Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist from Athens looks like, meet Eirini Margariti!
Who are you as a poet/writer/author/artist?
I am Eirini Margariti, 36 years old. I am an actress and stage-director, living and working in Athens. My experience on stage has influenced the way I think and write. When writing, I am trying to create snapshots of daily life. Apart from that, I don’t have any other particular idea of who I should be. I write or carry out performances in order to understand more about myself and the world around me.
What kind of literary tradition, authors or concepts have you found inspirational for your work?
There are certainly many influences. But one of them relates very closely to the way I think. It inspires me the most and it is summarized on the following extract from Peter Brook’s book: “Empty Space”: «I CAN take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged». Likewise, a page is a “bare” stage. Every word is a fact. In poetry I am interested in the absolutely necessary, the least it takes to create a poetic “body”.
Please name several contemporary authors who you think are most significant – in any possible sense – and why?
Raymond Carver, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Charles Bukowski, Jean Rhys, Henry Miller, Doris Lessing, Albert Camus. They all wrote in a way that changed my perspective on the world for good.
What do you think about the current state of the relationship between the author and the reader? Is there a mentionable shift in that relationship through New media as in terms of being alienated on the one hand or being enlivend on the other hand?
I think there is a significant and a considerable shift. New media has improved access to literature by breaking geographic, cultural, and other constraints. Nowadays, by just browsing the internet one can discover and get in touch with an author’s work.
You even have access to whole books and up-to-date information about the author’s work. However, this doesn’t mean that this relationship is essential. The new media contributes merely to a fragmentary relationship with literature. We have the “information” and the feeling that we “know”, but in reality there is a greater distance from the author.
As an author, I think that new media run the risk to influence negatively the artistic choices out of the need to meet the demands of the public.
There have always been interactions and disputes between the discourses of poetry and politics. Do you see possibilities of emancipatory strategies concerning contemporary interactions between poetic and political discourses and agendas? How can/should/do these literary strategies look like?
The truth is that I don’t have many things to say about politics and poetry. I prefer to consider poetry as one of the few shelters of independent thought, but maybe I am just romantic.
Photo © Fanis Pavlopoulos