Gail Holst-Warhaft


Holst-Warhaft began translating modern Greek poetry in the 1980’s, beginning with poems of Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, which she published in Modern Poetry in Translation, and Translation Magazine. She published her translations of the complete poems of the popular Greek poet Nikos Kavadias and selected poems of Mikis Theodorakis. In the 1990’s she translated two novels for the Greek publisher Kedros and she has continued to translate Greek poetry and prose. Her most recent translation is The House by the River. She has also translated The Suppliants by Aeschylus, French poetry from North Africa and Anglo-Saxon poems.


The Collected Poems of Nikos Kavadias

bi-lingual edition. Amsterdam: Adolf Hakkert, 1987. US Edition, 2006, Cosmos, N.J.

The Suppliants

In Aeschylus, 2, (eds. D Slavitt and P. Bovie). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.


I Had Three Lives: Selected Poems of Mikis Theodorakis

Athens: Livanis, 2004.


The House with the Scorpions:
Selected Poems and Song-Lyrics of Mikis Theodorakis

Fomite, 2020.


In Greece Mikis Theodorakis is a national icon. He is the country’s most famous composer, and a figure who has spent his life struggling against injustice and oppression in his own country and elsewhere. He has been jailed and tortured for his beliefs, continuing to produce a stream of music and poetry despite his suffering. It is time that his own poetry was recognized as an important element in his creative life. In an age where Bob Dylan can win a Nobel Prize, and Leonard Cohen’s lyrics are treasured as poems, it is also time to recognize the importance of the song-lyric as a literary form. Gail Holst-Warhaft, who has spent many years working with the composer as a musician, biographer and translator, has translated all of the composer’s lyrics and combined them with Theodorakis’s virtually unknown poems. Together, they reveal a man whose passion for poetry was the wellspring of his creativity. The book presents Theodorakis’s poems and lyrics in Greek and English. This makes it clear that the translations do not obey the rhyme-scheme of the originals but try to maintain rhythmic patterns that are satisfying to the English ear. This book is not only a collection of Theodorakis’s poetry, but the record of an extraordinary life.

Now available from Amazon

About the Author

When someone asked Mikis Theodorakis where he got his inspiration for his music, he answered: “It’s very simple. I never thought of my music as anything but a way to clothe Greek poetry.” Theodorakis is known to the world as a composer. To the English-speaking world, unfortunately, he is known principally for his film scores, particularly the score of Zorba the Greek, and a few of his popular songs. To the Greeks, Theodorakis is the man who combined the greatest poetry of their country with his own prodigious melodic gifts to create a river of unforgettable songs. Few think of him as a poet, and yet he wrote fine poems, some of which became the lyrics of his songs.

Mikis Theodorakis Obituary

Composer Mikis Theodorakis dies, September 2, 2021, aged 96. Greece declares 3 days of national mourning.

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Poems from Anglo Saxon

in The Word Exchange: Anglo Saxon Poems in Translation (G. Delanty and M. Matto, eds.) New York: Norton.

Holst-Warhaft’s translations of Greek poetry have appeared in anthologies such as _World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time, _(eds. K. Washburn et. al.) New York: Norton, 1998; Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke: The Scattered Papers of Penelope (ed. K. Van Dyck, Anvil Press, 2008, Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry (ed. Van Dyck), Penguin, 2016, and in many journals such as Modern Poetry in Translation, Translation, Stand, Aegean, Poetry Greece and Odyssey. She has translated the poetry of Seferis, Elytis, Gatsos, Ritsos, and other Greek poets for the composer Mikis Theodorakis, and her translations appear on his website and his printed scores. Her translations of Cavafy, Ritsos, Anghelaki-Rooke and other Greek poets appear in her recent book The Fall of Athens.


Achilles’ Fiancée

by Alki Zei. (Novel) Athens: Kedros, 1991.


by Iakovos Kambanellis. (Novel/Memoir) Athens: Kedros, 1995.


George Seferis: The Strong Wind from the East

(literary study) by Markos Madias, New Jersey: Cosmos, 2002.

The American

by Alexandros Papadiamandis. In The Boundless Garden. Selected short
stories of Papadiamandis ol.1, Evia, Greece: Denise Harvey, 2007.

My Home

by Melpo Axioti, in A. Leontis, (ed.) Greece: A Traveler’s Literary Companion, San Francisco: Whereabouts Press, 1997.

The House by the River

novel by Lena Manta. Amazon, forthcoming 2017.

Dream on the Wave

by Alexandros Papadianadis, in Alexandros Papadiamandis. The Boundless Garden: Selected Short Stories, vol. 2. Ed. Lambros Kamberidis & Denise Harvey, Denise Harvey Publishing, forthcoming.

The Gold Letter

by Lena Manta. Forthcoming, Amazon, 2018.