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The Perfect Order

Selected Poems 1974-2010

Nasos Vayenas

Edited by Richard Berengarten and Paschalis Nikolaou

Translated by Roderick Beaton, John Chioles and Robert Crist

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Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (160 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2010)
£12.95 £11.65
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    Where are you going in that cloud of hair?
    Your pure mind reached and held the perfect note
    to counterpoint your animal desire,
    leaving those terrified of dark in doubt.

    You saw as one, infinity and nought
    and chaos (‘shady garden of the void’)
    blossomed forth resplendent in your thought
    with wilderness and city unified.

    Beyond thisness and elseness, here and there,
    radiant and magnificent you rowed
    into the universe’s heart of dark

    where no rain ever falls, or sleet or snow,
    and time itself lies open everywhere,
    a wide and waveless ocean, dense and black.

    Translated by Richard Berengarten and Paschalis Nikolaou

    The Perfect Order is the first extensive selection of Nasos Vayenas's poems to appear in English. Spanning thirty-six years from 1974 to 2010, it covers every phase of his long and varied writing career – from the first registrations of his poetic voice, then as a leading member of the 'Generation of the Seventies', to his latest series of deeply felt, witty and urbane sonnets in honour of writers whom he loves, including Byron, Borges, Eliot, Cavafy and Seferis.

    Also included are samples of his theoretical and critical writings, which provide both a foil and a context to his poems.

    The book is introduced by the distinguished Hellenist David Ricks of King's College, London.

    Translations by: Roderick Beaton, Richard Berengarten, John Chioles, Robert Crist, Alan Crosier, John Davis, Kimon Friar, Margaret Kofod, Paschalis Nikolaou, David Ricks, John Stathatos and Chris Williams.

    Nasos Vayenas
    Nasos Vayenas was awarded the Greek National Poetry Prize in 2005. He was born in 1945 in the northern Greek town of Drama, and studied at the universities of Athens, Rome, Essex and Cambridge, where he wrote his acclaimed thesis on George Seferis, published in Greek in 1979. Since 1992 he ... read more
    Richard Berengarten
    Richard Berengarten (formerly Burns) was born in London in 1943, into a family of musicians. He has lived in Italy, Greece, the USA and former Yugoslavia. His books of poetry include: Avebury (1972), Black Light: Poems in memory of George Seferis (1983), The Manager (2001), Book With No Back Cover (2003), ... read more
    Paschalis Nikolaou
    Paschalis Nikolaou was born in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, in 1979. He completed his MA and PhD in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, and is a lecturer in Literary Translation at the Ionian University in Corfu, where he lives. He has published articles on aspects of translation studies as ... read more
    Roderick Beaton
    Roderick Beaton is Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature and Director of the Centre for Hellenic†Studies at King's College London. ... read more
    John Chioles
    John Chioles is Professor Emeritus at New York University. He was educated at The University of California, Berkeley and Hunter College. He spends half of the year at NYU, half in Greece. For the bulk of his education his native tongue was replaced by English, but in more recent years he ... read more
    Robert Crist
    ... read more
    Awards won by Nasos Vayenas Winner, 2005 Greek National Poetry Prize
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