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Two Poems by Dimitra Kotoula, Translated from the Greek by Maria Nazos

Case Study I


The light falls lower now—

Shadows on the steep mountains
The atmosphere calm as meek milk
and the griping city flock
trudges through nothing. 

Between reality and hope
where the empty moment was revealed
the mind spreads its images.

Dividing      distinguishing      varying
it struggles to see
with its sugary muscles open
insists to create – finally –
something new.

the dark medieval city air
just begins to blush 

a sinful little sunbeam
wanders the horizon like old glory

in dis/    enchantment.
(these words that I bite are full of meaning)
the tribe’s defining geometry
merging as a skewed beam of morning light
overflowing with emotion
within the relentless weavings of time
in and out of History
:signs of tension:
:signs of leisure:
rests just upon the wound.

is this freedom?
could you tame it?

The red muscle of the mind glows
something flashes
(you’re not alone
between you and the poem, Reader,
a sharp moment of pure light)

the face turned low
(why did you make that promise?)
the gaze above
the step nailed in the hot mud
and in front
without sinking—



Case Study II

 as if
something new

 as if
 you foresaw

 you foresaw



 it is sinking

 as if—


from The Slow Horizon That Breathes
With an Introduction by A.E. Stallings
forthcoming from WORLD POETRY / October 2023


Dimitra Kotoula (b. 1974) is a prizewinning Greek poet and the Greek translator of Louise Glück, Jorie Graham, and Sharon Olds. Her poems have been translated into 13 languages.




Maria Nazos’s poetry, translations, and essays are published in The New Yorker, Copper Nickel, and Mid-American Review. She is the author of A Hymn That Meanders (Wising Up Press) and Still Life (Dancing Girl Press).


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