Vassiliki Rapti


Vassiliki Rapti


(Greece – USA)




From the unpublished collection A Different Kind of Resistance (2016)

*Note: The English were written first.






to this lake’s mind.

Its rippling curves

trickled struggle.

Its grated ice


divvied bodies,

cloudy claws,

clueless trails

past and present.

Let this rare line

Disarm weapons.







Out there in the rain

Year after year

The delusion of words

Was crystallized

I wander empty

Under the

Radiant moonlight.




At home


Because characters

Long for us forever

Because they harbor

Our longing

They are never lost.




Bridal Joy


Chasing after the very joy

She scattered the rays of the rainbow

Ignoring her white bridal gown

She reached tiptoe

The crystal meanders of the waterfall.




Dancing with Pan


A woman alone

Next to a net left by a river boy

Counts the flights of birds

Above the river bank.

Savoring wild flowers brought

From the Magnolia Park

She invites Pan

To a spiral dance.




 I want to swallow the moon drops 


Alone late at night

As the dream ends

A lonely bird vanishes

Swallowing the moon drops.




From the Unpublished Collection A Child’s Resistance (2015)





–Mom, what does it mean « to be an orphan »?

–It means what I am myself.

— In other words?

–Without dad, or mom, or both.

If both, you ’rather say: « utterly orphan. »

–Do you still feel “utterly orphan” despite your age?

–Yes, regardless of age.


–Mom, I want to kill that word.






I dislike Atlanta, mom.

Too many homeless people here.

Look at that severely wounded homeless man

how he struggles to eat from a stony bread

amidst the urine.


Could it be true for us that one day

we too become homeless, mom?




“At School


–Mom, today our teacher asked us how many siblings we have.

–So what…?

–I said “we are three”.


–Did you forget, mom?

me and the other two

the unborn in your belly.










Vassiliki Rapti is Preceptor in Modern Greek at Harvard University, where she teaches Modern Greek language, literature, theatre and Greek cinema. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with an Emphasis in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis in 2006 and she holds a D.E.A. in Greek Studies from the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne (D.E.A., 1993) and a M.A. in English from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (2000). She is the author of Ludics in Surrealist Theatre and Beyond (Ashgate, 2013) and co-founder and co-editor of the Washington University journal Theatron (2002-2004). She is also co-founder and co-chair of the current research Seminar Ludics at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard and director of the Advanced Training in Greek Poetry Translation and Performance Workshop at Harvard.


Her scholarly publications and research  interests center upon comparative literature, avant-garde theatre and performance, especially Surrealist drama and the poetics of play and games, creative writing, poetry writing and poetry translation  theory. Her articles and poems have appeared, among others, in Text and Presentation(2004 , 2005 & 2014), Journal of Modern Greek StudiesCharioteerScientific Journals International ,Eliot Review, Νέα Σκέψις (New Thought), Αιολικά Γράμματα (Aeolian Letters), and Dekata (upcoming). She is the author of three poetry collections, A Tear in the Ocean (1998, 2nd Prize of the annual Panhellenic Contest of the Literary Society Parnassos), Glossopaidies: Language(s) Games and Transitorium. For her research and teaching she has received numerous awards, grants, and distinctions. Her poetry is animated by the ludic spirit and is imbued by surrealist imagery in an attempt to capture the intrusion of the marvelous in everyday life yet it strives for simplicity in diction.

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