Dr. Nicholas Samaras, Greek American Poet Poetry Reading In the forward to Nicholas Samaras's first volume, Hands of the Saddlemaker, James Dickey writes:

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 13:30

"The most engaging quality of his work is his metaphysical internationalism, the note of the eternal exile who yet finds remarkable and life-enhancing particularities in the countries through which he passes." Hands of the Saddlemaker (1992), received the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His second collection is Survivors of the Moving Earth (1998). His individual poems have been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Poetry, Kenyon Review, etc. A WEEKEND IN GREECE Published in The Southwestern Review. Volume 80, Number 1. Texas: (Winter, 1995): 136 On the far edge of August, I flew in to say goodbye,to let your hands mold me in flight once more and end it all. Descending into Saturday, focusing through the crowd, I found your face's dark beauty. You took me to a hotel on the bay, an alexandrite-blue. Opening the shutters of the balcony onto a steamy twilight, I couldn't tell you I'd leave in the morning. So, we saw each other. Gliding into each other's arms, smiling and laughing, I once thought we'd go on like this, casual and forever. But, oh, we were a gold moon, large as a Byzantine coin, chafed by wind and waning over the Piraeus port. We were distant letters and colorful stamps. Darling, we were safe. Out at midnight, harbor wind choreographed seagulls in flight. High over the restaurant, they bobbed and rose ghostly, suspended like the years between us, and plummeted. Across the white tablecloth, our hands touched briefly. I gave you a boxed, gold fob-watch, on the chain a gold cross dangling. Your hands filled with new, ticking gold. Empty and newly light, mine filled with the breeze of my departure. This is love and geography's slight. On the far edge of August, on a weekend in Greece, we dined on fish and white wine, toasted and said goodnight. AMPHILOHIOS from Hands of the Saddlemaker (1992) This is the first thing you think of. It may be the way he fills the room, how morning light seems to flow over him and is absorbed into his black cassock. Immediately, this man, his long, thick salt-and-pepper beard, will cause you to think of little else, will have you realize your future is never yours but a wind you may only tack against. Because you have never felt anything as love without possession, you could think he will want something, eventually. You think of everyone who has ever wanted of you, think of yourself who has wanted of your life the most. But he is simple in greeting, muslin arms outstretched, shaking the light from his body. For three days, he will love you and ignore you-- something you find both appreciated and disappointing. It is strange how you almost miss the judgment. Into evening, he sits at a carved table and studies; you sit opposite, writing cards or gazing past the balcony, learning how not to start a conversation. Looking out to a blue vestment of sky, you think a benign love is possible. The weekend visit becomes an icon burning into your sleep. Before you are ready to give this up, through a blue-veined wind, the long boat at midnight leads its ghostly wake into the harbor, its fogbell calling. At the wharf, you look out over the lack-robed water. Father holds you in the lightest way goodbye, kisses your cheeks, his neutral beard brushing you like air. And you love the way you are lost in the openness of his face. You love the way you are lost. THE DIVORCE CLERK Published in Ontario Reviw. Number 34. Princeton (Spring/Summer, 1991): 16-18 No other office is as ordered, as immaculate--seal embossers, staplers lined against the running edge of the desk-top with a surgeon's precision. But I have come to dread each heavy morning where the office mailman drops his burden of stationary into my drawer. Daily, my desk clutters with sadness. And daily, I open long, formal envelopes, thick with the husks of marriage. Aligning my lips, I breathe in and remember the one which contained a gold wedding band, hammered flat. Each scrawled, creased page lies face-up. Each form is a man and woman with emptied eyes. I keep no radio, no photographs--touch only the one solemnity: my processing these sheaves of paper curling. Bowed to silence, nothing exists but the steady sorting and shuffling of lives. The shreds of sacrament flow from my hands. Am I ashamed in conspiring with separation? I consider the clerics' prayers for them, the blessings rebuked, the discarded documents. I pray for no business. With each tired envelope, I petition God to unspindle these petals of disclaimers. I'll never bring back such uncouplings. Yet, with paper-clips, I hold names together one last time. With sharp staples, I bind the bitter wishes, the severing. Dr. Samaras is from Woburn, Massachusetts, but he has also lived in New York, Thessaloniki, Greece, and other parts of Europe and America. He recently edited the book, To the Country of that Spirit: Selected Poems & Essays of Alexandros Gialas (a.k.a. G. Verites), and wrote the "Introduction" to the collection, published in Greece (1998). Having received degrees from the University of Denver (Ph.D., 1994) and Columbia University (MFA, 1985), Dr. Samaras has taught at the University of Denver (1989-1993) and at Columbia University and has been the recipient of numerous writing awards, such as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Poetry Fellowship (1997-98). Dr. Samaras currently teaches at Eckerd College in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. This event was co-sponsored by the Department of English, SFSU