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Postcards From Karavis.
Karavis: Poet Or Periodontist?

The feature touched off a flurry of letters, including one from Yiorgos Chouliaras, director of the Greek Embassy's Press Office in Ottawa, who praised Solway's "extremely imaginative efforts." Not all mail was approving. Solway's essay appeared to contain a number of biographical inaccuracies about Karavis that irritated Fred Reed into dispatching corrections (and later, in his otherwise favourable review of Solway's translations in The Montreal Review of Books, Reed extended his suspicion to a number of Solway's word choices.) Nonetheless, with half-a-dozen translations appearing in leading journals like The Atlantic Monthly, Matrix and The Antigonish Review, and with the announced publication of Saracen Island (an annotated selection of Karavis's poems) and The Andreas Karavis Companion (more critical and biographical commentary with additional poems), Karavis's introduction to North America seemed to be
going swimmingly.

It was a very short swim. Word began to leak almost immediately that there was no Karavis, that the whole phenomenon -- the "translations," the detailed data on Karavis's life, Karavis's magesterial presence in Greek poetry -- was an elaborate fiction perpetuated by Solway. (In fact, on December 5th, To Vima, the major Athenian newspaper, published a response to the Books in Canada supplement written by one Dino Siotis in which Solway is scolded for duping Canadian readers.) And now in the wake of Matthew Hays's revelation, during his playful October 11th Globe and Mail
column, that Karavis is in fact Solway's pseudonymous creation -- a revelation that surfaced the same week as a report that Karavis conferences were being organized at Portugal's University of Coimbra and at Greece's University of Thessoloniki -- one can't help but air a few tentitive queries regarding Karavis's reception, the authenticity of the Karavis material and who Karavis may actually be.

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