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Authors: Yiannis Ritsos

Published by Smokestack Books

ISBN: 9780992740962

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On 10 May 1936 the 27-year old Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos saw a newspaper photograph of a woman weeping over the body of her son, a Salonica tobacco-factory worker killed by police during a strike. Two days later the Communist Party newspaper Rizospastis published a long poem by Ritsos. Dedicated ‘to the heroic workers of Salonika’ and drawing on the fourteenth-century Greek Orthodox Epitaphios Thrinos, the poem combines Mary's lament at Christ’s tomb with popular Greek folk traditions of resurrection and Spring to create a universal lament sung by every bereaved mother ‘who sits and mourns on the blood-stained street with her heart flayed, her wing broken.’

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