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The naked truth

Greek Australian poet, writer and performer Koraly Dimitriadis brings honesty back to poetry - one word at a time

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L-R: Ben John Smith and Koraly Dimitriadis. Photo: PAXAR studios.

01 August 2012

Greek Australian poet Koraly Dimitriadis doesn't mince words. Her work Love and Fuck Poems has propelled her into the literary world. The work itself was born with her need to speak the truth and live a more honest life; a far cry from her early years.
Koraly did everything that she thought was expected of her as a young Greek Australian woman. As she says, she went to university to study a safe accounting course, married young and lived up to her family's expectations; but all in all, Koraly didn't feel she was being honest with herself.
"I love my Greek culture," the poet says, "I love being Greek but it's about following the trajectory that our parents want us to follow; and all my life I didn't feel like I was very honest with myself."
It was after her marriage break-up that the writer couldn't deny the truth inside her anymore. Her writing was her outlet and it was the vehicle for honest observations of her life.
The 33-year-old confesses that she is unable to operate on any other level. Her honesty is what resonates with her readers, who through her work, explore an unabashed view of sexuality as a repressed woman in the Greek culture.
"It's about being honest with myself, putting my art out there and saying I don't want to speak for women in my culture. But I want to also give a voice to women within my culture to say it's okay to be honest; it's okay to be different; it's okay to want to explore your sexuality. Because of course within our culture as women we aren't encouraged to do that, but men are."
When Koraly first published Love and Fuck Poems she had no idea the impact it would have on Australian and international audiences. The book has sold over 500 copies and is in 20 bookstores here in Australia and also in the US. She wrote it in under three months and admits she didn't have the time to put a lot of thought into it, as if the anthology was like an experiment for her that really took off. And now, with its popularity, the writer has been encouraged to give it a 'face-lift' and is currently working with Ilura Press to recreate Love and Fuck Poems: the deluxe edition that will be launched later this year.
And now, Koraly is about to take on playboy from the 'burbs and fellow poet Ben John Smith in a fight of words at Polyester next month; an official poetry war.
Koraly first came across the Ben when she saw him reading and was captivated by his honesty towards sex and his openness when discussing relationships through words. She approached the poet to not only launch her first venture into sex poetry with Love and Fuck Poems, but invited him to perform alongside her. What happened was a dialogue of words giving each others' work a whole other layer as they create a battle of the sexes through poetry. Now, this has become an ongoing war between the two.
"What's important to us is to use the literature and the words and to be honest in our writing.
"We don't have any bars with our words and we say whatever we feel," she explains of the poetry wars.
At this year's Antipodes Writers Festival, the poet says she was felt completely embraced by the Greek culture which means the world to this writer who still doesn't talk about her writing with her own family as she says it can be "too painful".
"It's strange because I have spent my whole life not being honest with myself that now it is so liberating.
"When you've spent an entire life repressed, it's liberating and I don't care."
Truth, honesty - the Koraly way.
Koraly Dimitriadis will face off against Ben John Smith in a word-for-word; poem-for-poem all out battle on Friday 3 August at Polyester Bookstore, 330 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. For more information visit www.facebook.com/KoralyDimitriadis

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