In the Autumn 2013 Issue of The Poetry Review, A.E. Stallings remarked that Kotoula belongs to the younger generation of Greek poets born after the Greek military Junta. She then says ”Kotoula subtly and masterfully transforms …private demons into a public resonance.”
Kotoula employs an array of vehicles and forms—ranging from the lyrical, the elegiac, to the ars poetica—to lament the current socio-economic crisis in Greece, to hearken back to the ancient times when Greek society was thriving, and to envision a spiritually-brighter future.
I chose to translate Kotoula not only because she is among this unique generation of poets, but also because of her work’s delicate tonal balance. My biggest challenge throughout the translation process was remaining true to both meaning and music without compromising the poems’ political sensibility.
The “Case Study” series inhabits the ars poetica form to demonstrate the healing power of poetry for Modern Greek society during these difficult times. “Case Study V” is one example of Kotoula’s tonal modulation. The poem not only contrasts Modern Greek culture with the Ancient civilization; the narrator also calls for a higher state of moral consciousness.
Dimitra Kotoula (author) is the author of Three Notes for a Melody published by Nefeli Editions, Athens. Her poetry, essays and translations have appeared on line as well as in poetry anthologies and journals in Greece, Europe and the Balkans. Her poems have been translated in English by A.E. Stallings, Fiona Sampson, and David Connolly. Currently, she works as an archaeologist and lives in Athens, Greece with her daughter.
Maria Nazos (translator) is the author of A Hymn That Meanders, (2011, Wising Up Press). She earned her MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has received fellowships from the University of Nebraska, Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work is published or forthcoming in The Florida Review, The Southern Humanities Review, The New Ohio Review, Poet Lore, The New York Quarterly, The Sycamore Review, Main Street Rag, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. She is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her site is www.marianazos.com.
Case Study V
 Refers to an indigenous Greek plant, which appears in Plato’s “Politeia.” Also mentioned in Yiorgios Sepheris’ poem “Over Aspalathus Bushes,” the plant represents afterlife punishment of tyrants, who, according to Plato were drawn through the road while the flower’s thorns tore them apart.