'I remember caresses, kisses, touching
each other's hair. We had no sense that
anything else existed'
- Elena Penga, 'Heads'
'Nothing, not even the drowning of a child
Stops the perpetual motion of the world'
- Stamatis Polenakis, 'Elegy'
Since the crisis hit in 2008, Greece has played host to a cultural renaissance unlike anything seen in the country for over thirty years. Poems of startling depth and originality are being written by native Greeks, émigrés and migrants alike. They grapple with the personal and the political; with the small revelations of gardening and the viciousness of streetfights; with bodies, love, myth, migration and economic crisis.
In Austerity Measures, the very best of the writing to emerge from that creative ferment - much of it never before translated into English - is gathered for the first time. The result is a map to the complex territory of a still-evolving scene - and a unique window onto the lived experience of Greek society now.
Karen Van Dyck is the Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Literature in the Classics Department at Columbia University. She writes on Modern Greek and Greek Diaspora literature, and gender and translation theory. Her translations include her edited and co-edited collections: The Rehearsal of Misunderstanding: Three Collections by Contemporary Greek Women Poets (Wesleyan, 1998); A Century of Greek Poetry (Cosmos, 2004); The Scattered Papers of Penelope: New and Selected Poems by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke (Graywolf, 2009), a Lannan Translation selection; and The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (Norton, 2010).