Towards a series of creative responses to the work of Stephanos Stephanides




“How to Chant for a Thin Place”:

Borders and Bridges in World Literature and Art

November 30th - December 1st, 2018

Faculty of Humanities, University of Cyprus, with the support of the Visual Artists Association,

at Phytorio, Nicosia Municipal Gardens


The symposium is organised by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Cyprus, in honour of Professor Stephanos Stephanides on the occasion of his retirement from the University of Cyprus. The symposium is free and open to the public.

the old sea

between two islands

was once

my dwelling

till the horizon lifted

to let us through

so I still wonder

how to write thick poetry?

how to chant for a thin place?

(excerpt from the poem “Karpassia” by Stephanos Stephanides, 2007)


This symposium aspires to a gathering of ideas that thematically relate, stem from, or respond to the multi-layered and interdisciplinary scholarly and literary work of Stephanos Stephanides. Few Cypriot writers have succeeded in producing work that functions as a bridge between the literatures of post-colonial transnational communities. The multiple dimensions of Stephanides’ contribution to literature, critical theory, and translation studies place Cyprus at the epicenter of conversations on Indian, Caribbean, American as well as Mediterranean communities. The goal of the symposium is to take Stephanides’ poetry, prose, critical work, and films as a springboard for a productive exchange amongst scholars and creative practitioners around the ideas of transitional literatures and translatability, as well as performative, creative, and ritual practices, and post-colonial critique. New perspectives that introduce radical reconfigurations of identities, aesthetics, and language are particularly welcome.


Symposium Programme


Friday, November 30, 2018


16:00-17:00: Registration


17:00-17:30: Welcome Greetings

Professor Constantinos Christofides, Rector, UCY

Associate Professor Anastasia Nikolopoulou, Dean of Humanities, UCY

Professor Phoevos Panagiotidis, Chair, Department of English Studies, UCY

Symposium Organising Committee: Stavros Stavrou Karayanni, Ellada Evangelou, Chrystalleni Loizidou, Alev Adil


17:30-19:00: Keynote Speech

Christopher Merrill: "Invisible Bridge: A Chant for Stephanos Stephanides"

Chair: Stavros Karayiannis


"Invisible Bridge: A Chant for Stephanos Stephanides" is a poem in the form of versets (the long line used in the Psalms and the Book of Proverbs), which explores the achievement of a poet, prose writer, scholar, ethnographer, traveler, translator, and documentary filmmaker, who has made it his mission to understand not only what is essential in the human condition but what binds us together despite our differences. Images and ideas drawn from my reading of his work and travels with him in the Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking communities of Cyprus provide the scaffolding of this meditation on a singular presence in the world of letters.


Christopher Merrill (born February 24, 1957) is an American poet, essayist, journalist and translator. Currently, he serves as director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He led the initiative that resulted in the selection of Iowa City as a UNESCO City of Literature, a part of the Creative Cities Network. In 2011, he was appointed to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.


19:00-21:00: Reception with Performances, Poetry, Dance, Visual Art  

Introduction by Ellada Evangelou  

Alev Adil  

Oya Akin

Haris Pellapaisiotis

Anandana Kapur

ΦΧΨ Heritage Design

Stavros Karayianni



Saturday, December 1, 2018


9:15-10:30: Panel 1

Marie Pouillès Garonzi. “The materialization of conflictual history in Cypriot public space”  

Petra Tournay. “Writing the City: Notes from Nicosia, the Last Divided Capital of the World”

Irini Savvides. “The Paramithou, the Poet, and Pherepapha”

Chair: Angelos Evangelou


10:30-11:00: Coffee Break


11.00-11.50: Panel 2   

Keki Daruwalla. “Two Island Poets: Nissim Ezekiel and Stephanos Stephanides”

Susan Visvanathan. “Diaspora and Time: Octavio  Paz, Stephanos Stephanides and Ari Sitas”

Chair: Alev Adil


11.50-12:40: Panel 3

Julia Tsiakiri ‘Odyssey as a State of Mind’,  

Angelos Evangelou. “‘Fluid Atmospheres’  Stephanides’ Romantic Post/Modernism’”

Chair: Chrystalleni Loizidou


12:45-14:15: Lunch at Phytorio


14:15-16:00: Panel 4

Jaqueline Jondot. “I am a dragoman / courtesan of the wor(l)d”

Despina Pirketti. “Manifestations of Greek in the English original of The Wind

under my Lips: translating back into the mother tongue”

Christine Pagnoulle. “Karpassia: the Hues of Memory and the Shifts of Translation”

Marine Meunier. “‘How to write thick poetry? How to chant for a thin place?’  Translation as a Mapping - Tool in Stephanos Stephanides’ Memory Fiction”

Chair: Stavros Karayiannis


16:00-16:30: Coffee Break


16.30-17:45: Readings

Susan Visvanathan, “Adi Sankara and Other Stories”

Dalia Staponkutė, “Circular motion: Lithuanian summers and everyday life in Cyprus”

Erato Ioannou, “Something Tiny”

Christos Tsiaillis, “Three Poems”

Chair:  Ellada Evangelou


17.45-18:00:  Stephanos Stephanides - Response


19:30: Symposium Dinner at Zaatar

Readings by Keki Daruwalla, Gürgenç Korkmazel and Open Mic



*For updated information please go to SomeoneHasToDoThis/HowToChant

+Symposium abstracts and bios here

-Image from Walking Narratives and the Archival Body, a still from narrativised-video-artwork by Haris Pellapaisiotis and Stephanos Stephanides (2016-18).

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