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Responses to American Poetry

The aim of this online space is to host the research work of university students or young scholars as this emerges from larger projects focusing on the American poetry scene. The objective of this initiative is to bring this kind of research activity to the attention of the general public in an attempt to further promote the exchange of ideas with regard to the process of reading, understanding and appreciating poetry writing.


Tatiani Rapatzikou 
(Associate Professor, School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; Advisor and initiative co-ordinator


Maria Galanopoulou


Five Women Conversing

The process of composition was heavily influenced not only by Sappho’s and H.D.’s poetry, but also by the literary, scholarly, and historical background to which we were introduced during the initial workshops. More specifically, I was intrigued by Anne Carson’s approach to Sappho, as revealed through her translation of the latter’s work. However, Carson also functioned as a mediator that helped me gain access to and an insight into Sappho’s poetry. Thus emerges a paradox: despite Greek being my native language, I had to rely on an English translation in order to better grasp the hidden nuances and elusive meaning of the source text. Apart from Carson’s work on Sappho, translation was a useful tool that I used in order to better understand and connect with H.D., since I translated her poems “Sea Rose,” “Sheltered Garden,” “Wash of Cold River,” and “The Mysteries Remain” from English to Greek. Even though I did not use the products of this translation process in my final project, they facilitated my understanding of H.D. and her poetry.

Another personality that influenced my perception of Sappho was Eva Palmer. In particular, our discussion of Palmer’s fascination with Sappho made me realize that the Greek poet has managed to connect three radically different women: Eva Palmer, Anne Carson, and H.D. I felt that this connection was important enough to be represented through my artistic piece and this is why I have chosen to use a collage of photographs of these three women. Sappho’s absence from the collage connotes the invisible, and yet present, thread that links them together. I have found another source of inspiration, but also confusion, within Sappho’s fragmented poetry. In particular, I have decided to visually represent the frustration that I myself experienced by creating an obscure piece, with dark edges, and overlapping images and text. Such considerations have influenced the form of my piece. When it comes to content, I was inspired by a pattern common in both Sappho’s and H.D.’s work, namely the focus on Nature and its power. This point of view is usually overshadowed by the work’s homoerotic overtones, but it is, nonetheless, of equal significance. Consequently, I have decided to bring it to the foreground by suggesting that the meaning of Sappho’s poetry lies with a rediscovery and re­connection to the natural environment, both of which can only be beneficial for the modern industrialized and urbanized human.

Unsurprisingly, in the course of the current project there have also been considerable challenges that I had to overcome. The major one has been the second wave of COVID­19 that afflicted Thessaloniki and, consequently, rendered outings and excursions a danger to public health. This turn of events has forced me to take my project to a completely different direction than the one I had originally in mind. To be more exact, at first I had envisioned directing and acting a visual dramatization of my poem. Despite the change of plans, I was determined to retain and heavily rely on the visual element in order to complement my work. As a result, I opted for a collage. Another challenge, but, this time, a most welcome one, has been the sheer volume of material that we were invited to study, examine, and discuss, as possible sources of inspiration. In all honesty, I have greatly enjoyed learning more not only about Sappho and H.D., but also about all the personalities related to them and their work, ranging from literary critics, to fellow poets and translators. The more I studied, the more I learned, and the less confident I felt in my ability to convey such intriguing and thought-provoking information and ideas through my own work. However, for the purposes of our workshop, I have decided to focus on those that best suited my own interests and sensibilities.

My artistic piece includes a poem and a collage of photographs. The poem is my original creation, while the photographs have been obtained by the sources cited.1



Brown, Jeff. Portrait of Anne Carson. The New York Times Magazine, 14 March 2013, Accessed 16 October 2020.
Doolittle, Hilda. “Sea Rose.” 1916. Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.or
g/poems/48188/sea-rose. Accessed 16 October 2020.
Doolittle, Hilda. “Sheltered Garden.” 1916. Poetry Foundationwww.poetryfou
g/poems/48189/sheltered-garden. Accessed 16 October 2020.
Doolittle, Hilda.“The Mysteries Remain.” 1916. Poem Hunter, www.poemhunter.
com/poem/the-mysteries-remain/. Accessed 16 October 2020.
Doolittle, Hilda. “Wash of Cold River.” Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation
.org/poems/48190/wash-of-cold-river. Accessed 16 October 2020.
Mitrakos, Anthe. “Of Secret Love Letters, Queerness &Reimagining Life as a Greek: The Biography of Eva Palmer Sikelianos.” Portes Magazine, www.portes Accessed 16 October 2020.
Thacker, Lauren R. “Poetry at Penn.” Omnia: All Things Penn Arts & Sciences, 27 Apr. 2017, Accessed 30 Dec. 2020.

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1For information about the project, certain databases have been consulted as is the case of the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive ( and the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation (