September Q&A – the poet
As you will see below, Sofia Kioroglou is not just a (twice award-winning) poet. However, since I love her poetry, I thought I would focus upon that facet of her multi-talented personality. She writes in several languages and, of all my subjects, she was the only one to submit her answers, perfectly written, within hours of receiving the questions. That is why, for the first time, the monthly interview is posted on the first day of the month!
Sofia is also a prolific blogger. You can visit her site here.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a writer, translator, lexicographer and painter born and bred in Athens, Greece. I am an avid reader and iconographer of saints and believe in human kindness and sacrifice. I would be a cave recluse in Raitho or Sinai had I not met my husband Peter in Jerusalem at the Holy Light Ceremony in 2012. I love the Holy Land and wish I had the chance to publish work revolving around the difficulties encountered by the Greek Orthodox monks and fathers guarding the Holy Monasteries in and beyond Jerusalem whom I respect and admire. My literary work has been included in many international literary journals such as Silverbirchpress, Lunaris Review, Verse-Virtual, Winamop, Halkyon Days, Ashvamegh, Poet’s Corner, The Galway Review as well as in many anthologies like the Poetry against Terror Anthology, the Spiritual Horizons Anthology, the Poetry Against Inequality Anthology , By Land and By Seas and the Universal Values Anthology, with my flash fiction “Cubicle Coma” forthcoming for publication in Books’ Journal and Planodion.
What were the major difficulties you’ve faced in the last five years?
The loss of my father was the hardest. It just came out of left field! Paradoxically, his passing has been something of a blessing so to speak as I went into overdrive and started to pursue my passion for writing, undaunted by the grim prospects surrounding publishing.
Did anyone in particular inspire you or help you?
My dad and my supporting hubby! I owe a lot to them.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
I have no long-term plans. I have learnt to anticipate nothing as life is so unpredictable. The only thing that bothers me is that there are people out there who can’t make ends meet, mothers who abandon their newborns in maternity clinics due to povert and people dying on the streets.
What are your hopes for Greece? What changes do you hope to see happen?
Despite the negative vibe sloshing around right now, I feel confident that we will ride out the storm. It is not wishful thinking! Greece has always survived worse rollercoasters than this current crisis.
Have you considered leaving? If so, where would you like to go, and why?
Never has the idea of leaving my country crossed my mind. I love Greece, its history and the grit that typifies our nation. I reckon Greece will rise again out of its ashes like a phoenix!
If you have already decided to leave what would make you stay?
I have not decided to leave but if I ever had to my mother’s pleas would be enough to make me stay.
Are you actively doing anything to help with the situation? Is there something you would like to do?
Having a positive vibe and hoping for the best is the most efficient weapon to neutralize the prevailing negativity and defeatism.
How do you see Greece in 5, 10 years?
I see it totally disentangled from the mess its political leaders have thrown it into. A new era for Greece will emerge with more ethos and dignity, two qualities inextricably linked with the history of our nation.
How do you cope with obstacles and frustrations in your everyday life ?
When I have a problem or have to deal with an avalanche of frustrations, I share my distress with my husband. He is always the one who takes a dispassionate view of things and puts them in perspective.
What are the positive sides of living in Greece? Have you had any good experiences lately?
The weather and the camaraderie of the people which gives this country and its people the chance to hope and dream for future generations. My recent trip to Methana was a real boon which lifted my spirits and made me forget all about the daily grind gnawing away at my innards.
As well as reading about Sofia’s positive attitude, sense of humor and amazing husband, I thought you might like to experience a sample of her work. Here is one of her favorite poems:
“Hypochondria winking at grime”
As time goes by
the twain shall eventually meet
with scraps of kneejerk iconoclasm
starting to meekly recede
Years of being together
have mellowed my tetchiness
brimful ashtrays no longer call for
scathing versified onslaught
The caterwauling about dripping faucets
not affecting him too much
my hypochondria now winking at grime
in love’s dazzling and menacing world
our hearts melting in its immensity.