BIOGRAPHY 1 (For the first poetry collection "Manthraspenta", 1977):
"I am the child of earth and starry sky"*
*Verse from the following Orphic poem:
You shall find to the left of Hades a spring;
near it stands a white cypress tree;
that spring do not approach.
You shall find a second spring that comes from the Lake of Mnemosene
pouring cold water; guards are standing in front of it.
Tell them: "I am the child of earth and starry sky;
therefore my generation is heavenly; you know this too.
The thirst is burning me and I’m lost; but let me quench my thirst with the cold water
that comes from the Lake of Mnemosene".
Then they shall let you drink from the divine spring,
and then you shall rule with the other heroes.
1. The spring from which no one must drink is the Spring of Lethe. The white cypress tree symbolises the frozen water that does not run, does not speak, does not give oracles; that is petrified and therefore is the water of stillness, of death and Lethe (Forgetfulness).
2. The "Lake of Mnemosene" (Memory) is most probably the sky-lake.
BIOGRAPHY 2 (used after the publication of the first book):
I don't know when and where I was born. Looking for the healing beauty and the truth that liberates, I found myself on the paths of poetry.
Here I am where Zero bites its own tail
here I am
in the midst of eternity
at its beginning and its end.
There is no issue; I am here; I am always here.
I have written the Song of the Harpists, 2000 years B.C., in Egypt
I have written Odyssey, 800 years B.C., in Greece
I have written Tao Te King, 600 years B.C., in China
I have written Mathnavi i Manavi in the 11th century in Persia
I have written, exiled, in Ravenna, the Comedy that Boccaccio called Divine
I have written The Woman of Zakynthos
The Four Quartets
There is no issue; I am here; I am always here.
BIOGRAPHY 3 (extra):
Yannis Yfantis was born according to his willing in Raina (a valley of Etolia) thousands of years ago. He studied agriculture, cattle-breeding, the arts of hunting* and riding as well as astronomy and weaving.
When he was 22 years old he quit his studies in Law in order to study undiverted the book of the World.
He possesses a car and a motorcycle driving-licence. He speaks Greek and enough English. He recites Lorca in the original and knows the names of the principal things in the principal languages. His work "Archetypes" (syntheses of photographs, drawings and manuscript poetry) is a substitute for his unfulfilled desire to make films. His friends afford him the essentials for his living.
* Since his seventeenth year he transformed into a fanatic friend of animals; he remained, however, in any other case, an excellent marksman.
BIOGRAPHY 4 (full bio-bibliography):
Yannis Yfantis was born in Raina, a valley of Etolia. After living for 32 years in Thessaloniki, he has returned lately to his place of origin. He now shares his time between Raina of Agrinion and Pelasgikon of Lefkas island. He studied Law at Aristotle University, where he also attended classes on Philosophy, Archaeology and Astronomy.
He has contributed to the Greek newspapers "To Vima", "Ta Nea", "Eleftherotypia" and others, as well as to some foreign newspapers as "El Shark el Aoussand" , "Il sole 24 ore", "Le journal des poètes, etc.
He has also contributed to almost all Greek magazines and some foreign ones as "Temenos", "Pacific Quarterly", "Foot Print", "Aegean Review", "Nostraya Literatura", "Hora de Poesia", "Ibda", "Sapriphage", "Orpheus" and "Lettre Internationale" of Sofia, "Beneen", "Ecriture", "Journal of Literature and Aesthetics" etc.
He broadcasted for two years in the National Radio of Thessaloniki the programmes entitled: "Greek and international poetry" and "In reality, the issue is one".
He was also invited to give lectures about his poetic and visual work as well as about Rimbaud, Seferis, Ritsos, Elytis, Kavafis, Kazantzakis and Kavadias in many High Schools and Universities in Greece.
Works: Manthraspenta (poems, 1977), Mystics of the Orient (an anthology of Sufi, Hinduist, Taoist and Zen poets, 1980), Elder Edda (a translation, 1983), The Mirror of Proteus (poems, 1986), Signs of Immortal Memory (poetical and philosophical essays about Oedipus, the Oracle of Delphi, the Cards of Tarot etc., 1987), Poems Embroideries on Devil’s Skin (poems, 1988), Temple of Cosmos, (poems, 1996), Ever-living Fire(a documentary of Christos Aronis, with the poet and his daughter Ariadni in the first roles, 1997) The Garden of Poetry, (4.000 years of foreign poetry, 2000), Archetypes(containing compositions of photos, drawings and manuscript poems, 2001), The Erotic Rooster (love poems of Y.Y. and love paintings of Giorgos Stathopoulos, 2002), The Ideogram of the Snake (legends and their meaning, dreams and their meaning, real stories, articles, speeches, reviews, text-messages, etc., 2003), Love Unconquered in the Fight (love poems, 2004), Masks of Nothing, (poems, a book of clay, made by Marie-José Armando, 2005), The transformations of Zero (all his poetry collections in one volume, published for personal use only, AH publications, 2009), Yannis Yfantis recites Yfantis (a CD with a 73-minute poetry-recital, Lyra, 2009), Under the icon of the stars (Masks of Nothing) (poems, Ikaros, 2013), At the shores of Homer (3.000 years of Greek poetry) (forthcoming publication).
Many of his poems have been translated in English, French, Bulgarian, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and recently in Arabic, Chinese, German, Finnish, Hebrew, Serbian, Slav-Macedonian and Persian.
Some of his poems have been set to music by the English musician Ivan Moody. He set some of his poems to music himself, as well as one poem of Solon, and poems of Sufi, Indian and Zen poets.
He designed the cover for Kazantzakis’s “Asketiki” in the Finnish edition. (“Askeesi”, Unio Mystika edns., 1997, Helsinki).
Books of his have been published in Italian, French, Bulgarian and Spanish. One of his books is now being prepared for publication in English.
PS1. He has been invited to present his work in several festivals abroad (Egypt, France, Finland, Cyprus, Germany, Bulgaria, Algeria, Persia etc.).
Although he believes that books are made by themselves, he received, unexpectedly, for them, the Cavafis Prize for 1995 in Alexandria of Egypt.
In November 2003 he has been invited by the Bavarian Ministry of Culture, for three months, to Feldafing, near the lake Starnbergersee.
PS2: Perhaps he is the only one from his generation who has never been awarded a state literature prize, or an Academia prize. He has never even been a nominee.
* Yannis Yfantis never considered literary awards as something that could honour him. Who can be honoured by the untalented public-relationists, the pitiful servants of antimeritocracy? (Honour is given by those who have it, to those who are worthy of it). However, due to his constantly difficult financial situation, the awards did have an important value to him; only due to the considerable amounts of money which accompany them. Therefore, Yannis Yfantis, regards as perfect and moving the act of the Ministry of Culture, which, during December 2017 (headed at the time by the excellent Lydia Koniordou) awarded him with an honorary literary pension, for “his contribution to Letters and Arts”.