National Poetry Month: Greek-American Poets – Apollo Papafrangou

Greek-American poet & writer Apollo Papafrangou

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.


National Poetry Month: Greek-American Poets

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-American poet & writer Apollo Papafrangou
Greek-American writer Apollo Papafrangou



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


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.

Meet more Greek-American Poets:

National Poetry Month: Greek-American Poets – Georgia Kolias

National Poetry Month: Greek-American Poets – Georgia Bellas

National Poetry Month: Greek-American Poets – Alexandra Kostoulas




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