sábado, 16 de março de 2024

CHRISTOS DANIIL | Matsie Hadjilazaros: Our poetry is life


Maria-Loukia (Matsie) Hadjilazaros was born on the 17th of January 1914 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her family, of Macedonian origin, was one of the strongest financially and socially influential families of Thessaloniki. Her family’s occupation in the city, in which they had settled around the midst of the 19th century, was dynamic and varied. Both her grandfather, Periklis, and her father, Kleon, were US consuls in Thessaloniki. They owned enormous amounts of land property (tsiflikia) in Macedonia, they funded and operated large textile units in Naousa, they owned mansions on the East side of Thessaloniki, and they maintained close relation with Greece’s Royal family; King George stayed in Perikli’s house when he came to Thessaloniki after the liberation of the city from the Ottomans on the 26th of October 1912, where his body was exhibited for the public to mourn when he was assassinated on the 18th of March 1913. Correspondingly, the successor of the throne, Konstantinos, who also became Matsie’s godfather, stayed at Kleon’s house. Kleon Hadjilazaros was co-manager of the branch of the Bank of the East who also had financially and pragmatically assisted in the promotion of the Greek interests in Macedonia. After the city’s liberation he became the first president of the Association of Macedonian Industrialists and pioneered in the establishment of a local Red Cross branch and of a hospital in the city.

However, in 1917, with the election of E. Venizelos, who was in rivalry with King Konstantinos, and with Greece’s participation in the First World War, Kleon lost his positions of power and a big portion of his assets. The mandatory and forced expropriations of land, as well as family issues, lead him to desert the city. For two years the family lived abroad, Italy and France. They returned to Thessaloniki for a short period of time and in 1921 they decided to move in the capital, Athens.


…deep down, my entire life, I had always been a trilingual person. That is because my father was half-American, but American enough for him to always scold and rebuke me in English; Since I was a child, I also spoke French due to the house circumstances [the high society of the time used to learn French at home from prestigious teachers] and of course Greek… I had even learnt Italian, the first language I had ever learnt was Italian, which, later on, I forgot by changing languages. (Hadjilazaros, 1984)


In Athens, even though Kleon continues his economical and commercial activities, as well as his relations with the Royal Family, gradually is led to economical destruction with a contributing factor being the economic crisis of 1929-1931. Being addicted to morphine, due to serious health issues, both he and his wife, Matsie’s mother, Virginia, lost their lives to it.

Matsie experiences all of the above in her critical childhood and adultescence years. Having being raised in an at least trilingual cosmopolitan environment with frequent moves between cities and countries (her family carries out numerous trips in Central and Northern Europe even at the time when they had moved to Athens) and with experiencing an intense social and cosmic life in her early teenage years, she faces gradually the social, economic decline of her family, as well as the death of her parents. In the early 30s, Matsie, for her to ensure her livelihood, she finds occupation in a Folk Art Shop. In 1931, at the age of 18, she marries Karl Schurmann of Bavarian origin; their marriage does not last very long. In 1937, they get divorced and at the same year she marries the agronomist and garden architect Spyros Tsaousis, however, this marriage does not last long either as of the following year she begins the divorce process. Matsie seeks to resolve her issues by resorting to the new science that was emerging in Greece at the time: psychoanalysis. The originator of psychoanalysis in Greece was Andreas Empeirikos, originating from a prestigious ship-owner background, who had been apprenticed by René Laforgue. In 1933 in Paris, Empeirikos through the mediation of the psychoanalyst Jean Frois-Wittman, he became acquainted with André Breton and began participating in the daily meetings of the surrealists in Place Blanche. With his lecture “On Surrealism” and the publication of his poetic collection “Ypsikamikos”, surrealism is being introduced in Greece for the first time in 1935. His meeting with Matsie Hadjilazaros would evolve in a love affair and then to marriage (1939).



To Matsie


You were like a silence pirced by the wind. However, I had healed your wound and the words we spoke, brought us so close, that the silence and the gap of the days before we met, were entirely gone. In the field of our meeting, which became the field of our love, no others are adjacent. You are nice and your beauty transcends the limits of the urban land and even reaches the borders of your yesterday’s loneliness, which you brought down. Yes, in this field, there are no others adjacent. I am close to you and live in your hopes, as you remain in my eyelids while I sleep. The words of others do not matter, because they lost the tone they had before we met and the faces of others began to look like foreign faces, unknown to me and, perhaps, to you. However what’s the harm. The shell of the past broke, and you emerged whole, definitive and with velvet that left your chest half-naked. For those reasons, this field, I will never forget it; I will buy it, and I will never sell it. (…)

My love, I love you, and our journey will be, like a spring procession of scents.

Andreas Empeirikos


“Field”, dedicated to Matsie, was written by Empeirikos at the beginning of his relationship with Hadjilazaros, and was published in 1960 in the collection Writings or Personal Mythology.

Matsie is introduced by Andreas Empeirikos to the world of poetry and surrealism. Matsie is obviously fascinated by surrealism as she finds in it much of what she was looking for in her life up to this point: the true essences of life beyond the borders of conventional logic, the poetic expression without distortion, the importance of major and romantic love. Simultaneously, she experiments with automatic writing.

During the German Occupation of Athens (1941-1944), Matsie and Empeirikos continue to meet with other young intellectuals and avant-garde artists in their house every Thursday.


After all, we now had, for the evening hours, acquired another shelter, the new house of Andreas Empeirikos on Georgiou Ainianos Street. The regular gatherings on Thursdays, which were held throughout the period of the Occupation, and even –but not with the same liveliness– after the Liberation, remained historic. They began, like all things that one does not plan, with a few friends, to get to include, at the end of the Occupation, a very wide circle from all generations and from all fractions, all those who, regardless of age or political position, they believed, above all, that people should remain free and in the deepest and correct meaning of the term.

Amorgos by Nikos Gatsos, Bolivar by Nikos Engonopoulos, Ursa minor by Takis Papatsonis, Agios Antonios by Antonios Vousvounis, the poems of Nanos Valaoritis and Matsie Andreou (Hadjilazaros), the poems of the unjustly murdered Kitsos Maltezos-Makrygiannis, as well as the poems of numerous other young poets were read there for the first time. (…)

Our moral was fortunately thriving and there was no lack of humour. (…)

And let the moralists, or I should say the narrow-minded, claim that it was shameful at the time when others were starving or being killed for us to have fun. Most of us who were “having fun” were, in fact, starving or were getting killed secretly at night without ever making a fuss about it.

Odysseas Elytis, 1987


In 1944, when Matsie had already left Andreas Empeirikos for the younger poet Andreas Kampas, her first collection of poetry May, June and November was published under the pseydonim Matsie Andreou. The collection was dedicated to Andreas.


And everyone was asking who she means: Empeirikos, whom she was leaving, or Kampas, who was following?

Manos Hadjidakis, 1988


Nowadays, it is evident that the dedication to Andreas is for Andreas Empeirikos, not only because she had stated so in an interview forty years later, but also for the reason that in her archive was found manuscripts of her poems from the period she was living with Empeirikos, for whom the same dedication was made. Additionally, the way the poems are written reminds of Empeirikos’ way. The dedication is characterized as personal and private, its receiver is aware to whom it is insinuated to address and the reasons behind the dedication. If an explanation was provided, regarding the identification of the persona of the dedication, that would be a retreat to social conventions, a typical explanatory act for the public; however “in the field of [their] meeting, which became the field of [their] love, no others are adjacents”.


While I was writing May, June and November my elders considered me to be completely immoral. (…)

It was the years of the war. Confessing your love for a man, in my own unfamiliar way, was considered to be very unethical.

Before the Occupation ended, there was a well-known pro-german newspaper critic who was stating the desire for my book to be burned.

I wanted to write about a natural and carnal excitement, I wanted to break the conventions, but you know those differ for everyone (…) Apart from religion (which I have no particular contact with), apart from religion and love, cannot find what else someone could do.

Hadjilazaros, 1986




[I think of a life that would be overwhelming like this day]


I think of a life that would be overwhelming like this day,

only if you were gone on a trip. In the morning I think

of your limbs tightly bound – there, somehow, I find

your embrace. At night I gaze at your lips like a nibbled fruit.

Come, the day is so lovely – the poems which

I love I desire to spend hem with you. So many things I could

turn into happiness and give them to you.

Every moment I could turn it into primitive music,

soft fur, warm, electrified, which

sinks deep inside. A dance perfectly free, instead of

limbs you have wings, then again wings of a dream. Or scents

–would you prefer cents? Then, they are going to be refreshing,

like small waterfalls full of Adiantums – or like a seaside

where the seaweed, the starfish, the sea urchin go out

in the sun – and the wave in the sandy beach is not solemn

but playful. Of course, the far out sea has a tender tragedy.


[The night has fallen into the open sea]


The night has fallen into the open sea – where is the day for me?

Where are the rays of the sun upon my eyelids,

where are the unfulfilled desires of my flesh upon the sand, where are

the scops owl, the cicadas, and my five voices?

Tomorrow I will join your two legs, in hopes that a small,

sad child is going to be born, named Ious, Manius and maybe,

Aqua Marina.

Bring me to birth all the babies in creation, give me to die all the deaths.

A few strings of music are enough for us to run

barefoot upon the grass of the North, to count

all of the droplets of our body and to weave

with our hand all the jute rugs of our musing days.


[How can I erase these desires of May?]


How can I erase these desires of May?

How can these tears of an ethereal twilight dry up?

I mourn all of the girls’ manes that are laying

upon pillows of conventional love.

I will give them a white rose in my apron

and a red one – maybe they’ll see them, maybe they’ll smell them.

I will give them a gold fly that suddenly finds the sun

while singing in my hair – maybe they’ll see it, maybe

they’ll hear it.

I’ll say to them: look at the vigorous men, the free ones,

the lion man, the masted-ship man, the lamina man

and bow man and man with voice from the mountain top – then maybe

they give themselves to him, yes, maybe they will fall in love.

If I had the voice I am asking for, an entire urban land would not

be enough for me to bring it along to my spring stroll.

I ask: has anyone ever gone through dusks that do not perish,

and the pleasant fragments that do not disappear but become our shadows,

and our five senses when they pant and scream at our heart?

I want to lay my silk limbs on a bracing beach,

I want to lose my gaze in the infinite blue of

my own sea, I want my breaths and pulses to be

the breaths and pulses of my prevalent love.

Eros, love, lust, pleasure.

E r o s, E r o s.


Where she was born, I don’t know. She lived, like me, during the Occupation. And she left from Greece, just after the end of the War. She got lost in the destroyed Europe back when Greece was Greece and Europe, Europe. She got lost… so to say. Because the real girls, never get lost. Never lost to time. They come back with the form of books, praises and songs.

Manos Hadjidakis


In the midst of 1945, and during the intense period in Greece due to the civil strife in Athens on December 1944, the principle of the French Institute of Athens, Octave Merlier, suggested for an adequate amount of scholarships to be given to Greek students to study in France. Matsie Hadjilazaros, after three marriages, having passed her 30 years of age and without any former education, because of the era’s norm for wealthy families to get educated by private tutors at home, submitted an application for a scholarship. The three recommendation letters needed are provided by Andreas Empeirikos, Odysseas Elytis and Takis Papatsonis who extol her poetic talent, like it had been depicted in her first collection May, June and November (1944).


Athens, 16 of August, 1945


The signatory ANDREAS EMPEIRIKOS (author, psychoanalysists) certifies that Mrs. MATSIE EMPEIRIKOS, née HADJILAZAROS, with the pseudonym MATSIE ANDREOU, is a young woman gifted with undoubtfully huge poetic talent. Her poems can be considered as a peek in women’s sensitive, which is being expressed in an entirely personal, completely original and infatuated way. I highlight, unhesitantly, that I consider Mrs. Matsie Andreou as the greatest Greek female poet. Additionally, I am certain that this charming young lady can provide the best services to the case of the profoundly human and humanitarian culture of France, which, more than in any other country, echoes and palpitates in Greece, a country so close intellectually and ethically to yours [France].

 Andreas Empeirikos


When, during her interview, Matsie was asked for the reason she wanted to go to Paris, she replied that “I just want to see and touch with my hand a Matisse and a Picasso”. To the objection raised from the committee that “you know, Greece now, after the war, is in need for agronomists, engineers, architects” she replied that “yes, but I think that it is need for certain people or poets or people of the arts to go and see also [further] outside [of Greece]”. Matsie supposes that she received the scholarship because of this answer as well.

On December 21 of 1944 the New Zealand ship “Mataroa” (which in Polynesian means “the woman with big eyes”) arrived at the port of Piraeus and on December 22 the ship set sail for Italy. This is the largest exodus of young scientists and artists of that period. According to Kornilios Kastoriadis, scholarship of the Institute and passenger of the ship states that Mataroa’s journey is “a historical event of modern Greece, which someday will have to be written…”. In the ship, besides the scholarship holders of the Institute, many young scientists and artists boarded the ship, who had relations with the Institute followed on their own expenses. All previously mentioned are going to have asylum and all students’ rights, rights to participate in the campus and rights to occupation in France. On board, among others, the writers Mimika Kranaki and Elli Alexiou, philosophers Kostas Papaioannou and Kostas Axelos, sculptor Memos Makris, painter Nelli Andrikopoulou, cinematographer Manos Zacharias, historian Nikos Svoronos, philologist Emmanouil Kriaras and many others. Also, among the passangers of Mataroa are Spyros Tsaousis, Matsie’s second husband, her then partner and very promising poet Andreas Kampas and Matsie Hadjilazaros.



My dear Andreas,                                                                   

We have arrived.

I think we arrived on the midnight of December 30th. The exhaustion on the Italian trains is indescribable – so be it! From Taranto and onward, I, at least, travelled as if I were in a nightmare, having lost every hope that I will ever see Paris.

Now, let me think what I wanted to say to you. I am still entirely in shock, I am living a new love with Paris, without having adapted to the rhythm and atmosphere of my new lover. I never imagined that a city, its civilization and tradition, and the spirit, could excite me like this. I am speechless […]

However, I need to tell you that Paris seems to have changed immensely. At 12 p.m. the metro stops and all the centers are closed by 22:30 due to restricted electricity. The food is horrible unless you go to the black market. Of course, we most definitely don’t go there. The theatres and the concerts are also extremely expensive. Cars are scarce in the streets and, as far as I recall, the city is rather deserted. In order to get a taxi so that you can transport any luggage, you have to resolve the “Eastern Question”. But if you are well settled, you can live off your food coupons, which are expensive, but they provide everything, from fresh butter, to wine, et fruits exotiques etc.!

As if I am Greece I largely envy their organization. Now I am beginning to understand few of the things that you love in France. You were right, this is not just verbalisme – there is SPIRIT. […]

Many many kisses, my gougouchaki



[this is the place of painting]


This is the place of painting

this is the place of poetry

The trees in the winter are naked without their leafs, but from every branch

of all the trees in the big roads and alleys (in the small ones) and the squares grows a musing fresh poetry, even if the winter is so cold

The houses are darkened by all the shadows


My homeland is chasing me


My homeland is chasing me


in city of painting

here, where in the winter

from every brach of the avenue’s tree, in the streets, in the squares

grows a musing fresh poetry

here where rocks

are vines

I saw the bunches


But my homeland is chasing me

me who never knew how to cuddle

I am chased by this child

which I should have birthed

instead of running away hiding in some shelves of a shop, or in the

Proust and in the aubépines

even maybe I am chased by two or three kids

I am chased by Dionysos

and once in Greece

he almost caught me, in Varkiza

but never could I face him

and say – here I am, I want you to take

my naked self

I am a corner shelf

whatever you place on me

it falls


Spring 1946, Paris


According to the practice of the time, the introducer of surrealism in Greece and psychoanalyst Andreas Empeirikos had provided Matsie with reference letters so that she can get in contact with intellectual people who lived in Paris, with whom he maintained personal relationships with.


I still have not used any of the letters you have given me, nor any of them. For now I do not have a place within me for any human acquaintance.


Matsie 5-1-46


Wait till you hear that I met Tzara and fought fiercely from the first moment. He almost called me a bigot and a collaboratrice and I called him almost stupid and naive to believe word for word the propaganda of the Communist Party. Eventually, when we calmed down a bit, he said to me – “I have met a rather nice Greek, Empeirikos”. “Well” I said, “my ex-husband”, “Ah oui?” in a tone that says “well then ma’am maybe you’re not that horrible after all”. Then Andreas [Kampas] spoke up – “Justement les rouges ont failli l’ assasiner!”. But of course he chose not to hear it. However, last time I saw him, he told me to say “hi” to you.

Why bother, my dear Andreas, I am frightened by all this, I see that they are all passionate and committed leftists. We who are not, what do we represent in our time? The Alexandrians? The décadents? Politics becomes more and more indifferent and hateful to me, all filth and lies and immorality. But it seems that if you have faith, you don’t investigate. Soon all artists will make a certain art, just as once everyone made Christian art. Fortunately, we are on the edge, so I get to be with the Alexandrians.

[….] I have another reason for being that angry against politics – I feel trapped – because now I know positively that if I have to live my whole life outside of Greece I will always feel exiled. Why bother, I’m Romia. But then again I can’t bear to face political turmoil in my own country.

I’m weak, I can’t stand it. So be it! […]

Thank you for the wishes, gougouchakis – you’re the only one who remembered it.


Match, 16-2-46


The letter shows that Matsie met with Tristan Tzara, the pioneer of the Dada movement, at least twice during the first 40 days of her stay in Paris, and without having a letter of introduction for this meeting. Empeirikos’ personal relationship with Tzara is also inferred. Tzara, at the time, was politically active, having participated in the Spanish Civil War and the French Resistance, was a member of the National Assembly, and the following year (1947) joined the Communist Party. Andreas’ (Kampas) reference to the communists, who almost assassinated Empeirikos, is a reference to the hostage-taking of the poet, as well as thousands of other Athenians, by the ELAS (formerly known as the PLA) guerrillas during the ELAS’ disengagement from Athens at the end of December 1944. Empeirikos, during the walk of the hostages to Krora, where many of the hostages were killed, managed to escape.


Now, about Breton. I went with the Dominguezes, with whom I am very friendly, to the Deux Magots, where Breton was reigning at a long, long table. Something Sikelianian in his manner. As soon as I was introduced he asked me how you were; he said that throughout the war he had been thinking of you with great regard and friendship, and was so pleased to hear from you at last. I told him all the news I could think of, concerning you, and in short the state of literature in Greece, the influence of surrealism, etc. [...] However, Breton now seems to be in a difficult position, he has lost all his best lads and he himself, because he did not live through this war, seems to have been left behind in something. I now understand that surrealism was something much greater than I had imagined – perhaps many surrealist artists of the best kind did not realize it themselves. Be that as it may, Breton now gives me the impression of a gentleman handling an alphabet three letters short. So be it – he can find them again. I declared that I would not go to the Deux Magots to see him again, although he was more than kind to me– for there is an air of court and servility about him unbearable. If I meet him and we become friends – in a house or elsewhere, fine – but like this – No! I forgot to tell you, of course, that he told me to give you his regards, and that he has always thought of you and thinks of you with great friendship and esteem and regard.

Matsie 1-9-46


It seems that Matsie sought to meet with Breton through the surrealist painter Oscar Dominguez, who introduced her to him, and not to make use of the letter of recommendation that Empeirikos had supplied her with. The meeting took place at the well-known café Deux Magots, the post-war artistic hangout of the surrealists, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. Breton had been absent from Paris since 25 March 1941. During these years the surrealist group had weakened. Tzara presented himself as the new leader and exponent of surrealism, while polemics against surrealism were also waged by the existentialists: Sartre, Camus and academic circles. Matsie, in a direct and clear way (something like – No!) summarizes her attitude towards the atmosphere of court and servitude she encountered around Breton. She chooses not to pursue contacts with the man who pulled the strings of surrealism in France because the surrounding atmosphere did not suit her. She does not deny Breton, but would prefer to meet him on other occasions. With “No!”, Matsie expresses her general biotheory towards the compromises and expediencies that are encountered in life and art.


We also met a nephew of Picasso, called XAVIERVILATÓ. I’ve seen his works twice, and it seems to me that he has a huge talent. He looks a lot like his uncle’s works in the face, and his painting, of course, is very much influenced by him. We’ve seen a lot of Picassos, but this kid seems, beside that point – rather malgré ça, very strong talent; we’ll see.

Matsi, 26-4-46


Now about PICASSO. Exhibition at Galerie Carré. I went – unfortunately only three times. About twenty paintings. Each one individually a finished world of a genius. It seems to me that this last phase of his is not only the perfection of the medium of expression, but also the most tenderly human, the most erotic. I realized that I was standing in front of the work of a génie. Here is the “worldly consciousness” roughly, manly, without philologisms, you know that the woman he loves is not only a person as we think we see her; and he is not afraid and follows his thought and his estrus to its last consequence, and the wood of the chair on which the woman sits looks like it’s about to sprout twigs and leaves. Moreover, the absolute pleasure and mastery of painting, for all his life he fights as the bull and the bullfighter.

It gets me, how shall I put it? A feeling of gratitude to the world that Picasso exists and that I have seen and continue to see his work.

Matsie, 1-9-46


It was around this time that Matsie’s relationship with Xavier Vilato, with whom she would live in Paris for the next eight years, began. The period of living with Vilato (1946-1954) was particularly fruitful in Matsie’s poetic production. In 1949, her second collection of poems, and first in French, was published in 1949 under the title Cinq Fois by Guy Lévis Mano, a publishing house that published works by Antonin Artaud, André Breton, Paul Eluard and Federico Garcia Lorca, among others. In 1951, the same publishing house published Chants Populaires des Grecs, a selection of Greek folk songs in her own translation, while in the same year, her second Greek-language collection entitled Kryfochori was published in Athens by Tetradio Publications. In 1954, the collection La Frange des Mots, dedicated to Villato, was published.

Matsi, due to her relationship with Vilato, will enter the circle of the Spanish painter. She became close to Picasso’s companion Françoise Gilot, with whom she corresponded from 1948 until at least 1961. In Matsie Hadjilazaros’ archive are dozens of photographs of Picasso’s family in everyday life, as well as drawings by Gilot, which the latter had enclosed in her letters to Matsie.


There [in Paris] I became very friendly with Vilato and it’s because of this that I saw Picasso very closely, as I had requested at the French Institute, very closely. And not only did I see Picasso up close, but one day he says “we are going to St. Paul de Vance” –”To do what?” –”Meet Matisse”. And so I saw Matisse up close, who was sick; he was working in the mornings, in the afternoons he was in bed. And I see them talking to each other in plural.

–”No, you are the greatest” –”No, you are the greatest” [...] and so I saw Matisse up close, thanks to Picasso [...]                     

Picasso is perhaps the man I have admired and appreciated most in the world. [...]

Matsie, 1984


Matsie’s love affair with Vilato will end in 1954. A few years later, in Athens, she will write the poem “The Pumas”.



Deprivation was also a companion


Very honest were the hours each time I’ve wanted to attempt

against my life and above all against my hand that knew

only to trace the word desolation


that’s how far I am from the day that I no longer feel it


a vigilance of fears I no longer look forward to joy


your picture still closer to me than any man


I love you I think of you I write you I don’t know how to breathe without

you anymore my heart is not of my concern I love you love love

I look at you always eros, how can I erase you hearing your voice here

in Greece I know your eyes and your hands that untied the

flowers around my neck for you I was wearing them



how can I be without telling the lover who became this deprivation

of your body close to mine this deprivation of your love

all of it in every moment of my jealousy




The verse that struggles to speak now I deny it

it struck me with silence for seven long years

you are the only one to whom I want to narrate endlessly

myself to shout to scream to death to stir my tongue

into my delirium till the gag that you are wears off

you are you and you and you and a dozen more you

cause I know a thousand you.


What must I do in this square to find Saint-Germain-

des-Prés what gets into me and I confuse my steps with my personal memories constantly I search for the past in front of this church and the café and the bookshop next door

an attempt so comical when I try to read the words of the

titles in the showcase

I’ve been mutilated by you the light of the whole life of mine

only your smell escapes your eyes the love in your voice

they all chase me to my door where a wall of words stands

– know that it’s over for all the days to come

– but I don’t know how to

– everybody’s turn to die

– and if he’s still looking for me

– no for him, you’re finished.

– where to be lost

– follow sorrow in all its work

– then live to lick my wounds


Ah, the despair of the gaunt puma as it wanders incessantly in its cage and snuffles up and down each of its bars and walks along the wall to reach the bottom of its prison where each time enters a voice so piercing and strange that I can still hear it in my trench


For the next twenty years (1954-1973), Matsie would move between Paris and Athens. In 1957 and 1958 she would live with the Greek philosopher and fellow traveler in Mataroa, Cornelius Castoriadis. The relationship with Castoriadis was the last long-term relationship in Matsie’s life.

In 1958 she would attempt to settle in Athens, leaving Paris. In Athens, she worked for the National Tourism Organization (EOT), while at the same time she was engaged in jewellery making for her livelihood.


[Even if I deny it for a hundred times]


Even if I deny it for a hundred times

the backbone of my life rests on my land

and in every love sun




In 1965, she moved to Paris, where she worked in the furniture store of Varangis, facing financial difficulties and health problems. She finally returned to Athens in 1973, where she worked in public relations for Emporiki Bank until her honorary retirement from the Ministry of Culture in 1979. In the course of these years, both her companion during her journey with Mataroa, the poet Andreas Kampas (December 1965) and her third husband, as her initiate into the world of poetry, Andreas Empeirikos (August 1975) would pass away.


[Tonight I ache in all my despairs]


Tonight I ache in all my despairs

it’s too cold under the shade

of my life that’s grown old

deep sips of melancholy

are hired assassins

let now the slaughter be organized

of everything I still love


Matsie would spend the last years of her life relatively withdrawn from the intellectual life of Athens in a small basement apartment on Patriarchou Ioakeim Street. In 1979, after 28 years of publishing absence, an anthology of poems entitled Eros Melachrinos was published by Ikaros. The collection attracted a relative interest from critics and the press. However, it was the presentation of her work and life by Manos Hadjidakis on the Third Programme of the Hellenic Radio, entitled “Eros Melachrinos, the Pendulum and the Matsie of Dreams” that will introduce Matsie and her work to a new circle of people. The exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s works held in Athens in 1983, which will also include a ceramic piece by the artist decorated with Matsie’s lyrics, will attract the attention of the artists.

Having met the people in charge of the printing shop of Keimena, she will publish her collection Εφτά γραπτά in Greek – Sept texts en Français – Seven writings in English in 1984. Her last collection of poems will be in 1985, Cinq Fois. Reverse dedication – Dédicace à rebours. In it she will include the poems from her 1949 collection Cinq Fois. Matsie will again work on these texts, which contain the atmosphere and experiences of her stay in Paris, in order to transcribe them into Greek. She will also add a final poem to the collection in two versions: in Greek and French. This is her last published poem with which she concludes her poetic testimony, her poetic life. She had begun in 1944 with the collection May, June and November, which she had dedicated to Andreas; she ends with the poem “Reverse Dedication”, a poem which, although it does not indicate the recipient of the dedication, is a complete confession of the writer in the second person, to the recipient of the poem and the dedication. This recipient is none other than Andreas Empeirikos, not only because this is what Matsie has hinted at in her last interview, but primarily because what she notes in her poem leads to him. In 1985, Matsie Hadjilazaros was seventy-one years old, in fragile health; she died two years later. Andreas Empeirikos had died ten years earlier, in 1975. They divorced in 1944. The “Reverse Dedication” is in fact Matsie Hadjilazaros’ last writing to Andreas Empeirikos, her last letter to him. The fact that the recipient of the poem-dedication is not alive to read it, to receive it, makes Matsie’s confession even more liberated, more absolute, more complete. Eros and its confession must be absolute, mad; otherwise Νο.


One day, I had a conversation with Marguerite Yourcenar and I said to her, “Perhaps we are too selfish, and not generous enough when we have a grievance with someone”. I reflected on this in my mind and thought that I had shown a terrible lack of generosity with a person. “Reverse Dedication” came out as a thank you.

Hadjilazaros, 1986




For the one with the manly voice-look and with big winged hands

that I don’t forget                    the afternoon you said           thirty years I waited

for you and felt for the first time “le vierge le vivace et le bel aujourd’hui” then a strong wind of love opened wide a window inside me and large drops of glee came in as the south wind turned buzzing from the corner of my heart the body is earth     thirsty of you it learned the floods of love     a lot

I think I’ll speak now a lot that I’ve kept in a hiding place    I’ll spread it here as best as I can and what is to be may be




I wish I could    oh how much I wish I could   yes I wish I could

right   now now   I’d like to scrape out the syntax a bit to sing you like

I learned in Paris


I have you like a Dinosaur of the most amazing ones

I have you like a pebble a soft fruit that the sea has ripened

I fall in love with you

I envy you

I jasmine you



you my page

you my pencil   my interpreter

I open your drawers

how come you didn’t visit me all those times

I’ve wrenched you away I say now

endlessly I’m sorry

in coldness you have ever known my heart

we met in a wonderful year

I’m robbing you from someone else’s hands

I hear you everywhere

I silence you in my infinite tenderness

slowly we’ll settle down

I haven’t said it all



The text is based on the books:

Christos Daniil, Ious, Manius and maybe Aqua Marina, Matsie Hadjilazaros, The first Greek female surrealist, Topos, Athens 2011.

Matsie Hadjilazaros, Letters from Paris to Andreas Empeirikos (1946-1947) and other unpublished poems and prose of the same period, Introduction, memorandum, edited by Christos Daniil, Agra, Athens 2013.


CHRISTOS DANIIL (Grécia, 1969). PhD holder in Modern Greek Literature (University of Ioannina). He is teaching as an adjunct Lecturer (tutor) at the Hellenic Open University since 2002 and at the Open University of Cyprus since 2009. His research interests lie mainly in the fields of surrealism, post-war poetry and literature in education. He has published a number of articles on related topics in peer-reviewed journals, and he is the author of 9 books. Resent books: Matsie Hatdjilazaros, Γράμματα από το Παρίσι στον Ανδρέα Εμπειρίκο [Letters from Paris to Andreas Empeiricos] (1946-1947), Agra, Athens 2013 (Essay Prize by Public Book Awards), Andreas Campas, Agra, Athens 2016 (Essay Prize by Academy of Athens), Όλα δεν τα χω πει, Η «Αντίστροφη αφιέρωση της Μάτσης Χατζηλαζάρου [I haven’t said everything, The “Reverse Dedication” of Matsie XatzilazHatdjilazaros], Agra, Athens 2022.


SÉRVULO ESMERALDO (Brasil, 1929-2017). Escultor, grabador y dibujante, Sérvulo Esmeraldo se inició profesionalmente en Fortaleza, a finales de los años 1940, en los talleres libres de SCAP – Sociedade Cearense de Artes Plásticas. Trasladado a São Paulo en 1951 para estudiar arquitectura, se sintió atraído por la efervescencia de la 1ª Bienal y su revolución artístico-cultural. Su exposición realizada en el MAM (SP), en 1957, le acreditó para un año de estudios en París, becado por el gobierno francés. Una temporada que se saldó con una estancia de más de veinte años. Y en el desarrollo de una obra plural y con muchas vertientes. En París, asistió a los talleres de Litografía de la École Nationale des Beaux-Arts y de Grabado en metal de Johnny Friedlaender, dedicándose en gran medida a este último, habiendo realizado incluso grabados a partir de gouaches y pinturas para Serge Poliakoff. Poseedor de una considerable obra grabada, editada y distribuida por importantes editoriales europeas, a mediados de los años 1960, Esmeraldo estaba decidido a no dedicarse exclusivamente al grabado. Estaba interesado en poner en práctica sus proyectos cinéticos. De la misma época datan las esculturas de plexiglás en blanco y negro, cuyo interés es la topología del volumen. Inició su regreso a Brasil en 1977, trabajando en proyectos de arte público que incluían esculturas monumentales en el paisaje urbano de Fortaleza, ciudad donde estableció su estudio en 1979. Fue creador y curador de la I y II Exposición Internacional de Arte Efímero. Esculturas (Fortaleza, 1986 y 1991). Con importantes exposiciones realizadas y participación en salones, bienales y otras exposiciones colectivas en Europa y América, su obra está representada en los principales museos del país y en colecciones públicas y privadas de Brasil y del exterior. Artista invitado en esta edición de Agulha Revista de Cultura.



Agulha Revista de Cultura

Número 249 | março de 2024

Artista convidado: Sérvulo Esmeraldo (Brasil, 1929-2017)

editora | ELYS REGINA ZILS | elysre@gmail.com

ARC Edições © 2024

∞ contatos



ELYS REGINA ZILS | elysre@gmail.com 





Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário