How are negotiations carried in language? What do they leave unsaid? What kinds of language can negotiations generate? Writing amidst the effects of Greece’s ongoing political and economic crises, Athens-based poet, translator, and editor Dimitra Ioannou suggests that language—as much colonized as colonizer—is linked to money and debt in a perpetual state of negotiation. In this urgent text of political analysis and poetic conviction, “Λanguage” emerges as Ioannou’s response to the violence of hegemonic structurings of reality, offering a new way to articulate suppressed meanings.
(from the back cover of the pamphlet)
Many writers are called ‘relentless.’ Dimitra Ioannou truly deserves this accolade. Electric Sarcasm is a book of urgent and intelligent address. This work is shaken by incredulity at the falsifying systems, and systematic falsifications, which immerse us no less in financial precarity than in weaponized plague. Yet it is shaken, and shakes, like an earthquake. With each prose piece, etymological transformation, or isolate ritual, you feel the foreshock of poem as event and anticipate the aftershock of poem as analysis even while you are in the shocking midst of poem as anger and lament. The plurilingualism and etymological wit by which English, French, and Greek flow into each other becomes a holding, if not a healing, for Ioannou is able to invoke the competing political and cultural freight and status of each language’s worldview. Her text moves on with the devastating nimbleness of a being that knows what it is to live well and with a sense of continuity, yet which feels compelled to overwrite itself as a fragment, sometimes in order to make durational sense of this absurd moment of competing histories and precarious futures. This book is darkly enjoyable, abyssal, and clarifying. I am in awe of how it bodies forth our time. – Vahni Capildeo
From the UDP site: https://uglyducklingpresse.org/publications/electric-sarcasm/
REVIEW by Jeremy Allan Hawkins on the wonderful “Post-Internet poetry mag & press”, Spam zine / 6 Aug. 2021
Jeremy Allan Hawkins’s attentive reading of the poetics of debt in Greek poet Dimitra Ioannou’s pamphlet, Electric Sarcasm (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2020), places the work in its wider context of economic planning and crisis, disenfranchisement and oppression, revealing a writing of ‘aesthetic beauty not unlike certain works of horror’.