Nikos Engonopoulos (1907–1985) was one of the most prominent representatives of Greek Surrealist poetry and painting. Closely associated with Andreas Embeirikos, the “patriarch” of Surrealism in Greece, and with Nicolas Calas, an influential figure of the European and American avant-garde, Engonopoulos developed highly experimental pictorial and poetic aesthetics. In both his paintings and poems, he engaged in a critical, often ironic dialogue with Greek history and cultural traditions and their ideological appropriations in established cultural and political discourses. Engonopoulos was arguably the keenest advocate of Surrealist black humor and irony in Greece. His overall approach to the Greek past, informed as it was by the socio-aesthetic principles of French Surrealism, constitutes one of the most ingenious and provocative cases of artistic mythogenesis in the European avant-garde.
This volume offers a collection of his most representative poems, including his long poem Bolivár, which was written in the winter of 1942–1943 and soon acquired the status of an emblematic act of resistance against the Nazis and their allies (Italians and Bulgarians), who had occupied Greece in 1941.