Kostas Krystallis

Kostas Kroustallis was born in Syrrako, Epirus in 1868 where he lived until the age of 12. In 1880 he enrolled to Zosimaia School in Ioannina and in 1887 he published the poem “The Shadow of Hades” with references to the episodes of the Revolution in 1821. He was prosecuted for this reason by the Ottoman authorities and had to run to Athens as the Ottoman Court condemned him to exile in absentia.

In Athens he changed his name to Krystallis and started working in a printing shop while at the same times he published poems. His hard life caused him to get tuberculosis.

He moved to Corfu hoping that his health would improve there, but it worsened and he died on April 22, 1894 in Arta – where his sister lived.

His first poems have an epic style, but as time goes by he starts showing influences from folk songs and popular themes. Apart from poetry his passion was to collect historical and folklore material; customs and traditions, popular songs.

He satirizes Greek political habits, describes wedding traditions and offers detailed information about the clothing of those times. His prose has the style of the 1880 generation; popular language, description of the lifestyle in rural areas, storytelling.

Kostas Krystallis, the “poet of the mountain and of the shepherds”, is not just the first who wrote using the popular language. He may not have lived long but it was enough for him to leave us examples of writings who prove the innate prose writer, a plethoric artist with a taste for descriptions and texts that keep the simplicity but also the wisdom of the popular language.