About and Press

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION & PHOTOS

[SHORT BIO]

Dimitris Lyacos is the author of the Poena Damni trilogy (Z213: EXIT, With The People From The Bridge, The First Death). So far translated into ten languages, Poena Damni developed as a work in progress over the course of thirty years with subsequent editions and excerpts appearing in journals around the world, as well as in dialogue with a diverse range of sister projects it inspired. Renowned for combining, in a genre-defying form, themes from literary tradition with elements from ritual, religion, philosophy and anthropology, the trilogy reexamines grand narratives in the context of some of the enduring motifs of the Western Canon, while, at the same time, being one of the most widely acclaimed avant-garde works published in the new millennium.

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[LONG BIO]

Dimitris Lyacos (b. 1966) is the author of the Poena Damni trilogy. Renowned for its genre-defying form and the avant-garde combination of themes from literary tradition with elements from ritual, religion, philosophy and anthropology, Lyacos's work reexamines grand narratives in the context of some of the enduring motifs of the Western Canon. Poena Damni, is arranged around a cluster of concepts including the scapegoat, the quest, the return of the dead, redemption, physical suffering, and mental illness. Lyacos's characters are always at a distance from society as fugitives, like the narrator of Z213: EXIT, outcasts in a dystopian hinterland like the characters in With the People from the Bridge, or marooned, like the protagonist of The First Death whose struggle for survival unfolds on a desertlike island. Classified as postmodern and cross-genre, Poena Damni is referred to as one of the salient examples of the fragmentation technique - despite, however, its postmodern affinities, it is also construed in line with the High Modernist tradition setting aside the postmodern playfulness for a serious and earnest handling of the subject.


In 1984, Lyacos set about writing the first installment of what would later become the Poena Damni trilogy. The work, in its current form, developed as a work in progress over the course of thirty years with subsequent editions and excerpts appearing in journals around the world, as well as in dialogue with a diverse range of sister projects it inspired - drama, contemporary dance, video and sculpture installations, photography, opera and contemporary music. The trilogy has been translated into eight languages and has been extensively performed across Europe and the United States. In its unique style that conflates poetry with prose and resisting classification, Poena Damni is one of the leading examples of contemporary writing coming from Europe and the most recent Greek literary work that has achieved international recognition.
(BIO COURTESY OF THE BITTER OLEANDER JOURNAL)