Poetry: “Balackla” by Liana Sakelliou, trans. Don Schofield


The emperors vacationed at Balackla,
its palaces with springs
known for their fish
swimming in holy water.

Fish still fall there,
it’s believed, jumping

from a monk’s
frying pan—

such an untamed miracle.


στὰ παλάτια τῶν πηγῶν
οἱ αὐτοκράτορες

καὶ οἱ ἰχθύες
μέσα στὸ ἁγίασμα

ἀπ’ τὴ φωτιά—
τὸ ἄγριο θαῦμα.

Liana Sakelliou has published eighteen books of poetry and criticism, as well as translations of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, H. D., Denise Levertov and Gary Snyder. Her own poems have been translated from Greek into several languages and have been published in a number of anthologies and international journals.  She teaches American literature, specializing in contemporary poetry and creative writing, in the Department of English Language and Literature of the University of Athens.  The recipient ofgrants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Department of Hellenic Studies of Princeton University, the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and the British Council, Ms. Sakelliou is a member of the Greek Writers’
Association and a short story judge in the European Union Prize for Literature.  Her latest book, Όπου φυσάγλυκά η αύρα (Wherever the Sweet Breeze Blows)was a finalist for this year’s Greek National Poetry Award.



Born in Nevada and raised in California, Don Schofield has been living in Greece since 1980.  Fluent in Greek, a citizen of both his homeland and his adopted countryhe has published several poetry collections, the most recent of which are The Flow of Wonder (Kelsay Books, 2018) and In Lands Imagination Favors (Dos Madres Press, 2014), as well as an anthology of American poets in Greece (Kindled Terraces, Truman State University Press, 2004), and translations of several contemporary Greek poets.  He is a recipient of the 2005 Allen Ginsberg Award (US), the 2010 John D. Criticos Prize (UK) and a Stanley J. Seeger Writer-in-Residence fellowship at Princeton University.  His first book, Approximately Paradise (University Press of Florida, 2002) was a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award, and his translations have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Greek National Translation Award.  Currently he lives in both Thessaloniki and Athens.