Stathis Gourgouris is a poet, essayist, translator, and sound artist. He was born in Hollywood but grew up in Athens. He earned his PhD in Comparative Literature at UCLA in 1990. Subsequently, he taught in a number of universities: Princeton, Michigan, UCLA, National Polytechnic, Yale, as well as the universities of Utrecht (Holland), Uppsala (Sweden), and Sao Paolo (Brazil). Since 2008 he is Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature & Society at Columbia University in New York.

 More about author: 

He has published four poetry books:

Myrtle Trenches (in English, 1985)
Falls (Plethron 1989)
Identicide (Planodion 1993)
Introduction to Physics (To Melani 2005)

Three books of theory and essays have appeared in Greek:
And 5 books in English:
Dream Nation (Stanford UP, 1996) 25 th Anniversary Edition (2021)
Does Literature Think? (Stanford UP, 2003)
Freud and Fundamentalism (Fordham UP, 2009)
Lessons in Secular Criticism (Fordham UP, 2013)
The Perils of the One (Columbia UP, 2019)

His work has been translated in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Serbian, Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, Japanese, and Kannada (an Indian language).

He has translated the Greek poets Yiannis Patilis, Argyris Chionis, Yiorgos Chouliaras, and Phoebe Gianniss into English, as well as Edward Said, James Merrill, Heiner Müller, H.D., Derek Walcott, Robert Creeley, Carolyn Forché, και Maki Starfield into Greek.

Birth place:  Hollywood, California
Abstract text: 

The Bride with the Bullets

In the end they shave the dead
claims a proverb of the past
now long forgotten
perhaps because the end induces fear
even if proverbs never adhere
to a single phrase
for a whole life.
And so the once unshaven man
was once a groom
planet in an orbit from another sphere
(even if he thought he was the sun)
lover of proverbs -
Enormous Error -
because he never thought to hide
secrets from his tongue
forgetting, proverbial groom,
how the smallest deviations
change the turning of a sphere
hence the folds of time,
so that suddenly he finds himself
with his back against the steel door
facing the firing fragments of a trigger-happy bride
in another world fully intact
but in this one unjustly treated
since even proverbs claim
there never was a goddess of the just
and language draws every single twist,
threshold, and story from its own end.
Like the event that suddenly gives
a full stop to our life
the bride with her bullets
makes the whole world her target
since, without god, her own world had always
been duly indebted to a groom
and now this had to end
before the echo of a bullet

slow to come to a conclusion
caught her unprotected,
a bride without a veil,
slipping through the other door
of silence in a whirl.
And if just now she would slip
into a sphere, foreign, dark, not here
she’d know her target had been hit
even if she lived for a single phrase
a proverb now long forgotten -
perhaps because the end induces fear -
a bride without a thought for memory
intractable, carving bullet spheres from fate,
and a groom immobile in the end
waiting for his morning shave.

The Dream of Odysseus Crusoe

They are busy staging my drowning. The cameras have already
filmed whatever casualties the sea will dredge. We sit around
and smoke, waiting, like unemployed Albanians. Penelope,
Telemachus, Friday – an all-saints calendar of natives. We place
bets on the dilemma: Who will play the chorus? The suitors or
the cannibals? At least, I know I will be recognized by the dog.
An island all over me, this scar. A criminal wanted by the
winds. The bow will rest next to the calendar. To be
shipwrecked means to miss the target.


Only a saint would wake
In a shawl of tears
Or possibly a child
Betrayed by the coldness
Of an unbearable dream
To face the mystery
Of yet another life’s morning
For waking means
Either bliss or terror
Depending on the reality
Of dreams
Or whether dreams fail
To bear real pain
Or pleasure of discovering
Again the arms of a beloved
Otherwise morning means loss
In real time regained
Or love in dreamtime lost
So sounds of life

Either become themselves
Or break the stillness of the future
So even the child who wakes
Again without a mother
Can bathe
Ιn a shall of tears.


Fulbright-Hays for doctoral research in Athens (1989)
National Endowment for the Humanities (2002)
International Prize in the 4 ο Poetry Festival, Sapanca, Turkey (2004)
Board of Supervisors of the English Institute, Harvard University (2006-2009)
President of the Modern Greek Studies Association (2006-2012)
Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University
Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award (2015)
Finalist in the 5 th International Flash Fiction Competition, Fundación César Egido
Serrano, Museo de la Palabra, Madrid, Spain (2019)
John Simon Guggenheim Award (2023)

E-mail:  ssg93@columbia.edu
Website:  http://stathisgourgouris.com/