Dean Kostos, Editor – Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry. Reviewed by Irene Koronas

(Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene, April 05, 2008, Irene Koronas is Poetry Editor for Wilderness House Literary Review, Ibbetson Street Press)

In his preface, New York poet and anthology editor Dean Kostos gives us reason to explore and investigate not just the history of Greek-American poetry, but, also, the contents of this anthology. The poets and poems are as diverse as America, and as steeped in pride as Greece. “We too are inspired not only by our ancient heritage, but also by its subsequent manifestations, when Greek culture commingled with others.” The connection among the poets is their heritage, and their voices are, at once, strong and humble. Thereafter, a brief biography of the forty-nine poets in the anthology sets up an understanding of each poet’s relationship between two cultures.

In all the writing, the poems seem inseparable from the poets and their influences. Pages flow into the next, similar to a mountain stream after the spring rain. The poems emerge, overflow, careen down, rich with life, feeding our commitment to each other as a whole. I present a small sampling of some of the accomplished poets’ poems from Pomegranate Seeds.

Eleni Fourtouni: “I performed the libation at sunset: milk and honey, wine and olive oil, enough for a hundred traitors. Once they played tag…”

John Bradley: “I tell you I didn’t die. I just never bothered to turn back.”

Ioanna Carlsen: “The bigness of the arc going each way, never deviating in its rhythm. The back, the forth the pen writing its line and then returning, starting over again…”

Constantine Contogenis: “Before his father told him the idea of windows, he loved both sides of walls, locusts leaving carapaces, ewes…”

Penelope Karageorge: “…the stones await me. I swallow them with salt and greens and weep.”