LEFT COAST WRITERS FERRY PLAZA BOOK PARTY: My Life on the Ragged Paths of Pan: Selected Poems and Translations with Author Thanasis Maskaleris
Could it be poetic pandemonium or something more restrained? My Life on the Ragged Paths of Pan: Selected Poems and Translations is a unique book. It contains 40 original poems written by the author, divided into the early and late periods of his long career as a poet. The book also contains 25 poems, translated by Maskaleris, from 11 of Greece’s greatest poets: Elytis, Embirikos, Engonopoulos, Gatsos, Karelli, Kavafis, Kazantzakis, Ritsos, Sikelianos, Varnalis, and Vrettakos.
In the book’s Preface, Thanasis writes: “I always strove, as a poet, to capture/express a feeling alive in me; or an idea/social concern. Landscapes that filled me with their beauty, and human beings that touched my heart are often at the center of my poems. My poetry sought to capture and revivify essential moments of my life—moments of beauty and humanity …”
Like the journey home to Ithaka, this is a book to be enjoyed slowly, savoring its freshness, beauty, and wisdom.
Thanasis Maskaleris was born in Arkadia, Greece and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 17. He studied Philosophy and English at the University of Oklahoma, and Comparative Literature at Indiana University and the University of California-Berkeley. He has written original poetry in Greek and in English, and has translated contemporary Greek poetry extensively. Professor Maskaleris has taught Comparative Literature, Classics and Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, until his retirement. At San Francisco State University he was the Founding Director of the Center for Modern Greek Studies and has spearheaded efforts that led to the establishment of the Nikos Kazantzakis Chair in 1983. He has co-translated, into English, Nikos Kazantzakis’ Russia, and is currently working on a critical-biographical study of Kazantzakis (Kazantzakis and the Cretan Life-force). Professor Maskaleris has also authored Kostis Palamas, a critical introduction to the great poet’s work. Two of his recent publications are: An Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry (co-edited with Nanos Valaoritis); and The Terrestrial Gospel of Nikos Kazantzakis: Will the Humans Be Saviors of the Earth? — an anthology of passages from the works of Kazantzakis, centering on Nature and the workers of the soil — intended to inspire environmental action. His latest book, published by Zorba Press, is My Life on the Ragged Paths of Pan: Selected Poems and Translations by Thanasis Maskaleris.