Monochords – Yannis Ritsos (trans. Paul Merchant) with Chiara Ambrosio

Returning to the island of Samos during the summer of 1979, where he had spent long periods of exile throughout his life, Greek poet Yannis Ritsos composed a remarkable collection of 336 single-line poems, written at a rate of about 10 a day: the Monochords, each line an essential observation of a moment; a personal archive of time past, present and future.

In London in 2020, during a period of Covid confinement, artist and filmmaker Chiara Ambrosio began responding to Ritsos’ words through linocut images: an experiment in entering the space opened by each poem, rendering it in line and shape; a daily ritual that accompanied her along a strange year of exile from life.


With an Introduction by David Harsent and Afterword by Gareth Evans.