The Poetry of Phoebe Giannisi


Readings, Performance, Conversation

Date: Tuesday, October 31
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. EDT

Please join us for a selection of poetry readings and performance by Greek poet Phoebe Giannisi and Giannisi’s poet-translator Brian Sneeden, in conversation with Laura Jansen.

Award-winner Phoebe Giannisi (Athens, 1964) is among Greece’s foremost contemporary poets. She is the author of eight books of poetry, three of which, Homerica (2017), Chimera (2019), and Cicada (2022), have now been translated into English by poet-translator Brian Sneeden. Her award-winning work focuses on field of ecopoetics, on the polyphony of voices attached to place, and the ethnography of the animated subjects that inhabit it. Bodies, weather, earth, seeds, orality, writing, love, female condition, mythic personas, sound, multiplicity, language, and animal beings constitute the primary subjects for Giannisi’s poetic activity. This hybrid event offers a unique opportunity to experience Giannisi’s performative poetry both in modern Greek and English, followed by an in-conversation about her multimediatic poetic practice and thought.

This event will be held virtually on Zoom, as well as in person. Please register for the Zoom below.

The Center for Hellenic Studies is proud to sponsor and host this event, in collaboration with the APGRD (University of Oxford), the Bristol Poetry Institute (University of Bristol), the Michael Marks Trust, and New Directions Publishing.

About the poet

Phoebe Giannisi (Athens, 1964) is amongst Greece’s foremost contemporary poets. She is the author of eight books of poetry, three of which, Homerica (2017), Chimera (2019), and Cicada (2022), have now been translated into English by poet-translator Brian Sneeden. Her award-winning work focuses on the field of ecopoetics, on the polyphony of voices attached to place, and the ethnography of the animated subjects that inhabit it. Bodies, weather, earth, seeds, orality, writing, love, female condition, mythic personas, sound, multiplicity, language, and animal beings constitute the primary subjects for Giannisi’s poetic activity. Her selected solo exhibitions include: TETTIX, EMST (Athens, 2012) and AIGAI_O, Angeliki Chatzimichali Museum (with Iris Lycourioti, 2015). In 2016, she gave the performance lecture “Nomos, The Land Song” at the Onassis Cultural Center, New York. Phoebe Giannisi also collaborates with Zissis Kotionis on projects in the field of ecopoetics, including: “The Ark. Old Seeds for New Cultures” (12th Venice Architecture Biennale, 2010); “Nothing to Do with Dionysos – Dionysus Tub” (Akademia Platonos, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, 2011), “Kernos. A Plate for All” (“Householding,” Bauhaus, Dessau, 2015), and “Nature / Culture Calling” (Nordbanhof, Museum of Architecture, Vienna Biennale, 2017). She was a Humanities Fellow at Columbia University (2016), and Mazza Writer in Residence for Spring 2023 at San Francisco State University. Giannisi is also an architect and Professor of Architecture and Cultural Studies at the University of Thessaly.

About the speakers

Brian Sneeden is a poet, literary translator, and editor. His collection of poems, Last City, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2018. His poetry has received the Iowa Review Award in Poetry, the Indiana Review 1/2K Prize, and has appeared in Harvard Review OnlinePoetry DailyVirginia Quarterly Review, and other publications. His translations have received an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship, the World Literature Today Translation Award for Poetry, the Constantinides Memorial Translation Prize, a PEN/Heim Translation Grant, and other recognitions. His translation of Phoebe Giannisi’s Homerica (2017) was selected by Anne Carson as a favorite book of 2017, and his translation of Giannisi’s collection Cicada was published by New Directions in 2022. He is a co-founding editor of World Poetry Books, where he served as team lead on books which received the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and the Academy of American Poets’ Raiziss/de Palchi Book Award. 

Laura Jansen is Associate Professor (Reader) of Classics & Comparative Literature at the University of Bristol. She is the author of Borges’ Classics: Global Encounters with the Graeco-Roman World (2018 CUP), editor of The Roman Paratext (2014 CUP), Anne Carson/ Antiquity (Bloomsbury 2022), Anne Carson’s Euripides (Classical Antiquity 2023: 42.2), and Susan Sontag’s Tangential Classics (OUP 2024), and general editor of the seriesClassical Receptions in Twentieth-Century Writing (Bloomsbury). Her research explores the interplay of classical memory and modern identity in 20th and 21st century experimental artists and their dialogue with archaic and classical Greek literature and thought. Laura regularly runs international events and collaborates with emerging voices in the fields of poetry and the visual arts. Her research has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. She was Fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies (CHS), Harvard, in 2022-23, and currently represents the CHS as Judge for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets 2023. She is originally from Buenos Aires.