Katie Aliferis curated a wonderful series for National Poetry Month featuring Greek-American Poets. Now it’s time to shine the light on this talented poet.
Meet Katie Aliferis
Born in San Francisco and raised in the local area, Katie Aliferis traces her Greek roots to Areopoli. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Sonoma State University, and works in cancer research.
“When I’m not writing, I can usually be found reading, sipping mint tea, and enjoying time with family and friends.”
Katie enjoys traveling. She cites Greece and Hawaii among her favorite places to visit, though she said she enjoys any place with a fascinating history, beautiful scenery, and delicious food.
“I love Areopoli. In fact, my dream job is to own and run a little cheese shop in the village.”
Though she began writing poetry at a young age, only recently has she begun to share it. Her work has been featured in Φωνές, Silver Birch Press, sPARKLE & bLINK, Unbroken, and other literary anthologies, journals, and websites.
Katie has been a featured reader at various events including International Education Week, Greek American Writers Nights, Bay Area Book Festival, and more.
Channeling the muse Kalliope, the goddess of poetry, Katie’s work is steeped in her beloved heritage. She writes of emotion sometimes difficult to express. Her passionate verses overflow with beauty and elegance, and often pay homage to the heroes of mythology.
“My favorite poems are Jane Hirshfield’s ‘The Lost Love Poems of Sappho’ and C.P. Cavafy’s ‘Όταν Διεγείρονται’ (When Roused). I love works by Nikos Kazantzakis; At the Palaces of Knossos is one of my favorite books of all time. Kazantzakis once wrote, ‘Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.’ Poetry allows us to see the experiences of existence through many eyes (many realities). This is why I write.”
The words of this poet have captured many, and so deeply. Of Katie’s work, Keri Douglas of 9Muses News once wrote:
“Poetry opens the soul to see the path forward, to overcome challenges and find one’s true path. Katie Aliferis is a passionate and valiant poet who dares to shine brilliantly the path forward infused with the wisdom of the elders.”
Poetry by Katie Aliferis
Build my funeral pyre
Make it touch the clouds
I want to taste the rain
before it even falls
Build it with the driest
kindling you can find
I want to go up
in a furious blaze
Dress me in my finest gown
Hair in chestnut waves around my shoulders
Leave my skin unpainted
I want the gods to recognize my face
Lay beside me sheets of poetry
Books of wisdom and beauty
I want their words to be my escort
My ferryman, my Charon
Wail for wailing’s sake—if you wish—
Then drink and dance upon my ashes
Drink and dance with me
until the new sun rises
Ode to the Hands of Zeus
I can’t help but stare
Lean back and watch you settle in shadows
Watch you wrap each meaty finger around those bolts
Watch the way your hand releases each glowing flash
Watch that light linger there in your palm—
etched with eons, yet so supple—
Watch that illumination transfer to my chest
Watch the way it activates my nervous system
Sending ripples from that pulsing
atrial nucleus to each farthest-reaching appendage
Watch it give life to my necrotizing flesh
Watch, in wonder, as my body glows.
Am I immortal now?
As we speak, Katie’s poetry is being set to music by Greek-American composer and musician, Demetrius Spaneas, for various projects. Watch for her upcoming collection of poetry, called Φιλότιμο.