The Epitaphios

of Yannis Ritsos free ebooks/ english
Translator’s Introduction
On May 10, 1936 Yannis Ritsos saw a newspaper photograph of a woman mourning over the body of a dead youth in the street. The youth was her son, a worker in a Salonica tobacco factory who had been killed by police during a march by strikers. Inspired by this picture, the 27-yearold poet composed a dirge which he imagined the mother singing. The resulting poem, published in the Athenian newspaper Rizospactis on May 12, consisted of 44 verses arranged in three sections. Its title was “Mirolo?’ (“Dirge”), and it was dedicated “To the heroic workers of Salonica.”
Later that year Ritsos revised and expanded the poem, renaming it “Epitaphios.” It was composed of 224 verses in fourteen stanzas. Twenty years later, in 1956, he returned to the poem and wrote an additional six stanzas (numbers X-XV). … free ebooks