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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 November 2018
18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Koraly Dimitriadis is no longer angry As she gets ready to launch her new book, the poet looks back on her experience and muses on the importance of her Greek Cypriot background NIKOS FOTAKIS L ook up Koraly Dimitriadis' name - say, in a standard google search - and you're more than likely to see a variation of the word 'angry', or 'anger' associated with the poet. When I bring this up to her, she laughs. "I think I was a lot angrier back in the day, when I was still trying to find my voice than what I am today," she admits. "I don't get offended when people say that, because that fire within me, when I 'm annoyed, that is where the poetry comes from." Having said that, Koraly admits that her poetry has changed, since she emerged with Love and F--k Poems, her first book, in which she addressed the oppressive role of patriarchy - and particularly that still prevalent in Greek and Cypriot communities where she grew up. "My poetry is becoming more reflective," she says, explaining that this may have been part of growing up and gaining maturity. "I've had more experience and I've had to reconcile with a lot of things within myself," she says. "I used to be very angry at my culture and my family, but now I kind of understand it more. I see that it was hard for our parents to come here and start a new life. When I go to Cyprus and see all that beauty, I think that they gave it all up, in order to have a better future for me." This kind of reconciliation is not only part of her journey as a human being, but it naturally finds its way into her words, as she sets them out on the page. "I'm a poet who wants to learn from people and grow," she says. "Yes, my poetry is angry, but I always try to understand other people's point of view as well. I do the best I can anyway," she adds, laughing. All this change unfolds within the pages of her latest book, Just Give Me The Pills, which is being launched next week at The Greek Centre. As in Love and F--k Poems, in this book there are also common threads that make the poems featured - which are also of various formats and traditions - creating an overarching narrative. "I see it as a story that takes place before and after Love and F--k Poems, it happens in the middle. It is about a girl who got married very young, for a lot of the wrong reasons - because there is still a lot of pressure on women to get married and have children - and about her journey in finding her voice," she says. "I wanted to show how hard it is for a woman to leave a marriage and the lack of support there is." The book's 'protagonist' is facing the oppression that comes from patriarchy, from the conservative migrant culture that surrounds her, but also the conservative mainstream culture, for instance when she addresses the issue of breastfeeding against the 'bottle mums'. These are themes that many women can relate to - and that come from Koraly's personal experience. "[Just] Give Me The Pills is loosely based on my own experience, using writing as a form of liberation," she admits. "Writing and expression and art can be a powerful tool in reconciling that struggle that one might have within themselves, and it can act as a doorway to empowering oneself and liberating themselves." More importantly, it is something that anyone can do, she adds. "You don't have to be an artist that is out there, but using art as a way to help yourself is a very positive thing." For her, it has been a definitely liberating process, that has allowed her to heal her wounds and come to terms with the challenges of her migrant background. "I was brought up in an environment where Cyprus was always considered to be home,"
17 November 2018
01 December 2018