Empowering Migrant Women Through Poetry


  • Stamatoula Panagakou University of Cyprus




It was a lovely summer day in Athens when I welcomed Alishba, Sahar, Mahdia, Sakineh, Fatima, Khadija, Mahboubeh, Heba and Rahima in my poetry workshop. We shared tea and coffee, cakes and fresh fruit. The room was filled with laughter and vivid conversation in English, Greek, Arabic and Farsi. The women looked happy and relaxed, as we were ready to explore the poetry of the Nobel Laureate Odysseus Elytis (1911-1996). Selected poems from his Orientations (1940), Sun the First (1943), The Sovereign Sun (1971) and Maria Nefeli (1978) transformed the place into a hothouse of ideas and creativity. With the wings of our imagination, “we walked in the fields” and the sun found us “again on the sandy shores” untangling the nets of dreams. We “drank water” from the springs of ancient villages and heard sublime hymns as the wind loitered “among the quinces.” 1