I’m pleased to introduce a further Greek poet today, Natalie Katsou, a multi-talented and polymathic young writer, theatre-director and teacher I worked with until recently. I find her poetry ambitious and disarming, a collage of giddy imaginative jumps full of cathartic drama and dissonance. I reprint here a sequence from her third volume Nymphalidae (Kedros, 2015), followed by her brief bio:
a mouse jumps on the bench with the frozen shrimps its eyes widen become glass from its ear crops up a tail till it becomes the head of a cat
Left like a gabardine on the table of an entrance dripping a lake after the rain on the wooden floor as on the grass with the thistles and a bunch of poppies that will shed their petals before nightfall soaking the red linen on the sleeve and the last rays hitting the lining while a bag of fresh trout slips gently off the table onto the lake on the floor. The impending moment of return to this spot stretches and hovers and gathers wind-like in corn till the lake dries up the trout falls among the thistles sweeping the linen to cover it with a red cast-off garment.
Arranging flowers and the weight of transparency while horseshoes in copper pots overflowing with boiled snow like a midnight kiss with a guitar’s empty belly for a pillow with a long exotic arm straining the cold in the hive exhaling between the chords as momentarily a swan.
Grief tears the lonely apart
In the light’s parting the brain’s woolly parcel
The earth is a square mat to sharpen the fingertips exorcizing the flapping of wings
observing a water lily caught in a white transparent ice cube
Lying prostrate on the grass with yellow hair
Dripping a thick green the branches catch fire
It’s customary. A lonely look at things – with the guilt of an animal that’s eating sweetmeat intended for bait. At a certain moment it may be forgotten. Once the sugar crystallizes on the palate. The slaughter takes place between blindness and utter clarity. Common denominator is the white, the world’s white corner that resembles death.
Translated by Yiannis Goumas
Natalie Katsou was born in Athens. She studied Law and Theatre Studies at the University of Athens and she had her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Directing at East 15 Acting School, University of Essex under the Minotis Scholarship by the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece. She lives and works as a theatre director and a drama lecturer in London; she is the Artistic Director of Operaview.“Magodos” (Kastaniotis Publ. 2008- nominated for the DIAVAZO Literature Prize) , “Cochlea” (Kedros Publ. 2012- nominated for the ANAGNOSTIS Literature Prize) and “Nymfalidae” (Kedros Publ. 2015).Her poems have been translated in English by Yiannis Goumas, in French by Michel Volkovitch and in Spanish by Mario Dominguez Parra. Her poetry features in magazines such as POIHSI, and poihtiki and in various e-zines such as poeticanet.gr, e-poema, Mediterranean.nu, Quarterly Review and others.