Ritsos Giannis


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Born: 01-05-1909
Died: 11-11-1990
From: Greece, Monemvasia


Yiannis Ritsos (Greek: Γιάννης Ρίτσος) was a Greek poet and left-wing activist and an active member of the Greek resistance during World War II.
Early life
Born to a well-to-do landowning family in the Monemvasia, Ritsos suffered great losses as a child. The early deaths of his mother and his eldest brother from tuberculosis, the commitment of his father who suffered with mental disease and the economic ruin of losing his family marked Ritsos and affected his poetry. Ritsos, himself, was confined in a sanitarium for tuberculosis from 1927 - 1931.
Literary start
In 1931, Ritsos joined the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). He maintained a working-class circle of friends and published Tractor in 1934, inspired of the futurism of Vladimir Mayakovsky. In 1935, he published Pyramids; these two works sought to achieve a fragile balance between faith in the future, founded on the Communist ideal, and personal despair.
The landmark poem Epitaphios, published in 1936, broke with the shape of Greek traditional popular poetry and expressed in clear and simple language a message of the unity of all people.


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