D. Zervanou, poet, playwright, editor, publisher. She  has studied philosophy, Literature and Psychology.  She has published in many literary magazines, as well as being featured in a number of poetry anthologies. Aside from her poetry she has also written a number of plays which have been performed in Edinburgh festival. She has published two collections of poetry STONE MOON , SKIES OF SAND and a collection of plays THE MIRRORS. The STONE MOON has received considerable  critical acclaim. She has also published many volumes of translation in collaboration with the Scottish poet Thom Nairn. Notably THE COMPLETE POEMS OF GEORGE VAFOPOULOS which received the award for the best translation of contemporary Greek literature. She has been editor of the literary magazine UNDERSTANDING.

Richard Ball wrote about D. Zervanou in Pembroke magazine (published by the University of North Karolina in USA): “poetry such as this is like mist, which gradually dissolving, shows landscapes of thought… it is possible that this style of writing of compressed phraseology will be the mainstream practice of the next century”

Katerina Nicolopoulou writes in Greece in Print”a magazine of Greek Literature and Culture (No143): “D. Zervanou in this collection “Stone Moon” paints beautiful and dangerous pictures in haiku style.

At times poetry becomes for her an act of transformation of the horror of existence witnessed during the fluctuation between the two dream states of sleeping and being awake:

“The dream hot from illusion

steaming with emptiness

slimy, a medusa

eating me like death…(“p.31)

Nature in D. Zervanou is conflated into human existence; the two meet and intertwine. In a Dali-like dream landscape an optical and perceptual illusion is experienced:

“I hung smiles

in the sky

collected roses

but the mountains carried swords

the green leaves

died in tight tears” (p.34)

The repetition of words is playing out the haunting feeling experienced by the reader in “HIS THOUGHT”.  Zervanou’s images are drawn from within dark colours and sounds of repetition that echo like a threat to the reader’s senses:

“His thought:

A book without letters

A cat scratching

A cat scratching

The same ideas

The same ideas

Again and again

And again” (p.33)

   At some other times the repetition of words and images serves as a vehicle to express the inevitability of  existence. The effect is chilling and alienating:

“Taking your hands

in my hands,

the same colour,

the same lines,

erased passive.

People have stepped

on us.

and we watch, watch,

the blood…” (p. 42)

There is a sense of wholeness in Zervanou’s poetry. The sense is of a transcendentally universal harmonious movement, without being in the least facile. This cyclical notion, often effected by repetition and some other times by the reconciliation of opposites brings out a harmonious effect:

“… The sea does not spill

it remains standing… (p. 9)

According to Heraclitus (as found in Gurriere, Physis, Sophia, Psyche, in Sallis et Mal eds. Herclitean fragments: A companion’s volume to the Heidegger/Fink seminar on Heraclitus, Alabama Press, 1980), “the cycle is the experiential reconciliation of permanence and degeneration”. This is the essence of life as experienced in the poetry of  Zervanou. The resolution is realised through antithetical images.

“A smile arrested

in mid-air

trapped in stone trance” (p.10)

 And finally, another way in which this is realised is through a fractal imagery, which in chaos theory gives the notion of perpetuation through replicability of similarity across scale:

“In the shops of the seashore

I see millions of stones

Your face is in them

Your face and millions

Of flowers…” (p.14).

Zervanou has been helped by her travelling around the world (some 15 or so countries) to see and reflect on the human condition, the inevitability of existence and finally all those common elements that people share underneath their “national identities”. In an interview she gave me Zervanou said that her experience helped her shape fundamentally her way of thinking, her perspective on people and gave her confidence in believing that no matter what different cultures of religions choose to place a stress on, human existence is universal. This realisation has obviously helped her shape her poetry in a philosophical, human-centred way, and has on a personal level helped her communicate better with people of all nationalities and ethnicities.

THE DAYS ARE LOCKED

(For my father’s death)

The days are locked

It’s not Monday today

nor is it Tuesday

We found him

in his living- room

shining his shoes

looking at his papers

Today is not Wednesday

nor Friday

The days are locked.

He has pains

He thinks about

changes in his life

He takes us around a new house

and shows us the road to Greece

Today is not Saturday

nor Sunday

The days are locked.

How can we embrace the sun

touch these precious stones

the broken marble?

Memories dry on the cement of the sun

Today is not a day at all

The days are locked…

MY MOTHER’S BLAME

I threw the cards down

“It was enough I had to go”

My mother came, picked them up

Off the floor and looked at me

With blame in her look

Like someone returning after years

With the same expression.

I WAS YOUR DARLING

For you, I was your darling

Your little girl

Then you started misreading me

You placed me

On this uncomfordable seat

And I am still there…

INDECISIVE

Sitting on a hard sofa,

knowing

that there are springs

underneath,

filthiness

but still sitting

avoiding thinking

indecisive.

FAILURE

It was this failure,

this nothingness,

coming from the future,

going back into the past,

covering all

my being,

like mud!

ILLUSION

The dream hot from illusion,

steaming with emptiness

slimy, a medusa

eating me like death…

KISSES

My dreams

my kisses

invaded by souls

Night hopes,

invade my absence

quietly

and dress my soul

Wearing kisses

like knotted pines

Carrying our flesh

heavy as water

full of lilies.

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