The iconic Greek poet, scholar, translator, essayist, art collector and art gallery owner Dinos Christianopoulos passed away on Tuesday in his hometown of Thessaloniki, a place he never left. He was 89 years of age.
Christianopoulos was born on March 21, 1931. Years later, the day of his birth, the Spring solstice, was to be named “World Poetry Day.”
As a teenager, he was hesitant about whether to study theology or the fine arts. Eventually he decided to become a philologist, studying at the Department of Philology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, from which he graduated in 1954.
Christianopoulos never taught as a profession; this was partly because he believed that to be an employee of any kind is, in his words, a “curse.”
He published his first poetry collection, entitled “Age of Lean Cows,” at age nineteen in 1950. In 1958 he founded the magazine “Diagonios,” which was published until 1983. In 1962 he created the publishing house “Diagonios Publications,” which printed important works of literature.
In 2011 Christianopoulos was honored with the “Grand Award Prize for Letters” for his contribution to Greek literature and to the intellectual life of Thessaloniki. However, he refused to accept the award, referring to a work called “Against,” which he wrote in 1979, in which he stated “I am against awards because they reduce human dignity.”
“Greece lost one of its great poets and Thessaloniki its most heretical and charming voice,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter.
“Today, Greece lost one of the most important poets of the School of Thessaloniki,” Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni wrote in her message of condolence.