Melbourne lecture to look at poetry and how it records Cypriot Greek heritage

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Poet and writer Angela Costi will be giving a lecture titled ‘Salvaging Cypriot Greek Migrant Heritage and Memories Through the Poetry of Zeny Giles and Peter Lyssiotis’ on Thursday, September 14 as part of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Greek History and Cultural Seminars. This is an in-person event.

Poetry is one way of documenting what is missed, excluded, and neglected by institutionalised archives. Migrants and refugees who have a reliance on oral stories to record their existence, risk minimisation of their impact and contribution to the collective memory of Australia. In particular, the memories and heritage of Cypriot Greeks are historically recorded through the prism and value-system of two dominating cultures: a British-centric culture and a Hellenic culture. An alternative documentation of the Cypriot Greek, Australian-based diaspora, is through interviewing and studying the poetic output of Cypriot Greek poets.

Two Cypriot Greek poets and authors who have filled the archival gaps with their poetry are Zeny Giles and Peter Lyssiotis. Since the 1980s, both have amassed well-deserved awards and literary recognition for their creative output. Their poetry and the philosophy underpinning their writing, reveals a poetic biography of Cypriot Greek diaspora identity, one that is nuanced and significant. 

Angela Costi is a poet and writer with a background in social justice and community arts. She is the author of five poetry collections including Honey & Salt (shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Poetry Prize 2008) and An Embroidery of Old Maps and New (winner of the Book Prize for Poetry in English, GACL 2022). She has nine produced and commissioned plays/performance text, including A Nest of Cinnamon which was part of an international collaboration, funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Poet and writer Angela Costi.

In 1995, she received a travel award from the National Languages and Literacy Board to study Ancient Greek Drama in Greece. She is a graduate of Melbourne University and RMIT. She received the High Commendation for contribution to Arts and Culture, Merri-bek Award 2021.

This is a joint presentation with the Greek Australian Cultural League, and it will take place at the Mezzanine Level of The Greek Centre, located at 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne at 7pm.

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