Greekling, the much-anticipated debut poetry collection by Kostya Tsolakis, celebrates and commemorates damaged and rejected Greek bodies, be they of flesh and blood, made of marble, or natural bodies. In intertwining Greek culture, history and poetic influences with the contemporary queer experience, this collection is perceptive, lyrical, and deeply evocative of time and place. From an Athenian childhood to a closeted adolescence in the shadow of the AIDS epidemic, towards sexual self-discovery, maturity and freedom – Tsolakis charts the pursuit of unconditional happiness.
These poems explore queer joy on dance floors, darkrooms and bedsits, but also the risks of crossing strangers’ thresholds or in encountering the violent machismo and hypermasculine expectations of the society you grow up in. And ever-present through the collection is Athens – the city the poet once turned his back on at eighteen but has come to love again. Moving between lament and celebration, Greekling reflects on a changing and often misrepresented country, the nature of motherlands and mother tongues; it is a voyage out – and a return.
Nine Arches Press