Alex Kostas Reviews Dina Amantides, Anna Couani, Zeny Giles, George Vassilacopoulos, Erma Vassiliou and Dimitris Troaditis

9 November 2017

The most recent chapbook of the Owl series is by Dimitris Troaditis, who has been a champion of bilingual Greek-Australian poetry for a long time. In Tightrope Walking, Troaditis approaches a world in crisis. The crisis is immense and difficult to truly grasp, so the titular tightrope walker has an unsure path ahead of him. Troaditis recognises that we are bombarded by lies, making the search for truth more difficult than it ever has been. Tellingly, Troaditis often uses the word ‘counterfeit’. More than a world of ignorant mistruths, we live in a world of deliberate falsehoods. Yet cynicism and pessimism are not viable options. For Troaditis, the only way forward is to take back our breath and rebel. As he writes in ‘Faith’:

We are not going to capitulate
even though the polluted atmospheres
are recorded in our breaths
with a false passion like a trademark

As Helen Nickas wrote in her introduction to ‘Desire’, the rationale for this chapbook series is to showcase Greek-Australian poetry of all kinds, and this aim has surely been achieved. Each of the chapbooks provides a window into the varied and talented writing that exists in the Greek-Australian community, and the series brings several poets to wider readership through having their works translated into English. What Helen Nickas has established is remarkable, especially in an age where print publications face staggering struggles to remain viable. Owl Publishing represents a wonderful slice of modern Australian poetry, and this series serves to strengthen its position in the Australian literary landscape.

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