Miltos Sachtouris

Miltos Sachtouris (1919–2005) lived almost all his life in Athens, in near-reclusive and ascetic conditions, never taking up paid employment but dedicating himself entirely to poetry.

Kimon Friar, in his translation of selected poems by Sachtouris, noted that Sachtouris ‘belongs to the postwar generation of poets who had seen the whitewashed walls of Greece suddenly splattered red’. The Nazi occupation of Greece (1941–44) and the subsequent civil war (1946–49) were to indelibly mark the poetry of an entire generation of brilliant young Greek poets, including Tasos Leivaditis, Manolis Anagnostakis and Sachtouris himself. Out of the horrors of these wartime experiences, but also deeply influenced by the surrealist tradition in Greek poetry, Sachtouris produced a slim but remarkable body of work that has been described by Friar as ‘existentially absurd, strange, obsessed, neurotic, nightmarish, yet nostalgic and incantatory’.

– NN Trakakis