Kostas Karyotakis



Century of Birth


City of Birth



Kostas Karyotakis, a sensitive and melancholic man, whose works, though badly received in his time, would greatly influence Greek literature later.

Kostas Karyotakis was born on October 30, 1896 in the capital of Arcadia and he was one of the most important Greek poets and novelists. Due to his father’s profession as a county engineer he travelled to many Greek and European cities. He graduated from Athens Law School, but instead of pursuing a career as a lawyer, he became a clerk in Thessaloniki Prefecture. After his discharge from the army due to health reasons he served as a public servant for the prefectures of Syros, Arta, Athens and Preveza.

His first collection of poems was published in February 1919 under the title “The Pain of Men and Things” receiving negative criticism. He continued with the publication of a satirical magazine “The Leg”, which was banned a month later, a second collection of poems and some other works. His melancholic and sensitive soul slowly drove him away from people. He never got married since he suffered from syphilis, even though he had an affair with the poet Maria Polydouri. On July 20, 1928, in Preveza he tried to commit suicide by trying to drown himself for 10 hours. The next day, on July 21, he bought a gun and ended his life.

His work is characterized by a nihilist point of view and during its time rumors had it that he wrote his poems with his own blood. He was a great influence to his contemporary poets as well as to many who came after him. A large number of his poems were set to music by famous Greek composers such as M. Theodorakis, G. Spanos, M. Plessas, N. Xydakis.