Great Greek Women /Κατερίνα Γώγου (Katerina Gogou):
“Night deep, she mounted her horse with her little one, and hidden well inside her, her sword made of solid gold. When the rooftopes of Here finally appeared, she slayed the horse and they carried on walking, always walking…All those who loved her had their hands cut from the wrist, they used to secretly
count in a child’s way using their fingers. They had no concept of
money, it can’t be explained otherwise. Some old men left behind, with
long hair, famished, were wrapped in flags from unknown lands and shoved
into the earth with no ceremony, dead or alive, a funeral under state
expenses” (via a-hellenic-poetry-blog)
One of the most important poetesses of the 20th century, Katerina Gogou began her career as a starlet in the greek movies of the 50’s, appearing mostly in secondary roles as the vivacious, funny girl. In 1977 she received the award for the leading female role in the comedy Το βαρύ πεπόνι (Heavy mellon) in the Thessaloniki film festival. Her most memorable role however, would be in Παραγγελιά in 1980(Paragelia/Order), a film based on a true crime story commited by Nikos Koemtzis.
Paragelia would establish Katerina Gogou’s iconic image as a subversive poetess, with a unique writing style, and raw feeling. Her poetry expresses the disillusionment of an entire generation of women. As many highlight her anarchist ideals, her feminine voice is usually downplayed. Katerina Gogou came from an era where women’s rights suffered an intense blow under the guise of social and economical advancement. Many country women coming to work in the forming city centers found themselves forced into various forms of prostitution. As more and more women would have to work harassment and rape at the hands of their employers would be a constant reality. Communist women, women with left leanings in general, or women related to others with such an ideology were in particularly vulnerable to sexual assault.
The silver film world of the 50s and 60s, where Gogou began her career and heavily relied on the vibrancy of its female stars, had successfully not only evaded all those topics, but glossed over them when given the chance. In the late 70s, in a world that demanded to discover the open wounds of greek society, Gogou was a first hand witness with an unwavering voice.