Vortex

poetry by Manolis

Review

An ancient music runs through the poetry of Manolis, so it is appropriate that his work should be presented with Greek en face. Vibrant, radiant, his poetry is steeped in an antique tradition and yet is thoroughly modern in scope and refreshingly new. It is at once devotional, musical and earthy, yielding deep impressions of a life lived passionately. Taut, lyrical and everywhere informed by a powerful and subtle melody, Vortex is a remarkable and exciting book of poems. It celebrates the natural and metaphysical worlds in a tone that is at once contemporary and classical, revealing an extraordinary range of subjects and ideas, handled with the surety of an accomplished voice. Vortex is both sculptural and ethereal, engaging both the mind and heart equally, and a delight to the senses.

– Richard Olafson

In his new collection of poems Manolis scans the vortex and sees in its turbulence and eddies, the clash and tease of love. He reminds us that "words cast no shadows" and that we have "new saints" to protect us, and that behind the "muddy barricades" where we fight our battle with death there is always the desire of the soul to return and linger among "small pebbles" and "sea froth", and stare at the "brightest star" in the heavens–acknowledging and seeking that which is still "unbound"–still incarnating around it.

His voice is lyrical, prophetic in its attention, and compelling in its scope. His purpose, to uphold the details and vignettes of a life well into its fullness... A life grounded in memories that teach as well describe. In that sense one is tempted to read his poems as enacted parables that bridge the gap between the soul and the companion it finds in the flesh.

– Ilya Tourtidis, May 28, 2011

Excerpt

Wonder
I could come back–you said
when you would call me

I could come back to saddle
my white horse and ride next to you

toward that glen where we sat
that sunlit afternoon

I could come back–you said
without my whims

I could bring with me
the laughter we shared
in that sunlit glen

I close my eyes wondering
where you are
what keeps you away
"A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me"
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

About the Author

Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) is a Greek-Canadian poet and author. He was recently appointed an honorary instructor and fellow of the International Arts Academy, and awarded a Masters for the Arts in Literature. He is recognized for his ability to convey images and thoughts in a rich and evocative way that tugs at something deep within the reader. Born in the village of Kolibari on the island of Crete in 1947, he moved with his family at a young age to Thessaloniki and then to Athens, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences from the Panteion University of Athens. After graduation, he served in the armed forces for two years and emigrated to Vancouver in 1973, where he worked as an iron worker, train labourer, taxi driver, and stock broker, and studied English Literature at Simon Fraser University. He has written three novels and numerous collections of poetry, which are steadily being released as published works. His articles, poems and short stories in both Greek and English have appeared in various magazines and newspapers in Canada, United States, Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Australia, and Greece. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Romanian, Swedish, German, Hungarian languages and has been published in book form or in magazines in various countries. He now lives in White Rock, where he spends his time writing, gardening, traveling, and heading Libros Libertad, an unorthodox and independent publishing company which he founded in 2006 with the mission of publishing literary books. His translation book George Seferis-Collected Poems was shortlisted for the Greek National Literary Awards, the highest literary recognition of Greece.

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