HOME IN THE GROUND by Danae Sioziou at und.Athens, tr. by Panayotis Ioannidis


A poem by Danae Sioziou at und.Athens translated by Panayotis Ioannidis


Mother called on the phone, you’re not eating, second day in a row now. The perfect monster, I, asked what’s happening next and across from me Antigone let fall two tears into the coffee. I took the train, a bullet, you’ve no idea what a pain these trips are to me. Together we lay down on the white bed, I took it out on the nurses, they accepted it, no one has such a granddaughter — you winked at me. You came to me in my sleep again on the next day. Gently drawing aside the net from the stomach, you showed me how you had taken care of the gardens: it was from you, then, that we had tumbled into the world, it’s you who had made sure that one day the heart would take up all the space in here.

– translated by Panayotis Ioannidis



Pictured:A detail from Rana Hamadeh’s performance score of Al Karantina: De Contagione et Contagiosis Morbis (2012), as presented at utters excess in between, curated by Ioanna Gerakidi and Danae Io at State of Concept. See the full documentation of the show here.

“Nützliche Kinderspiele” Rezension der “Wiener Zeitung”

“Nützliche Kinderspiele” von Danae Sioziou: “Ein Lyrikband blickt mit den Augen eines Kindes in die Welt – spielerisch, poetisch und nicht ohne Humor.”

Gerald Jatzek

*A review of the German edition of Useful Children’s Games in “Wiener Zeitung” by Gerald Jatzek, who reads the book as a poetic and humorous alternative plan to positivism.


Danae Sioziou: Nützliche Kinderspiele

Useful Children Games in German by Parasitenpresse Editions


Einer unbegreiflichen und verwirrenden Erwachsenenwelt stellt die griechische Dichterin Danae Sioziou ihre eigene Spielewelt gegenüber. Dabei zeigt sie das Spiel als den ewigen Versuch, Ordnung im Chaos zu schaffen, als Mittel der Selbsterkenntnis und damit als nützliche Kulturpraxis. In den Welten, die sie arrangiert, ziehen Spielsachen, Tiere, Pflanzen, Haushaltsgegenstände, Eltern, Großeltern, Gouvernanten und Lehrer, Märchenfiguren und übernatürliche Wesen umher – und werfen Fragen nach der Widersprüchlichkeit des Lebens auf. Es ist eine Traum- und Albtraumwelt zugleich, voller Vorstellungskraft und Wunder, voller Bedrohungen und Hindernisse, in denen Wunden, Ängste und Verdrängungen als Sensoren der Suche und Orientierung fungieren.

Danae Sioziou ist Gast beim Europäischen Literaturfestival Köln-Kalk am 6.-8. September 2019.

Danae Sioziou: Nützliche Kinderspiele. Gedichte aus dem Griechischen von Elena Pallantza und der Gruppe LEXIS, 62 Seiten, Preis: 10,- € – ab sofort lieferbar

Cover SioziouDanae Sioziou, 1987 geboren, aufgewachsen in Karlsruhe und in Karditsa (Thessalien / Griechenland), lebt in Athen…

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The Spider, Danae Sioziou, in The Ilanot Review


The Spider

Danae Sioziou

Translated from the Greek by Panagiotis Kechagias and Mania Meziti


Dear Sir,

I watch you from the ceiling,
your coffee requests more sugar.
Something about the clothes and the shoes is off,
you shouldn’t have patched up all the holes.
Grab the day like a knife,
the weight of your life keeps growing,
the agreement with the mirror has been cancelled
and you are turning fat.
Tomorrow I will hang before your nose,
perhaps you could please feed me?

The Spider


Dear Spider,

just yesterday the bat gave birth in a corner of the attic, her tasty eggs float in the air.
I haven’t learned to drive, to debone fish, to read newspapers.
I have two useless dog teeth and a BB gun.
I have made a deal with the morning coffee,
I respect the decision of the mirror.
I no longer set traps for birds,
each day I head to the river and shoot the waters.





3 poems in Portuguese by A Bacana, translated by Joana Gomez & Michel Kabalan


Οικιακά – Trabalhos domésticos

Se calhar não percebeu
E nem reparou
mas continuou a cortar as mãos
depois de descascar as pêras.
O sangue fluiu com gentileza
pelas linhas do destino da vida do coração
até ao ralo
rodopiando entre pratos sujos e restos de comida.
Aproximou-se inquieto
o seu gato
com uma compaixão sincera
começou a lamber as feridas
enquanto por um breve momento
ela se contemplou no reflexo vítreo dos olhos felinos
uma estrangeira
presa numa gaiola suja
um telhado que não conhece o nascer do sol
pequenos besouros no chão
e na pia as mãos encharcadas num lago escuro
que agora brilha
coroado com a espuma branca do detergente.
Das profundezas da pia
nascem todas as luas cheias
as luas brancas
deixa-me ao menos acabar a louça hoje

Danae Sioziou (Grécia, 2008)
Publicado em  ‘Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry’ (NYRB Poets, 2017)


Um assalto (2018)

Ao abrir a porta da minha casa
vejo que a poesia é um privilégio
como os brinquedos caros da infância
ou a enésima audição da tua música favorita
em condições acústicas perfeitas
como um beijo dado pelo amor da tua vida
como milhares de póneis brilhantes
como a vida noutros planetas
como o mel que se dissolve completamente numa chávena de chá
como rebanhos de trovões à distância
Eu gosto de escrever poemas
porque escuto o começo da minha morte
mesmo que as pessoas não gostem ouvir poemas
Eu gosto deste som
a maneira como se põe em ordem as palavras
a maneira como assaltam uma casa segura
Gosto de escrever poemas
a maneira como os gatos gostam de se lamber ao sol
e eu quero ser boa nisso.
eu quero ser boa nisso.


A Flecha (2010)

Anda cá e brinca comigo. Desabotoa os meus botões um por um e por cada um deles contar-te-ei um sonho. Verás como as minhas costas nuas formam um arco. Por desenhar. Quando puderes, tenta esculpir aqui, peço-te, uma flecha.

publicado em ‘Useful Children’s Games’, Harlequin Creature, New York 2016

An interview to Elžbieta Banytė for the 30th literature festival „Druskininkai Poetic Fall“. http://www.pdr.lt/en/texts/item/123-danae-sioziou

Poetinis Druskininkų ruduoElžbieta Banytė (hereinafter, E. B.): A few years ago, I saw “Burn The Script”, the Greek TV comedy series, where one of the episodes was “Germany vs. Greece”. You were born in Germany. Do you think this kind of humor has any good basis? Namely, laughing at cultural stereotypes (for example, at Germans, who are said to only walk when the light is green, while the Greeks don’t even bother to look for a zebra crossing). How do you understand the “Greek mentality”? If such a thing really exists, is it reflected in your creative work?

Danae Sioziou (hereinafter, D. S.): I had not seen this series before. I only watched it now. It made me very sad. It‘s not funny at all: this humor is primitive and cheesy, one that does not offer anything to me as a viewer. It does not cheer me up and does not give me the space to think. I guess stereotypes, fortunately, do not necessarily prove to be true. Moreover, they are merely an instrument for making a caricature of nations‘ peculiarities and cultures and, among other things, can open doors to dangerous phenomena such as the legalization of radical and racist attitudes in the minds of citizens. Television is a very influential medium, so I can’t treat it with indulgence. I’ve watched a lot of TV shows and films, and I‘ve read books and articles about the relations between these two countries. Sure enough, nations do have historical identities, but they’re made up of many components – and often, it’s not even a singular thing. However, people‘s everyday routines are constantly changing, so life can’t be based on stereotypes and oppositions. We must commit ourselves to protecting the fragile and truly not self-evident assets of peace and democracy.

When we moved to Greece – too late for me to be able to become a real Greek and too early to be just a German or a German Greek – something happened. There was a celebration of October 28th going on, and some child, mocking my accent, told me to go back to my homeland (he meant Germany), and I was a little disturbed and told him that my homeland was here. He gave me that interrogative look. This experience was not traumatic, but I remember it. Just as I recall the kindergarten teacher in Germany, who regularly compared the children of immigrants with the little Germans. But there was another woman who was good to us all, and spoke with everyone in his or her mother tongue. When we first arrived in Greece, I saw the Albanian immigrants who worked in the fields all day without a break and did not get anything to eat, who did not even dare to utter a word. The family women often gave us food that we could carry to them secretly because we were still small and could not be seen among the high corn cobs. We felt pity for the Albanians because we also had immigrants in our families, and, moreover, our previous generations were living in poverty due to the German occupation and the civil war that forced the part of my family who resided in the mountains to resettle.

As a child, I identified Greece with a paradise because we would come there only in the summer, and in my childish eyes, it all looked perfect and full of colors that I could not even imagine in Germany. One day, during a religion lesson, I was sharing the desk with D., a child whose family had just moved from Albania. I was the only one who knew his real name, because he kept it secret from others. When the teacher of religion asked what was paradise, D. and I responded with one voice: “Greece!” We were wrong. A few days later, he was brutally beaten at school, because he was a foreigner. I didn‘t get beaten and felt extremely lucky.

I think if some kind of mentality is visible in my poetry at all, it’s the mentality of a stranger – but one that goes beyond stereotypes. The one of a person who grew up and lived in different places – even though, in my own case, being partly privileged. The following quote from Camus expresses something about me: “On the contrary, in a world where the shadows of illusions and light splits, people become strangers. This exile is without refuge, because it does not contain the lost memories of the homeland or the hope of the promised land.” (The Myth of Sisyphus )


Στο πάρκο


Θέλησα τον κόσμο παιδικό πάρκο
με το προστατευτικό δίχτυ του
όχι χωρίς
θέλησα το σώμα βρεφικό
με τα σάλια του
στα τέσσερα
χωρίς νόημα η ομιλία
και μόνο  το κλάμα
σε πείθει ή δε σε πείθει
τα μαλακά παιχνίδια
δεν ματώνουν λιγότερο τα ούλα
σε πλησιάζω
σου χαρίζω
ένα ξεδοντιασμένο χαμόγελο
εσύ είσαι ξένος και ατζαμής
έχω καλό προαίσθημα
σίγουρα, σίγουρα
θα με βρεις όμορφη.