trip and as he was preparing the publication of his third collection of poems, he died suddenly from a stroke on February 10, 1975, after only three months off sea.
The National Liberation Front, commonly known by its acronym EAM, was the main movement of the Greek Resistance during the Axis occupation of Greece. Its main driving force was the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), but its membership throughout the occupation included several other leftist and republican groups. ΕΑΜ became the first true mass social movement in modern Greek history. Its military wing, the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS), quickly grew into the largest armed guerrilla force in the country, and the only one with nation-wide presence. At the same time, from late 1943 onwards, the political enmity between ΕΑΜ and rival resistance groups from the centre and right evolved into a virtual civil war, while its relationship with the British and the British-backed Greek government in exile was characterized by mutual mistrust, leading EAM to establish its own government, the Political Committee of National Liberation, in the areas it had liberated in spring 1944. Tensions were resolved provisionally in the Lebanon Conference in May 1944, when EAM agreed to enter the Greek government in exile under Georgios Papandreou. The organisation reached its peak after liberation in late 1944, when it controlled most of the country, before suffering a catastrophic military defeat against the British and the government forces in the Dekemvriana clashes. This marked the beginning of its gradual decline, the disarmament of ELAS, and the open persecution of its members during the "White Terror", leading eventually to the outbreak of the Greek Civil War.
A stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to bleeding. Both result in parts of the brain not functioning properly. Signs and symptoms of a stroke may include an inability to move or feel on one side of the body, problems understanding or speaking, dizziness, or loss of vision to one side. Signs and symptoms often appear soon after the stroke has occurred. If symptoms last less than one or two hours it is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke may also be associated with a severe headache. The symptoms of a stroke can be permanent. Long-term complications may include pneumonia or loss of bladder control.
Since his death, his poetry has been popularized in Greece, partly because of Thanos Mikroutsikos who released an album with Kavvadias' poetry set to his music in his very popular albums Σταυρός του Νότου (Southern Cross)  and Γραμμές των Οριζόντων (Horizons' Lines) .
Athanasios "Thanos" Mikroutsikos is a Greek composer and former politician. Although he is never billed as a singer, he has sung many songs. He is considered one of the most important composers of the recent Greek musical scene.
His first collection of poems, Marabou was published in 1933 when Kavvadias was in his early twenties and carries the spirit of a romantic young man, impressed with the marvels of the world. Most of the poems tell half-fictitious stories transpiring at sea and at the different ports Kavvadias visited during his journeys. The collection begins with a poem written in the first person about the writer's tragic love for a young wealthy girl he met on board and who later ended as a poor prostitute that he could barely recognise. Other poems recount the stories of a washed out Norwegian captain who died homesick watching a ship sailing to the Lofoten and of an enchanted dagger carrying the curse that its owner shall kill someone they love. Artistically, he was influenced by French literature and the poet Charles Baudelaire whom he cites in many of his works. Like a lot of Greek poetry, Kavvadias' work is characterized by a deep feeling of nostalgia.
Lofoten is an archipelago and a traditional district in the county of Nordland, Norway. Lofoten is known for a distinctive scenery with dramatic mountains and peaks, open sea and sheltered bays, beaches and untouched lands. Though lying within the Arctic Circle, the archipelago experiences one of the world's largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude.
French literature is, generally speaking, literature written in the French language, particularly by citizens of France; it may also refer to literature written by people living in France who speak traditional languages of France other than French. Literature written in French language, by citizens of other nations such as Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, etc. is referred to as Francophone literature. France itself ranks first in the list of Nobel Prizes in literature by country.
Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe.
His other collections are titled Fog, published in 1947 and Traverso published after his death 1975. His second short story titled "Of War", which was to be his last and was also published after his death in 1987, recounts the story of his rescue by a local during a storm. His experiences during World War II affected him profoundly and as a result, his later works became increasingly political and in support of both the communists in Greece and the general leftist movements throughout the world. One of these poems is about the death of Argentinian revolutionary Ernesto (Che) Guevara, written as an answer to the criticisms received by some of his more polemic comrades who thought that his poems over-romanticized the harsh and dangerous life of sailors who were potential symbols of class struggle.
Another is about the execution of Andalusian poet and playwright Federico García Lorca by the Francoists which, in the poem, is compared with the destruction of the Greek village of Distomo and the executions at Kaisariani which were carried out by the Nazi forces that occupied Greece.
His only novel The Shift was published in 1954 and recounts the stories told by the sailors on their night shift at the ship's bridge. Images from exotic places, prostitutes, captains gone mad and memories of the war blend together, to form a dreamy world of lucid forms, part fictional, part true.
Although not considered an innovator of the height of Odysseas Elytis,[ according to whom? ] he is popular among Greeks and his best poems taught at schools throughout the country. He is considered by many to embody of the Greek "soul" because of his romantic affiliation with the sea and its journeys and for his genuinely humane outlook.[ according to whom? ]
A selection of his poetry, with some of his shorter prose, translated into English by Simon Darragh, is available under the title Wireless Operator from the London Publisher Enitharmon.
Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer. Widely considered a giant of modern Greek literature, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in nine different years.
Odysseus Elytis was regarded as a major exponent of romantic modernism in Greece and the world. In 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Giorgos or George Seferis, the pen name of Georgios Seferiades, was a Greek poet-diplomat. He was one of the most important Greek poets of the 20th century, and a Nobel laureate. He was a career diplomat in the Greek Foreign Service, culminating in his appointment as Ambassador to the UK, a post which he held from 1957 to 1962.
Kostas Karyotakis is considered one of the most representative Greek poets of the 1920s and one of the first poets to use iconoclastic themes in Greece. His poetry conveys a great deal of nature, imagery and traces of expressionism and surrealism. He also belongs to the Greek Lost Generation movement. The majority of Karyotakis' contemporaries viewed him in a dim light throughout his lifetime without a pragmatic accountability for their contemptuous views; for after his suicide, the majority began to revert to the view that he was indeed a great poet. He had a significant, almost disproportionately progressive influence on later Greek poets.
Edwin John Dove Pratt,, who published as E. J. Pratt, was "the leading Canadian poet of his time." He was a Canadian poet from Newfoundland who lived most of his life in Toronto, Ontario. A three-time winner of the country's Governor General's Award for poetry, he has been called "the foremost Canadian poet of the first half of the century."
Manolis Anagnostakis was a Greek poet and critic at the forefront of the Marxist and existentialist poetry movements arising during and after the Greek Civil War in the late 1940s. Anagnostakis was a leader amongst his contemporaries and influenced the generation of poets immediately after him. His poems have been honored in Greece's national awards and arranged and sung by contemporary musicians. In spite of his accomplishments, Philip Ramp notes that Anagnostakis "is the least known, to an English speaking audience, of the major Greek poets of his generation."
Nikos Dimou, born in 1935 in Athens, is a Greek copywriter, columnist and writer.
Nikos Egonopoulos was a modern Greek painter and poet. He is one of the most important members of "Generation of the '30s", as well as a major representative of the surrealist movement in Greece. His work as a writer also includes critique and essays.
Andreas Embirikos was a Greek surrealist poet and the first Greek psychoanalyst.
Ioannis (Nanos) Valaoritis is a Greek writer who has been widely published as a poet, novelist and playwright since 1939; his correspondence with George Seferis has been a bestseller. Raised within a cosmopolitan family with roots in the Greek War of Independence but twice driven into exile by events, Valaoritis has lived in Greece, the United Kingdom, France and the United States, and as a writer and academic he has played a significant role in introducing the literary idioms of each country to the rest. The quality, the international appeal, and the influence of his work has led Valaoritis to be described as the most important poet of the Hellenic diaspora since Constantine Cavafy.
Nikos Gatsos was a Greek poet, translator and lyricist.
Kostas Krystallis was a Greek author and poet, representative of 19th century Greek pastoral literature. He was born an Ottoman subject in Epirus, but escaped to Greece after being denounced to the authorities for writing a patriotic collection of poetry. Krystallis initially wrote his works in archaic language, but after 1891 he adopted the vernacular (Demotic) Greek language and became influenced by the New Athenian school. He was a pictorial writer, with a love of nature, while most of his work was based on traditional folk poetry.
Yannis Varveris was a Greek poet, critic and translator.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a 1995 Belgian-French drama film directed by Marion Hänsel. It was entered into the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. The plot is based on the short story titled "Li", by the Greek poet and sailor Nikos Kavvadias.
Nicolas Calas was the pseudonym of Nikos Kalamaris, a Greek-American poet and art critic. While living in Greece, he also used the pseudonyms Nikitas Randos and M. Spieros.
Epameinondas Kavvadias was a Greek admiral who served thrice as Chief of the Navy General Staff and led the Greek fleet in the first years of World War II.
Andreas Georgiou Thomas (1942–2002) was a Cypriot poet and educationalist, who during his lifetime made a significant contribution to modern Cypriot literature and secondary education.
Menelaos Lountemis, was the pen name one of the most important essayists in the Greek interwar period and post-World War II era. His pen name was inspired by his later homeland's river Loudias.
Elena Penga is a Greek playwright, fiction writer and stage director. Born in Thessaloniki, she studied Theater and Philosophy at Wesleyan University and Screen and Theater Writing at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her most recent book Tight Belts and Other Skin has been translated into Swedish and English as prose poetry. She is also one of the co-authors of the screenplay for Lakis Papastathis’ award-winning film about the phenomenal Greek short-story writer Giorgios Vizyenos, His Only Journey in His Life.