Eleni Sikelianos

Eleni Sikelianos

Eleni Sikelianos is the author of a hybrid memoir (The Book of Jon) and six books of poetry, the most recent being Body Clock.  She has been the happy recipient of various awards for her writing and translations, from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Fellowship,  the New York Foundation for the Arts, and The National Poetry Series among others, and her work has been translated into a dozen languages. The Washington Post has called her “no ordinary memoirist,” and the L.A. Times called The California Poem a remarkable poem of near-Homeric proportion and ambition.”

She has collaborated with musicians, visual artists, and performs a role in two films by Ed Bowes.  She grew up in California, and has lived in New York, Paris, Athens (Greece), and now, Boulder, Colorado, where she teaches at the University of Denver, in Naropa’s Summer Writing Program, and for New England College’s Low Residency MFA.

Eleni Sikelianos will perform with Philip Glass and members of YOA: Orchestra of the Americas on Wednesday, Aug 31st. Click here to purchase tickets.

Here is an excerpt from her new work, The California Poem:

I want to tell you about the dream. The California is a paradise lake with colorful animals dream.
The when I go back to my homeland California is a paradise I am happy for you dream

We were going ever so through the dusty eucalyptus the dusty eucalyptus & shadow road in the “opposite of blindness” & “relinquished speech”

The lake is to the left. On one side, a tall Pink bird invented by space and time called

Flamingo, & there, other small & medium birds shiny & loose with pockets of Geryon-ash-gold What can be lit I’ll light that I’ll light that for you dream

a kissing everything good-bye in the ballad’s hide & an eye

of spit […]


away from the dream of California

which is dust & light & dust

being tossed in the white


blanket beside the low white stucco barracks
with roosters between the houses scratching at the dust of light of the dream

from The California Poem, © Eleni Sikelianos, Coffee House Press, 2004