Born in the village of Kolibari on the island of Crete in 1947, Manolis Aligizakis moved with his family at a young age to Thessaloniki and then to Athens, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences from the Panteion University of Athens.

After graduating from the Panteion Supreme School of Athens, he served in the armed forces for two years and immigrated to Vancouver in 1973, after which he worked in several different jobs over the years. He attended Simon Fraser University for a year taking English Literature in a non-degree program. After working as an iron worker, train laborer, taxi driver, and stock broker, he now lives in White Rock.

Towards the end of 2006 he founded Libros Libertad, an independent publishing company in Surrey, B.C. with the goal of publishing literary books most other companies reject, thus giving voice to people who are not listened to by conventional publishers.

Using the pen name Manolis, Manolis Aligizakis has written novels and numerous books of poetry, as well as articles and short stories in Greek and English. Fellow Greek-Canadian writer Ilya Tourditis has endorsed Nuances by writing, "His canvas, like a Chagall painting, is a blend of moods and well crafted images, reflecting the many nuances of life - nuances that rise above the threshold of primal emotive scenes to where he stands as a poet, observing, contemplating, and arguing for the celebration of love in all its manifestations and connections." Another one of his authors, Luisa Maria Celis, has endorsed Rendition: "This is a vast landscape and the music in the words carries you to distant places with unassuming honesty."

Manolis Aligizakis, the owner and an author of Libros Libertad, won the FIRST POETRY PRIZE for 2017 awarded by the Mihai Eminescu Academy in Craiova, Romania. The Academy gives First and Second Poetry Prize awards during an annual literary festival that usually lasts about a week. Manolis Aligizakis received the First Poetry Prize for the year 2017.

The Circle (Libros Libertad, 2011) is a novel based on the war in Iraq, told from the point of view of Iraqi citizens whose family members were killed and property destroyed, and who ultimately turn to their 'liberator / aggressor' for opportunity.

According to The Surrey Now newspaper in August of 2011, The Circle was conceived shortly after the beginning of the war in Iraq: "It's a look at war from the point of view of the citizen - what happens to him once the bombs stop falling," Manolis told Surrey Now. Young, orphaned Iraqi men are brought to the U.S. to be educated, as sort of atonement for the horrors of war. There, the young men find their anger and emotional scars festering into hatred, focused on that which their former occupiers most value: money. That kind of deep-set hatred for a past national foe is something Manolis knows firsthand. He explained that growing up in Greece, children were taught to hate the Turks, their former occupiers. "When a child hears this again and again, you carry it inside you no matter what benign form it might be in, and it comes out eventually." For him, it was when he drove a cab in Vancouver back in the 1980s. Manolis said he picked up a fare who asked where he was from, and in return he asked the passenger his country of origin. When the man answered Turkey, Manolis said the intensity of his reaction to the man shocked him, especially as he was in his 30s and an otherwise mature, rational person. Nothing passed between the two men, but it did inspire a story that was published in a Greek magazine, and it later served again as context for The Circle.

As a follow-up to his translations for Yannis Ritsos-Poems, a panorama of the Greek poet's work from the mid-1930s to the 1980s, White Rock publisher and poet Manolis translated Cavafy: Selected Poems (Ekstasis $22.95). The England-trained Greek poet Constantine Cavafy died in his birthplace of Alexandria in 1933, at age seventy. An associate of E.M. Forster, he lived mainly in Egypt, with his mother, until she died in 1899. Generally assumed to be a homosexual, Cavafy was uncelebrated in Greece until after his death. A film about his life was made in 1996.

Three Manolis poems from the bilingual book Nostos and Algos were awarded the first poetry prize in the 7th poetry competition of Volos, organized by the International Arts Academy of Greece, in 2012.

Manolis Aligizakis' translations for George Seferis-Collected Poems (Libros Libertad 2012) received the 1st International Poetry Prize from The International Academy for the Arts. The Academy also awarded him an honorary "Masters in Literature.";

Manolis' bilingual (English/Greek) reverie about his own spiritual journal in √?bermensch (Ekstasis 2013) is a work inspired by the concept of the Superman posited by Friedrich Nietzsche in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. According to publicity materials: "√?bermensch is a reverie in the best traditions of poetry, a poetic sacrament from which the taste of language rises like honey oozing in the ear. Nietzsche believed that we are capable of being better than we are, possessing more understanding, more compassion, greater wisdom and more awareness which allows humanism to fill the void left by the absence of God. As Virgil led Dante on his midlife journey, the √?bermensch is our guide through modernity. Manolis has extended his range, celebrating the magnetic possibilities of the self in a narrative that takes us on an intellectual and spiritual journey. The poems possess a vitality of sensuous music in a sea of thought, kinetic and direct, imbued by rational compassion and mystic clarity. √?bermensch is presented in a bilingual edition with Greek en face."

Manolis translated the works of Greek poets Cloe Koutsouelis, born in Salonika in 1962, and Alexandra Bakonika, born in Thessalonika in 1951, for Cloe and Alexandra (Libros 2013). That same year he had two books of his own poetry published in Greek, in Greece.

In 2014, Manolis's translation for George Seferis-Collected Poems (Libros Libertad, 2012) became a finalist (shortlisted) in the Greek National Literary Awards Competition in the translation category. The Greek National Literary Awards are the highest level of literary recognition in Greece, equivalent to the Governor General's Awards in Canada. Meanwhile Manolis' bilingual (English/Greek) reverie about his own spiritual journal in √?bermensch (Ekstasis 2013) was translated into German and published by Windrose publishers in Austria.

Manolis' 2014, Autumn Leaves, was inspired by the French song of the same name. It is about longing and desire. A sense of the transition from summer to winter permeates the poems.

The prolific poet and publisher announced perhaps his most extraordindary book to date in January of 2015--a facsimile of his handwritten version of Erotokritos, a romantic-epic poem composed by Vitzentzos Kornaros of Crete, a contemporary of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes.

The text consists of 10012 fifteen syllable rhyming verses by Kornaros (March 29, 1553 - 1613/1614) that Manolis hand-copied in 1958 at the age of 11.

Erotokritos by Vitzentzos Kornaros and Erophile by Georgios Hortatzis, written around the same period, constitute the Renaissance of Greek literature. They are also considered the most important works of Cretan literature--"the backbone of Cretan literature," according to Manolis--and are the poems upon which future poets relied, referred to and drew images from.

Announced on his website for Libros Libertad press in January of 2015, this unusual publishing venture will constitute a limited print run of 100 copies, each to be autographed and dedicated by Manolis, for $5,000 per copy.

The original handwritten version of the text was created in the summer of 1958 after his family moved from the suburb of Peristeri in Athens to Hagios Fanourios where his father managed to build their first family home in the north part of the suburb Ilion. "During that summer my father brought home a copy of the most famous poem Erotokritos. I don't remember where my father found the book, yet I remember he said I could read it and then he would return it to its owner. Knowing the difficult financial situation of those days and knowing it was almost impossible for us to buy such a book, I read it and day after day, page after page, I copied it.... I used two different colors of pen Bic, for those of us who remember those days."

Almost sixty years later Manolis is publishing his hand-written version of the romantic-epic poem as a handwritten book. Only the final twelve verses of the 10,012 verses of fifteen syllables each in the Cretan dialect refer to the poet Vitzentzos Kornaros. According to Manolis, the central theme is the love between Erotokritos (referred to as Rotokritos or Rokritos) and Aretousa (referred to as Arete). Around this theme, revolve other themes such as honour, friendship, bravery and courage.

In Manolis' Images of Absence (Ekstasis, 2015), according to publicity material, "the microcosm and the macrocosm both blend into the simple images of everyday life that become a mystery into which the poet delves with willingness and humbleness. Yet the poet is afraid that the mystery of these simple everyday images may be violated - disturbed by the phone call of the person just buried day before yesterday, the sacrilegious acts of the cement city people who make dust of every emotion and refinement, by the hierodules and pimps who turn every ideology into a profit thus flattening everything in their path. For the poet everything vanishes, everything flows through his fingers, everything except that smile that is whole, it can't be divided, it can't be analyzed, it is the moment that boils and bubbles.";

Three months after asking her lover to leave, Tzoutzi Matzourani is tormented by his absence. Craziness took hold of them when they were together; now an equal craziness pervades her passionate longing for him to reappear. Her reminiscences and pleadings are addressed directly to him in Hear Me Out: Letters to My Ex-Lover (Libros Libertad 2015 $20), translated by Manolis Aligizakis. The urgency of Matzourani's poetic bereavements reveals how sexual desire can seem like a form of illness, a cruel intoxication. Love lifts us; love debases us. And nothing else matters. Tzoutzi Matzourani lives in Athens; Aligizakis is a publisher in White Rock.

Born during a London air raid in 1940, self-described "warrior-painter" Ken Kirkby migrated from Portugal to northern B.C. and the Arctic as a young man. In 2015, the acclaimed painter joined forces with Manolis, self-described as "the most prolific writer-poet of the Greek diaspora,"; for Chthonian Bodies, a nature-inspired combination of landscape paintings and poetry.

In 2018, at a time when millions are crossing borders to find a better life, the prolific Cretan-Canadian poet and translator Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) of White Rock donned his fiction cap for The Quest (Ekstasis $25.95), a contemporary story of a boy in Romania who yearns to return to his family's home on Crete. Romania is controlled by the Communist Party, so he travels on foot, along through the mountains. When this boy named Pericles finally reaches Greece, he is disillusioned to discover his dreamed-of paradise is controlled by a dictatorship. He makes his way to Crete where everyone is suspicious of strangers and there is a shocking revelation about his grandfather. Undeterred, Pericles must re-orient his youthful idealism. "There was something in the island Pericles had felt from the first time he stepped onto its soil, something like a little craziness, something different from the rest of Hellas. He couldn't name it, but one could easily be afraid of it. There was a Cretan word that described this craziness, the word kouzoulada, something unexplainable. And it was unexplainable to the rest of Hellas but something that meant a lot to the Cretans.";

Simultaneously Manolis released an 817-page translation of the works of sixty modern Greek poets, Neo-Hellene Poets: An Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry, 1750-2018 (Ekstasis/Libros 2018) $55.95 978-1-77171-301-6

BOOKS:

RED IN BLACK (Ekstasis 2019) $24.95 9781771713207. Poetry

THE QUEST (Ekstasis 2018) $25.95 978-1-77171-283-5 Novel.

(MEMORY PLEATS), in Greek, Filntisi Publications, Athens, Greece, 2016

FRUNZE DE TO AMNA, poetry by Manolis, translated to Romanian by Lucia Gorea, Ab-Art, Romania, 2016.

MEMORY PLEATS, poetry by Manolis, translated to Serbian by Jolanka Kovacs, CYBERI Publicatios, Serbia, 2016

THE SECOND ADVENT OF ZEUS, poetry by Manolis, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2016

KARYOTAKIS-POLYDOURI//THE TRAGIC LOVE STORY, poetry by Kostas Karyotakis and Maria Polydouris, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2016

The Second Advent of Zeus (Ekstasis 2016). Poetry. $23.95 978-1-77171-176-0

Chthonian Bodies (Libros Libertad, 2015) $48.00 978-1926-763422

Erotokritos (Libros Libertad, 2015) $5000.00 9781926763361

Images of Absence (Ekstasis Editions, 2015) $23.95 978-1-77171-089-3

Autumn Leaves (Ekstasis 2014) $23.95 978-1-77171-033-6 / Translated into Romanian by Lucia Gorea and republished in Romanian as Frunze de Toamna, 2016. Translated into Serbian and released with the Serbian title Memory Pleats.

Ubermensch (Ekstasis 2013) $23.95 978-1-897430-97-2 / German translation by Eniko Csekei Thiele, 2013, WINDROSE, Austria.

Nostos and Algos (Ekstasis Editions, 2012) $22.95 978-1-897430-81-1 $22.95 / also Nostos si Algos (Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Dellart Publishers, 2013) translated into Romanian by Lucia Gorea; and translated into Hungarian by Karoly Csiby for Eszmelet [Awareness] (Bratislava, Slovakia: AB-ART Publications, 2014)

Mythography: Paintings by Ken Kirby & Friends, Poetry by Manolis (Libros Libertad, 2012) $30 978-1-926763-21-7

Vortex (Libros Libertad, 2011). Poetry
$18.00 978-1-926763-16-3

Vernal Equinox (Ekstasis Editions, 2011). $21.95 978-1-897430-69-9

The Circle (Libros Libertad, 2011) 9780978182624 $23.00

Opera Bufa (Libros Libertad, 2010) $17.00, 978-1-926763-09-5. A satirical poetry book.

Triptych (Ekstasis Editions, 2010). Poetry

Vespers (Libros Libertad, 2010). Poetry. With art by Ken Kirkby.

Nuances (Ekstasis Editions, 2009). Poetry

Rendition (Libros Libertad, 2009). Poetry.
ISBN: 9780981073590 $14.95

Impulses (Libros Libertad, 2009). Poetry.

Troglodytes (Libros Libertad, 2008). Poetry.

Petros Spathis (Libros Libertad Publishing, 2007). Novel.

El Greco: Domenikos Theotokopoulos (Libros Libertad, 2007). Poetry

Path of Thorns (Libros Libertad, 2006). Poetry

Footprints in Sandstone (Authorhouse, 2006). Poetry

The Orphans: An Anthology (Authorhouse, 2005). Poetry

Stratis Roukounas (Greek language)(Aristidis Mavridis publishing, Athens Greece, 1981). Novel.

AlSO / TRANSLATION

Constantine P. Cafavy - Poems, edited by George Amabile (Libros Libertad, 2008)

Cavafy: Selected Poems (Ekstasis 2011) $22.95
978-1-897430-76-7

George Seferis: Collected Poems (Libros Libertad, 2012)

Cloe and Alexandra (Libros 2013). Translated by Manolis.

Yannis Ritsos: Poems (Libros Libertad 2010; Ekstasis 2013)

Idolaters (Libros 2014) Translated by Manolis. $24.00 978-192-6763347

Tasos Livaditis: Selected Poems (Libros 2014) Translated by Manolis. 978-192-6763354

Erotokritos (Libros 2015) by Vitzentzos Kornaros. $5,000. 978-1-926763-36-1

Caressing Myths (Libros 2015) by Dina Georgantopoulos $20 978-1-926763-37-8

Hear Me Out: Letters to My Ex-Lover (Libros Libertad 2015), by Tzoutzi Matzourani. 978-1-926763-40-8 $20

Hours of the Stars (Libros Libertad 2015) by Dimitris Liantinis $20 978-1-926763-41-5

Kariotakis - Polydouri: The Tragic Love Story by Manolis Aligizakis (Libros Libertad 2016) 978-1926763453 $20

The Medusa Glance (Ekstasis 2017) $24.95 978-1-77171-217-0

Shades and Colors (Libros Libertad 2017) $20 978-1-926-763-49-1

Neo-Hellene Poets: An Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry, 1750-2018 (Ekstasis/Libros 2018) $55.95 978-1-77171-301-6

[BCBW 2018] "Publishing" "Fiction" "Poetry" "Translation"

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Pericles in the 20th century

At a time when millions are crossing borders to find a better life, the prolific Cretan-Canadian poet and translator Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) of White Rock has donned his fiction cap for The Quest (Ekstasis $25.95), a story set in the 1970s of a boy named Pericles in Romania who yearns to return to his family's home on Crete. Romania is controlled by the Communist Party, so he travels on foot through the mountains.
When Pericles finally reaches Greece, he is disillusioned to discover his dreamed-of paradise is controlled by a dictatorship. Pericles then makes his way to Crete where everyone is suspicious of strangers and there is a shocking revelation about his grandfather.

Undeterred, Pericles must re-orient his youthful idealism. "There was something in the island Pericles had felt from the first time he stepped onto its soil, something like a little craziness, something different from the rest of Hellas. He couldn't name it, but one could easily be afraid of it. There was a Cretan word that described this craziness, the word kouzoulada, something unexplainable. And it was unexplainable to the rest of Hellas but something that meant a lot to the Cretans."; 978-1-77171-283-5

[BCBW 2018]

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