Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Adrianne Kalfopoulou is Associate Professor of Language and Literature at Hellenic American University in Athens, Greece. She is the author of two poetry collections, Wild Greens and Passion Maps, both from Red Hen Press. Her poems and essays have appeared in Hotel Amerika, Essays & Fictions, Room Magazine, Fogged Clarity, The Broome Street Review and Spoon River Poetry Review. She has taught creative writing and literature in the Creative Writing Program at New York University and at the University of Freiburg.

All Books

A History of Too Much

Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Publication Date: April 23, 2018

$17.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-612-6


These are poems born of facets and interrogations of citizenship and national dissolution in the Greek cultural landscape of economic austerity, of the self in love, too, with topoi imbued with history, eros, and loss. The terrains are multiple and transient, the subjects both quotidian and extraordinary in their lyric consciousness of time.

"Adrianne Kalfopoulou's luminous chronicle of love and debt in the time of the Greek Euro crisis, A History of Too Much, is powerful lyric testimony to the courage, humor, and brave resistance with which ordinary people faced augurs of loss in Greece, where the beauty of 'the oregano's thick perfume, the sapphire sea' remind them of a heritage of beauty and sacrifice, as the title poem puts it. 'It felt so much bigger than me,' says the speaker of the magnificent hybrid poem that caps the collection, an assemblage of the voices and visions of historic change, which is, like History itself, a tour de force."

—Cynthia Hogue, author of In June the Labyrinth

"The 'too much' that piques the reader's interest in the arresting title of these poems does double service: it sounds a cry of anguished exasperation uttered by this collection and comments on the way private life has been massively invaded by public upheavals. A startling theme, viewed with unexpected ambivalence, is hope—or rather 'the carcass of hope'— that in these poems seems fated to end with 'passionate disappointment.' As the immigrant daughter of political exiles, I grasp that theme viscerally as Kalfopoulou pursues it through marvelous use of sensory details; attention to the voices and narratives of individuals, named and specified; love poems both tender and erotically vivid; memories of the dead; encounters with the maimed but still-living; physical vestiges of World War II and its victims, and travel accounts full of foreboding amid strangers in nocturnal surroundings."

—Rhina P. Espaillat, author of Playing at Stillness and Her Place in These Designs

Ruin: Essays in Exilic Living

Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

$15.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-537-2


The essays in Ruin link meditations on teaching, friendship, motherhood, love, the financial meltdown in Greece, the shared language of politics and advertising, Occupy Wall Street, and the Parthenon Marbles into a relentless interrogation of identity and loss. Kalfopoulou’s Athens and New York are twinned sites of perpetual dislocation, palimpsests of political, economic, cultural and personal crisis. The refugee, the immigrant, the fragmented I charted in these essays all are studies in exilic living, pilgrims wandering the wreckage of late capitalism.

Praise for Ruin

“Balancing along the boundary that separates memoir, travel writing, and journalism, Ruin courageously explores not only cities (Athens, New York, Freiburg, among others) but states of mind and soul in a pulsing, fraying time. Reading Ruin, we share Kalfopoulou’s honesty and anger, her vulnerability and nerve, her sense of humor and beauty.”

—Rachel Hadas, author of The Golden Road

“In Adrianne Kalfopoulou’s brilliant book of essays, Ruin, we accompany her on the pitted road of motherhood, friendship, love, the financial meltdown of Greece—and, centrally, the pilgrim’s journey into memory. Kalfopoulou’s mediations are more politically incisive than any other book of personal essays I’ve read in ages. Her self-possession and attention to suffering and her pitch of self-questioning are sharp and rare. As with the finest essayists, she is ‘like pagans respectful of what the unpredictable might have in store for us.’ But never too respectful. ‘I am a reluctant traveler,’ she tells us, but in her company, we never are.”

—David Lazar, author of Occasional Desire

Passion Maps

Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Publication Date: November 1, 2009

$17.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 1-59709-158-8


Passion Maps is a lyrical cartography of historical and biographical experiences, of the poet's lived and imagined mappings. The poems in this collection chart a world itinerary of stopping places, or stassis—a transliterated Greek word for a stop or a pause—that transport the reader from locations of childhood memory to pauses of lost love, and lost life, through landscapes as disparate as Vietnam, Greece, New Jersey, and the Balkans. As poet and critic Joseph Powell described Kalfopoulou's first collection, Wild Greens, "the best of these poems make beauty ache", a phrase used by Frost to describe Yeats' poetry; of this new collection Powell notes a range of "different types of utterance, of poems ambitious and experimental in a volume that is tough, tender and honest throughout."

As Passion Maps suggests, these are poems of experiences that have mapped, as much as experiences that have become maps; there are the inevitable first cartographies of family: a father "stoic/ in brutal combat", a mother who "would have preferred to sing her words" that expand into the broader mappings of "bygone lives,/" and "the lyric ruin of cities", an America of "New World opportunity" and an old world of "whole towns/now erased by the grass." In his review of Wild Greens in the Crab Orchard Review, Jon Tribble describes the "bitter and the sweet" of poems that "test our palates" and "remind us that the bread and meat and fruits and greens of life come with many flavors and at a cost that is as dear as it is worthwhile." The same could be said of Kalfopoulou's second collection though here we have the voice of a poet who has broadened her style to include more of the world.

Wild Greens

Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Publication Date: September 1, 2002

$13.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 1-888996-58-7


“It is a difficult thing to write simply and eloquently with quiet and intense passion in ways that are unflinchingly personal but also fold the reader into the depths of history and myth. This is partly what Adrianne Kalfopoulou’s poems do for me. They are also celebrations reminding me how words can perform acts of affirmation and joy no matter what griefs or complex experiences they contain. These poems attain the beauty of ritual.”

—T. Alan Broughton

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