05 Dec 2023

Κείμενα για τον Γ. Δουατζή στο Ράδιο Τέχνης, Αγγλικά

0 Comment

Written by: Lambros Mitropoulos
01 July 2023

Who had the nerve to say
 that dreams don’t live among us?
 Who said our spirit cannot
 roam the entire world?
 Who said transcendence of potential, the self
 is a small cause?
 Some will say so
 but I will be here
 crossing the world full of innocence
 an illiterate infant
 before the multitude of written words
 and words that are as yet unwritten
 unrepentant, hopeful, thirsty
 as a hunter of the impossible
 to make it possible

George Douatzis


Giorgos Douatzis is one of our country’s most important modern writers. Especially prolific, he has been active for over 50 years, passionately and devotedly producing an exceptional literary output and unmatched poetry.

Plenty reviews of Giorgos Douatzis’s poetic work can be found in the recent book by Stixis Publications, titled “Words Were Dripping Red,” with the initiative and editing by George Rouskas. Additionally, critical reviews are included in the book “Critical Approaches (1976-2022) to the Poetic and Prose Works of Giorgos Douatzis,” which comprises a total of ninety reviews by 47 literature critics and philologists, covering a span of forty-six years (1976-2022). According to all these eminent authors and critics, Giorgos Douatzis’ poetry is tumultuous, captivating, profound, and impressively rich in social significance.

The literary work of Giorgos Douatzis is not only possessed by an ability to inspire, but also provides deep insights into the human experience. His poetry has a particular rhythm, with lively and perceptible imagery and strong metaphors, offering a singular way of viewing the world around us. It encourages us to slow down, enjoy every word and phrase, reflect on the beauty and significance of even the simplest things in life. His poetry weaves cobwebs of thought and feeling, inviting readers to enter a different world and experience the wealth of human existence.

In the process of creating a work, every artist follows their own unique approach, and the interaction between mind and soul is crucial in shaping their eventual artistic expression. As the artist delves deeper into the creative process, emotions diffuse into the work, imbuing it with a multitude of elements drawing upon experiences, memories or aspirations, and eventually breathing life into it.

Studying Giorgos Douatzis’s work “Chronicles-Diary notes”, by Kaktos, 2021, I was particularly intrigued by his views on the power and importance of creation and art.

So let us have a look at what the poet himself has written on the matter, through a collection of texts selected for this specific feature.

The paintings below are works by Giorgos Douatzis, who is also an exceptional self-taught painter. Ten of his most moving poems, in our opinion, can be found below the text.

Douatzis Paint 9

art and creation

Everyone of us is but a continuity, in life, in art, in creation. I, too, am but a ring in this chain, small and weak, holding my baton out to those ahead of me.
Works of art are a beacon of salvation not only to creators, but also to receivers. Art sheds light on the darkest corners of human nature, of life, places we wouldn’t otherwise dare to venture in. Art is a blessing, strengthening the idea that we are not as lonely as we imagine.
The sense of freedom in the artist’s enclosed world is magnificent. Moments of creation are a time of absolute freedom. The only opponent is the artist’s self, and materials: White paper, canvas, clay, marble, unwritten sheets, calling for the breath of life, regardless of place and time.

There is nothing higher than creation.

The path of creation is rough, long, and treacherous, that of destruction usually smooth and open, like a one-way road traversed by a humanity marked by the paranoia of gradual suicide, when reflective people go extinct, pushed to the margins of history, as if useless, by the small-minded. And art, a great gift.

Those truly humble do not speak about their work. By speaking of it, they would be effectively announcing “I am here”, when their work’s voice – if there is a reason for its existence – is far more powerful. Humble silence bolsters the work’s voice, makes it an immaculate cry-embrace of hope for people.

What sense of time can I talk about, when Beethoven and his sounds take me and lead me so far away? A taste of infinity. Even the sense of dissolved boundaries offers a wonderful feeling of freedom, if just for moments, exactly like transcendence, that other horizon-less reality. As if it were an incorporeal mattress, I lean on music, and it takes me to other, new places. In it, I find every magical thing born of the human mind, and I admire it boundlessly.

The herd instinct leads people towards common archetypes, a common lifestyle deemed “right” simply for being accepted by the majority. The thinker is a stranger to the herds, an outcast of his own choice, frowning at the things he observes around him, led to a completely personal kind of isolation. Building a personal “odd” system of values only intensifies his solitude. After all, he could never breathe freely inside the herd and its predominating imitationalism.

Art emerges as a savior in times of crisis. Perhaps it’s just my own understanding, but I can see, amid the crisis we are going through, an orgiastic activity around us, in theater, music, painting. I have the impression there is proliferation in every form of art. This recent crisis has brought things forward from the souls of people, especially young ones, and this is a comforting beam of hope.
Every work, like every human being, is unique. Uniqueness, however, doesn’t necessarily imply value. Quality is built gradually, not given freely. It requires discipline, labor, introspection, courage, and, most of all, love.
No-one can help a creator achieve their goal, such as the final form of a book or artwork. Only the artist, solely, exclusively them…

The way of art towards understanding the self, the world, people, is much broader and more pleasant, albeit tougher.

Douatzis Paint 11

refuge in art

Every art form satisfies needs in every human. A simplistic folk song is art. A solitary shepherd feels the need to play the flute, sings on his own, improvises. The common, “uncultivated” man, creates. Creating art is a need implicit in human substance, and this is why humans seek refuge in art when times are hard in life. Let us remember what happened during the military junta and democratic transition periods in Greece. An outburst of literature, music, Poetry. So much so, in fact, that many consider our own time poor in comparison.

The most dramatic twists in history, whether individual or collective, had art as a co-stimulating or subsequent element. From revolutionary music, paintings, dances, statues, performances, to the great Poetry. After all, every art form is inherently subversive, revolutionary, anti-authoritarian.

Culture, the only way out, is modified over time as to its means of expression, not its essence and content. In everyday life, we wear the appropriate masks, interact, live in the jungle of dog eat dog. But there comes a time when, talking with our great self at night, we realize there are feelings there, tears, love, emotion, pain, loss, every human thing. And then the only refuge left is in the products of culture, a book, a song, a play, a film.

Art offers a new side to reality. Until a new artwork comes to offer another new aspect, the previous one is already part of the existing reality, the new aspect of which will produce the next artwork, etc. And thus a constant peculiar record of the artist’s effervescence, emotions, inner life, visions is propagated. If the artist didn’t feel devoted to their art, perhaps they would have no excuse for existing. Then comes the need to share the work with other humans.

Douatzis Paint 13


One aspect of joyous moments is contact with artworks of a high aesthetic caliber. I am overcome with a feeling of gratitude to their creators. In moments like these, I think it is every creator’s obligation to share his work with his fellow people. And it is there that every single idea of the creator’s vanity collapses, when he addresses others and reaches out his hand in sharing. But even if his motives were vain, it makes no difference to me, when I can enjoy, to the point of happiness, the outcome. This is why I loved every genuine creator of every form of art and writing who preferred to share their work. On the other hand, I falter, pondering the selfish nature of my thought, my voracity, and I am led in the exact opposite direction: That the creator isn’t bound by any obligation to anyone. The work is exclusively his, and he retains every right to decide whether to share it or not, destroy it right after he completes it, or do with it as he sees fit. And it would surely be quite insolent of me to demand he share it with me. Here we can glimpse a stereotypical perception, which we ought to view with the appropriate skepticism.

If human works can uplift me with their aesthetic, what can I say about the importance of human beauty, when visible of course. In these moments, you eulogize human existence and the circumstances that led you to such discoveries. And if stimulation of the senses is added to aesthetic pleasure, then this meeting is truly boundless…

It’s a mistake to think that only those who produce artworks are creators. We ought to be grateful to all those who create, who pave the way for culture and make our lives easier with their inventions. Indeed, they often save our lives with their scientific and technological achievements.

How many films, works of high aesthetic quality, would we have enjoyed without cinema and television? How many lives would have been lost without diagnosis and treatment using medical machines? How much joy do we feel at having the ability to see, through a computer, in real time, our loved ones living thousands of kilometers away? We take inventions of the human mind for granted, without ever considering the work, time, or mental labor of their creators.

Many, most people, would look upon a poem, a painting, or any other work of art with disdain, labeling it useless, fruitless, worthless. And they would label their creators with the very same adjectives, even more easily. They are the same people who told a woman “you are beautiful”, admired in awe the singular dance of a sunset’s colors, probably humming a song, which was however made by someone… useless. And, naturally, they don’t know their attitude is an expression of stupidity, or even violence.

The creator is necessarily unique. Consciously isolated, creators deflect the influence of negative phenomena, without ignoring their existence. The lack of aesthetics, the disruption of the social fabric, the distancing between people, the degradation of the environment, the thirst for profit, all of our society’s ailments anger the creator, like every other sensitive, thinking person. Anger, as power, pushes the creator to produce work, to resist in their own way. Mostly because of their completely personal need to express what they feel.
Isolation and production of mental work requires courage. Making the fruits of mental labor public also requires strength, especially for humble people, it constitutes an exposure of the deeper self and a substantial form of offering, whether born of vanity or a true need to share.

Alone. Completely alone. And the white sheet is flooded with letters. Nothing becomes something. Zero becomes aligned with infinity. Ah, those journeys, so deeply carving the mind… And if you pause to wonder why the journey began, why it happened, there is no answer. After all, if there was an answer, the mystery of creation would be lost.

Producing work is a constant, incessant dialogue between creators. Creation is an indestructible baton in a relay race.

Picasso was absolutely right to consider himself a poet. Poetry spreads across every form of art, and not just from a theoretical point of view.

In time, I learned that talent needs to be handled with discipline, dedication, and arduous labor. What about its origin?

Every creator acts politically. Offering a tiny bit of culture to society with your work constitutes a supreme political action, an element that activates thought, nourishes aesthetics, contributes to awakening, alerting the mind.

Douatzis Paint 14

creation, barbarity, survival

Artistic creation has survived the test of time through wars, violence, bloodshed, disasters, through human barbarity. It exists alongside life. Its peak is to be witnessed in times of war and peace alike, of calm and turbulence. There, in the production of work, lies power, and, drawing it, people can take their fates in their own hands and define that of the descendants. It is there that people can seek escape from the threat and fear that manipulates them. It is there that spiritual uplifting and true love can be found in man. I would like art to serve love, dignity and justice. Exactly the things that upraise humans and are detested by authorities.

Can there be creation in a context of such a deep social crisis, of such barbarity? It can, there is no shortage of creators and receivers. The matter of culture does not concern a select few, but entire peoples. Let them teach us to choose, for once. A culture of solidarity, uplifting, magnanimity, love, or inertia, stupefaction, dissolution, hatred?

Of course I support the diffusion of information via new technologies and the ability of anyone to publicly express themselves through them. However, there is an important “but”. The obviously, and rightly uncontrolled spread of every form of para- literature, music, visual art, causes intractable damage to people’s aesthetics.

When an outrageous bunch of words is promoted as poetry, an acoustic sacrilege as music, a miserable mess of colors as painting, is it not natural for the receivers (readers, spectators or listeners) of such monstrosities to think of them as poetry, music, painting, at the expense of aesthetics? And, is it not even more natural for them to eventually come to abhor the concepts of poetry, song, or painting? Exposure to every work of para-art leads to grave misconceptions, and it is not always easy to compare such things to genuine artworks, which would reinstate the true dimension of the arts. They cannot learn, for they never knew.

Even official entities with the power to cultivate the aesthetic sense of citizens (museums, art galleries, publishers, mass media), occasionally or constantly present artistic byproducts as true art, reinforcing the pre-existing cultural crisis.

There is no other way than art. I might sound romantic, but where does everyone turn after the daily routine, the pursuit of survival, the insecurity of life? To a song, to music, the theater, cinema, even the lowliest popular song. Art, and our attempts to approach it, are a great sanctuary.

Douatzis Paint 12


I think it is revolutionary for the human mind to be stimulated by high aesthetics. It suffices to encounter an artwork for you to feel all those things that underpin the citizen’s dignity. How many came and went without experiencing this essential encounter?

It is said that approaching art begins in the family, at school, the so-called wider Education. And yet, people who grew up in a barren family setting -without a single book or painting at home- came to create great things. Albert Camus is the brightest example.
There are works, and they are either criticized, approached, or not. I cannot see any obligations, limitations, definitions in approaching art. At least, most (?) people are free to choose.

The voices of poets come to us from far away, and their power has nothing to do with vulgar screams, but is about the deeper essence of human existence, which dwells only in freedom and dignity. The power of creators and intellectuals is far greater than what its opponents assume. Their work serves humanity, life values, and has always come to the rescue of human substance and dignity. Artistic creation cannot be defeated, the spirit cannot be imprisoned.

Models, painters, sculptors will cease to exist one day. Only their work will recall their passing from this planet. When they are gone for good, the only tracks left behind will be their works. The works of great visual artists invite millions to view them through the centuries, the works of Van Gogh, Rembrandt and so many others. I cannot deem them fortunate. Who, after all, did ever meet with immortality?

Van Gogh. A marginal madman in his lifetime. A superb creator post mortem. The… knowing ones, many decades later, still queue every day in front of his museum to pay homage to his work. Millions of visitors. If he was alive, they would condemn him to the fires of hell…

A safe method of contact with art is returning to the great works that withstood time and have lived for millenia. My friend, the painter Michalis Amarantos, would tell me: How can you convince someone that the tasteless mutated tomato he eats is not a tomato, when he has never tasted the flavorful – obviously organic- tomato we used to eat when we were children? When the element of comparison is missing, how and why should anyone understand what is genuine? In the works of great creators, one will find the wonderful tomato with its true flavor.

Aesthetics is a need, not a luxury. There is no home on the planet without some form of decoration on the wall, a hanging, a photograph, a page from a magazine. I refuse to believe that there are people without some sense of aesthetics, everyone has their own.

I listen to Beethoven’s Appassionata. I reflect on how I can hardly find in history an equivalent to this wonderful creator’s personality. Important figures only emerge from cracks in history, like beautiful weeds growing outside organized crops and greenhouses.

There are occasions when physical decline becomes truly unbearable, even more so, and time is unfortunately merciless. We should have special sympathy first and foremost for dancers, singers, rather than painters, sculptors, musicians and poets, for degeneration damages body parts absolutely essential to their art.

The virtually unknown Christofors Divaris, a great teacher of decorative design and jewelry designer, developed Parkinson’s disease in his late eighties, yet the trembling of his hand would cease whenever he got hold of the pencil. Salvador Dali and Norval Morrisseau both had an increase in the “fractal dimension” in their middle years, only for it to subside towards their sixties. Dali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 76, Morrisseau at 65. And yet, the thirst for creation resisted the symptoms.

Time causes a little sense of fear in me, lest I don’t manage to do everything I plan. Perhaps, after all, it is nothing more than a ridiculous excuse for extra time. A hard-to-interpret need pushes me to produce. Every day, a thriving imagination, new designs, new needs, new writings. Additional extra time? The self is a truly demanding employer, pointlessly insisting on ignoring all-defeating time.

I never knew a creator who died feeling that they had fulfilled their cause, their work, their vocation.

Douatzis Paint 8

passion, purpose, offering

“Art is passion for the whole. Its result: ataraxia and equilibrium of wholeness” says Rilke in his Testament. Apart from my great love for classical music, I adore visual arts. On every trip abroad, I spend every hour in contemporary art museums and galleries. I travel, lose myself inside the artworks, warmly sink in human fantasies, the creations of the intelligent, termed marginal by some of the ingenuous. And I stand very close to them, bathing in this passion for the whole that Rilke speaks of, a passion I have always given into without hesitation.

The more I fought stereotypes, the more deep breaths I took. Some might call me a heretic. Do you know many who were able to create and make our souls soar with their work, while confined by the stereotypes of their time in art and life?

I do not intend my art to serve some purpose. I serve it, and work is produced. If that is useful to humans, then I feel glad. I have not yet achieved such a level of humility as to be indifferent to the spread of my work among people.

I don’t know whether this is the case. But I would like it if the first music made by primitive instruments was an imitation of nature’s sounds. Like wind, rain, waves, birdsong, animal voices. Awakening of nature. Music of nature staying awake at night, every night.

Art will exist as long as the human race exists, and is inherently boundless, unlike man’s limited lifespan. The physical life of humans -as Plato says- is the specific, while the human race is the general. As Ioannis Theodorakopoulos states, “with death, the specific is defeated by the general, life returns to its abstract generality. Death limits everything, every expression of life”. In the field of art, the creator is the specific and art is the general, ever-existing in its specific generality.

With the start of the creative process, I note three rewards: 1.Discovery, which offers insight, youthfulness, an excuse for existence, and then the satisfaction of sharing the work. 2.The feeling that the way is open for the next steps in thought, where every step is ground gained in the struggle of life and death. 3.The illusion of non-futility, which death keeps reminding me of, almost malevolently. And just imagine: I’m not even afraid of it…

Offering to society through a work of art is much more essential than participating in any social group or collective, without one excluding the other.

selection of poems by giorgos douatzis

paper descendants – 2021

Six feet of earth

A lightning’s light
a lifetime’s time
eons go by
And you, eternally naïve
wonder what the puppets seek
threatening war
sowing the seeds of death, and pain, and plight
spreading across the sea and land
hatred and loss
stuffing with empty promises
fanatical, inane subjects
Mad petty rulers
slaves to absurdity
talking about dividing nothing
in the world of mortal men
Forgetting they will only get
-as every single one of us-
six feet of earth to be their grave

shadow of time – 2018

…He paused in his tracks, removed his age-old hat
with a polite nod, and whispered: Reconciliation
with humanism is the only way. Indifference kills
love, life, future. This is how I, too, was killed. And he
resumed his nonchalant walk, like a cloud with a thousand faces
But I caught him waiting at a bus stop
that hadn’t seen a bus stop by for years.
But how and when were you killed? I asked him.
Don’t you know how yearning for the passion of the absolute
can prove fatal, even lethal? Ask
those lonely people whose thirst was never sated. What on earth
do you seek to learn from a man killed ages ago? he told me in a tranquil voice
and disappeared inside the first bus to appear at the irrevocably abandoned stop
In wonder, I hurried back to my studio and,
eager to bring luck upon myself by bridging the gap
between spirit and senses, I -naïve old me- forgot
that the law of temporality is always omnipresent…

the red scarf – 2016


But, how is it possible
all those songs, gone with the wind?
Did none of them catch
on the tender twigs
that kept me company for decades?
They were unbreakable, yet tender
to bend at the first sign of turbulence
willingly bowing before beauty
and I rightly wondered
who can stand tall
when humble flowers bow that low?
But, defying the strong winds, they were people
so high, spiritual, that their transparent daggers
never left a trace. After years of exercise, I learned
to spot them even in the deepest darkness. And so
I managed to discover who kept cutting
the tender twigs at night, and tread with caution,
for blood is slippery on the dirty sidewalks
of our otherwise perfect poetic town. Even
transparent blood, it’s very slippery
And of course, I keep on forging dreams
with guiding strings around each finger
moving, in the most natural of ways,
the fairest puppets
entering, at night, the depths
of people’s sleep
to offer bliss
rejoice in their joy
stealing shreds of happiness
as a retired dreamwalker
who became a genuine
and, most importantly, guileless dream-forger
Such were my days, prolific
as human relationships
when naked bodies offer themselves unto each other
great truths, ever unspoken


Said the lover to the poet: “Life is like poems
that don’t exist unless you share them”
Said the painter to the poet: “I love the poetry of
empty pages and silence”
And said the poet: “Who would have thought that my entire
shared life would prove an imperfect, silence-riddled

rafts – 2012


The words were dripping something red
color of blood
something red dripped from the words
and the poem seemed bloodied
but even if it had been wine
red, blood-red
even thus inebriated, the poem
would still seem bloodied
like the first bicycle of childhood
rusting away in the basement
recalling decades of memories
and still reddening the knees
from old, bloody mischief
It is Poetry
-don’t worry-
with the silence of knowledge
it gives life to dreams
even bloodied or drunk
and only leaves
when cells are fully decomposed

mother of the times – 2010


Oh, motherland, how the demagogues have wronged you
a chosen people bereft of fortune
you were deceived with fake ornaments
locked inside their walls
threshed by protectors
once proud, you were
reduced to begging from barbarians
who took your light away
for us to know, if a bit late,
that there is no greater guilt
than tolerance
Ah, the demagogues
motherland, how…

don’t leave, mr euchetes – 2008


Every morning they would imprison him.
He would raise high ladders with his verses.
All the way to the sky.
And every dusk they would find him among them,
offering halos to the weak

the red shoes – 2004

The poet met her
making way
with her singular flame
in that Madrid basement
amid the smoke, red wine
sounds unheard of
haunting smells
No-one knows where she leads
eyes turned to the sky
feet steady on earth
and them
red, autonomous
feeding fantasies
unfolding in two heartbeats
like murders
when sweaty vengeance
shines under the moonlight

libations – 2004

The tracks

The tracks you left
are immaterial pictures
A few cells on the hands
The echo of a laugh
A tender touch
A nod of the head
with hair ruffled by the wind
A peculiar reflective walk
The darkness of concealed passion
The tracks you left
are the shared treasure
Cloaked in silence
It is secret
and, for that, precious
Made of words and images
Sleeplessly guarded at night
by thirst and anticipation
Expectant embraces are its home
The tracks you left
are exploitable
Food for the unexpected
Refreshment for the dreams
Material for the poets of the night
A song of guileless absence
For even the greatest of dreams
are like truths
Hiding in simple things
A warm caress is enough
to unveil them
offering sustenance
for an entire life

writings – 1976


Yesterday, I pressed into my hands
those forgotten sheets
of springtime rituals
beautiful and vivid company
in the winters of tomorrow.
You left me here, with a deep breath
and I say, no
those aren’t the blind passions of my youth
nor are the eyes
shaping things at will.
It is the mild sense of involvement
anticipated for years
it is the warrior’s rest
thoughtless of final destinations.
Thus flutes became nocturnal birds
on the crowded islands of the departed.
Years became fingers
raking the hair of seeking
-how much, just how much-
for a repeated sentence
“The songs had not been listened”

Πηγή: radiotechnis.gr



About the Author