Mystic Passage, revieu by Bengt Holmqvist, in Stockholm
“You have to make life difficult”, Poems by Maria Lampadaridou Pothou
He writes among others: “There are many good poets in Greece today. One of them is Maria Lampadaridou Pothou, whose collection of poems The Mystic Passage was published in Sweden.
Lampadaridou is an exacting writer of high intellect, at least as seen from the secularized swedish perspective. Seen from a different angle, Lampadaridou is automatically registered in the Modern Greek tradition – the one that includes Kalvos and Sikelianos as main figures. Lampadaridou wanted to build a bridge to unite the great Greek past, which has been dominant for thousands of years and includes the Pre-socratic philosophers, and the byzantine visionaries.
The closest figures to whom the poet refers us is Odysseas Elytis. For himself, Rhedin (the translator) very aptly says that “Sappho and Heraklitus seem like good neighbors who a little while ago passed by to borrow some oil”. As far as passion and nostalgia are concerned, the poet has common elements with Gabriela Mistral, who wrote for a child that she never had, whereas the Greek poet writes for a child she lost. The poet has an unattainable dream to pass through into the other dimension.
No matter how vehemently the poet identifies herself with Sibyl “Chewing laurel and wild roots” as well as with Christ’s Mother, whose child is “Evangelizing the world”, here not only the Jew not only the Greek but everyone and everything give flesh and bone for a protest against the convention of existence. This protest is voiced through our history and pre-history. Certainly, also, in the future which opens before us.
For me, the poet is more fascinating when she vacillates between archangels and Pythia and with the crystalline waters of her paradises. But for her it is an obvious necessity to explore all perspectives. Only in that way and having those visions can she say: “Drops of blood my marks”.
Bengt Holmqvist, Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Stockholm, Sweden, 8 November 1996.