April is National Poetry Month. Welcome our friend, Poet Katie Aliferis, who has curated a month of poetry, featuring Greek-American writers. This week, meet Apollo Papafrangou.
From Sappho to Ritsos, Greeks have always had a way with words. In celebration of National Poetry Month, we have collected some delightful and moving poems by contemporary Greek-American writers. We’ll spotlight a different writer each week. We hope you enjoy this series.
Curated by Katie Aliferis
Greek Fisherman by Apollo Papafrangou
Few options to make a living amid this arid land
of tawny summer rock
Rich in history, rich in tradition,
abundant in so many things
save for those yielding consistent profit
this hard-scrabble Mediterranean terrain
from which men grow strong as olive-tree trunks
despite the stingy soil
And so Ioannis
took to the sea
in a kaik baptized as Sophia
lured by the siren
like a tug on his life line
day after day, year after year casting his net
until the silvery scales
of his aquatic bounty
were impressed upon his sun-kissed skin
prune-flesh made over in the current’s image
via the ocean’s perpetual soak
until the foreign feel of land underfoot made him retract his step
until his eyes grew dim with the years and the crust of salt
until the sky and the sea and shoreline
were reduced to a single strip of teal
a lone blur of aquamarine.
Meet the poet
Apollo Papafrangou, a native of Oakland, CA, is the author of the novel Wings of Wax (watch for our review next week!), published by Booktrope Editions in 2016, and the short story collection Concrete Candy, published when he was just fifteen years old by Anchor/DoubleDay, with French and Danish editions.
A graduate of the Mills College Creative Writing MFA program, he has also written for HBO Films, which optioned the movie rights to his novel The Fence. His fiction has appeared in the Simon and Schuster anthology Trapped, and in Voices, a collection of works by Greek writers published by Nine Muses Press, among other publications.
Meet the curator
Katie Aliferis is a Greek-American poet from San Francisco, California. Her poetry has been featured in Φωνές, Silver Birch Press, sPARKLE & bLINK, Unbroken, and other literary anthologies, journals, and websites. Her favorite poems are Jane Hirshfield’s “The Lost Love Poems of Sappho” and C.P. Cavafy’s “Όταν Διεγείρονται” (“When Roused”). When not writing, Katie can be found reading, traveling, sipping mint tea, enjoying time with friends and family, and working in cancer research. Follow Katie on her website and Twitter.