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Postcards From Karavis.

On the occasion of the launching of Saracen Island and the Andreas Karavis Companion on October 24, 2000 at Molivos Restaurant, Yiorgos Chouliaras, director of the Greek Embassy's Press Office in Ottawa, made the following remarks:

We have come together in Montreal to honour David Solway in his celebration of the life and work of Andreas Karavis. I am quite certain that Andreas would also be here, if he could. But even if I cannot account for his absence, I can account for my presence. It was about a year after my arrival in Ottawa from New York that I met both David and Andreas. They had just made a joint impression in the pages of Books in Canada, so strikingly edited at that time by Diana Kuprel.

I quickly registered my pleasure at their acquaintance in a letter to the editor, brief enough to repeat here:

As a writer from Greece and director of the Greek Embassy's Press Office in Ottawa, I can doubly appreciate David Solway's extremely imaginative efforts on behalf of "Andreas Karavis, Greece's Modern Homer" in your October issue.

There are people who seem to believe that today Greek writers do not exist, but your contributor has most ably demonstrated their continuing hold on the Canadian imagination."

Following my letter, David Solway called to say hello and ask "How did you find out?" I told him: I had found Books in Canada at a periodicals outlet on Elgin Street, which I can envision leading all the way from Ottawa back to the Parthenon. This conversation between David and I ringed in our telephilia, a long-distance friendship by phone, to drop a coin for a new word. It also created access to the pleasingly complex intricacies of David's mind that achieve utmost simplicity.

Our repeated efforts to overcome this telephonically established mind-body dichotomy, by meeting in person either in Ottawa or Montreal, were frustrated until today by diverging itinerancies, for example, taking me to Santorini, where an international cultural diversity network was launched in September, or bringing David to the small island of Lipsi, source of a postcard by Karavis affirming his role as an abiding Solway COMPANION in that search by poets for the SARACEN ISLAND of our dreams.

Because, as kings and queens and their courtiers are strutting their stuff, a sudden eruption of Aegean sunlight reveals the final significance of the last pawn in Solway's game of chess involving life and death.

We are grateful to Véhicule Press and its publisher Simon Dardick, premier editor Michael Harris, the Hellenic Academic Foundation and its director Nicholas Katalifos, Molivos restaurant and co-owner and book collector Leonidas Kaklamanos, and the many individuals here and elsewhere who have contributed to the success of today's event. I am particularly grateful to be in the same room, for the first time ever, with David Solway. According to widely accepted theories, I now have proof that he exists.

Yiorgos Chouliaras
October 24, 2000

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