Christoforos Palaisis from Avgorou: Who was the great popular poet

One of the greatest Cypriot folk poets with a great heritage in folk tradition

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Christoforos T. Palaisiis was one of the important popular poets of Cyprus during the period of the British rule. He was born in the village of Avgorou in the province of Famagusta in 1872 and died in July 1949. A child of a large family (he had 6 siblings), he managed with difficulties to graduate from primary school and was unable to attend higher education. He worked from an early age in agricultural pursuits while continuing to read on his own. He himself had a large family (7 children) and for years worked as a laborer on estates. Little by little he began to write verses which he published in small-page printed leaflets that he himself had in various parts of Cyprus. Finally he devoted himself completely to poetry and for many years he traveled all over Cyprus to sell the poetry pamphlets he published.

Autobiographical Poem

Yesterday I was born a baby, yesterday I was young
today I am a man and a brave poet
But I don't know tomorrow if I live to be old
and the life after tomorrow, what way will I spend
March sixty-two on the spine with a number
with poetry I grow old, I do not change the rhythm
I always think and write every new event
about love or murder or anyone's passions
But the world doesn't change, no matter how hard it is
unfortunately it gets worse after being punished
(From the back cover of the old edition of the poem "The death of Irene from love and the suicide of her lover Vassos", Typophis Anagennisis, Nicosia 1967. Publisher Antonis Chr. Palaisis)

See the dramatic work of Christoforos Palaisis "Peace and Vasos" (1983) from the RIK archive by clicking HERE

Well-known throughout the island, as a professional poet, he drew his poetic themes mainly from current events. But he also omitted several poems of social and political content, as well as some relatively long narrative love poems. The erotic element, as well as the social situations of the time, have an important place in the poetry of Palais'is, as also in the creation of most Cypriot folk poets.

Palais's poetry is distinguished for the very good handling of the Cypriot topolalia, as well as for the beautiful poetic images he creates as well as for his narrative ability. Such elements moved his reading and listening public and several of his poems were particularly loved and also moved the masses. But his subject matter also touched his audience, as for example the romantic and moving theme of the poem The death of Irene from love and the suicide of her lover Vassos (1922) which became famous in Cyprus.

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Palaisis (right) with the teacher (in the middle) and other poets of his time

The political developments in Greece and Cyprus, as well as various important events (wars, disasters, theomen, murders, accidents) were the subjects of Palais' topical poetry published in pamphlets. K. G. Giagoullis, in his extensive study Cypriot Folk Poets (ed. Chr. Andreou, volume II, 1983, pp. 462-469) lists more than 80 short-page poetic pamphlets of Palais'is. On the other hand, some books with collections of his poems were published, such as the Collection of various Cypriot poems (Nicosia, 1913), another Collection (Nicosia, 1931) and Ta Liovouttimama (Larnaca, 1946).

That's how you are
Like the moon that has an eternal glow
The other stars, the little stars in the middle
djᾰi fenjĕi s'ullon the tunian that sky the heights
They are getting dark and they are planning to miss him
to stay free to spend long hours
that's how you are close to the other girls.

Despite the fact that during the last two years of his life Palais'is suffered from an illness, he nevertheless continued to write until the end of his life.

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In his tours of towns and villages of the island to sell his poems, he was the hero of many incidents, several of which are still circulating in Cyprus as anecdotes.

From the research of Constantinos Giagoullis in the "Corpus of Cypriot Dialectic Poetic Texts" 1311 love songs of Palaisis have been preserved.

An account called Christophoros Paleshis is maintained on Facebook in which his family posts rich material from the life and work of the great poet.

Research: Famagusta.News