Any town would be proud to have given birth to such a great man, such a wonderful poet as Yiannis Ritsos. Monemvasia, which Ritsos so loved and praised in his work, honours him every year in a festival aimed at highlighting the many facets of his personality and to acquaint younger generations with the universal messages reflected in his life and work.
I walked thousands of kilometres
without bread, without water,
On stones and thorns,
To bring you bread and water and roses….
Through his talent and skill, Yiannis Ritsos enriched his poetry with timeless values and ideals. Standing at the helm of what he himself, at his 75th birthday celebrations in Chrysafitissa square, called the “stone ship”, the medieval fortress, he travelled the world in the name of peace. Journeying to “ports never seen before”, he used his poetry to take to the people of the world his message of democracy, freedom and social justice, but above all, of world peace and the coexistence of peoples.
Deeply ecumenical, but equally Greek, he clothed the people, landscapes and symbols of his poems with the beauty of Greece as it has evolved since Homer’s time.
Ritsos’ poetry is art dedicated to the service of humanity’s highest and most progressive ideals.