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Παρασκευή, 22 Αυγούστου 2014

Poetry: the limits between modernity and Pre-modernity

In Literature, and especially in Poetry, we distinguish periods. So, we tell our students about Modern Poetry and Pro-modern Poetry. This is a part of discussion about Tradition and Modernity.

Is there and which is the point of the meeting between Modern and Pro-modern Poetry?


The following text is a traditional song, an acritic Byzantine song. “Written in Medieval Greek, the acritic songs deal with the heroic deeds (Greek: ανδραγαθίες) of ακρίτες (frontiersmen), warriors that lived near the Arab frontiers and fought against the enemy.” Folk singers were singing these songs for pay. “This tradition remains today in Cyprus with the ποιηταράδες (chanters) that sing regularly in festivals and holidays.” Digenes Akrites (Greek: Διγενῆς Ἀκρίτης,  pronounced  [ðiʝeˈnis aˈkritis]), known in folksongs as Digenes Akritas  (Διγενῆς Ἀκρίτας, [aˈkritas]), is the most famous frontiersman. (Wikipedia)

«Ο Διγενής ψυχομαχεί»


Ο Διγενής ψυχομαχεί
κι η γης τόνε τρομάσει
κι η πλάκα τον ανατριχιά
πώς θα τόνε σκεπάσει,
γιατί από 'κειά που κοίτεται
λόγια 'ντρειωμένου λέει:

"Να 'χεν η γης πατήματα
κι ο ουρανός κερκέλια,
να πάτουν τα πατήματα,
να 'πιανα τα κερκέλια,
ν' ανέβαινα στον ουρανό,
να διπλωθώ να κάτσω,
να δώσω σείσμα τ' ουρανού.»


“Digenis is about to render his soul.

Digenis is about to render his soul
and the earth fears him
and the tombstone shivers
how will it cover him,
because from where he lies
he speaks as a brave man:

"If only the earth had steps
and the heaven handles
I would step on the steps,
I would grab the handles,
to climb up to heaven
and curl up to sit down,
to give a shake to the sky.”





We will inquiry with our students if is there and which is the point of the meeting between Modern and Pro-modern Poetry using and other resources, too: painting’s modern and pro-modern style. …


We will not say anything about the text’s origin. We let our students to listen to music and “discuss” with the song and the painting(s).


Ø      Listen to the song!   

Ø      Nature and lifeless things feel terror – why do you thing?

Ø      How to you imagine the terrorized Nature? Could you describe us your image?


Ø      Listen to the song, again!

Ø      Which are the phonemes you listen to more? How do you feel listening to them? Make a list with your emotions.


Ø      The protagonist, Digenis, is dying. Which is his desire/wish? Let’s suppose that his desire/wish is realized. Could you imagine the scene? Let’s express the scene using words and icons. Could you compose the icons of Dimitris Skourtelis and icons of Yerka Jacek? How do you feel and what do you think?  


Ø      “Digenis” desires/wishes and imagines. With his imagination create another reality – an “over-reality”. Have you met something similar in Modern Poetry? What do you think, is this song modern or pro-modern, traditional or modern? Why?


Ø      What do you think about the connection between Poetry (modern and Pro-modern) and Imagination?


(Look at paintings of Dimitris Skourtelis and Yerka Jacek. for Yerka Jacek …)