Vassilis Zambaras

I was born in Revmatia, Messenias, a tiny mountain village in the southwest corner of Greece and went to the small lumbering and fishing town of Raymond, Washington in the northwest corner of the US at the age of four with my mother in 1948--my father having previously left with my elder brother Chris in 1947. After graduation from high school, I enrolled in the University of Washington School of Journalism, Seattle, Washington but dropped out after a restless freshman year and left for Europe. I spent 1963-1964 travelling in Europe and in Greece and then went to Munich, Germany where I studied German and worked full-time in a brush factory until getting drafted into the US Army in May of 1965. Most of my military duty was spent in Albuquerque, New Mexico and when I was discharged, I completed my sophomore year at Grays Harbor College, Aberdeen, Washington, transferring to the University of Washington in the Fall of 1968, where I received an MA in English in 1972. In the summer of 1970 I was Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich Poetry Fellow at The Writers' Conference in The Rocky Mountains; in the same year, I joined with two other poets and founded the literary magazine Madrona, which evolved into one of the more seminal literary magazines in the Pacific Northwest before finally sputtering out in the late 70s. I also spent eight months working as Project Manager for Seattle Housing Authority’s Neighborhood House Tutoring before deciding once more to return to Greece in 1972. I have been living here ever since—except for brief visits back to the Northwest in 1975-76 (night desk clerk at the Morrison Hotel in Seattle) and the summers of 1993 and 1999. I married Eleni--who is also from my village--in 1980 and we have a daughter, Efiniki, 25, who teaches ESL in our school during the week and sings professionally in the state capital of Kalamata on weekends, and a son, Anastasios, 23, who is a senior majoring in Tourist Studies at the Patras Institute of Technology.
Since 1977, I have been teaching English as a Second Language in the language school I founded in Meligalas (population 2500), a small inland town about 10 miles from my home village of Revmatia, and have been writing poetry (in English) for the past thirty years. My poems have been published in various literary magazines such as Chiron Review, CLWN WAR, Edge (New Zealand), First Intensity, Kater Murr’s Press (UK), Klinamen (Greece) Longhouse, Madrona, Maverick Magazine, Mobius, Noon (Japan), Poetry Greece, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria), Shearsman (UK), Smoot Drive Press, The Falcon, The London Magazine (UK), The Rialto (UK), The Salt River Review, The Southeastern Review (Greece), Southern Poetry Review, Text, West Coast Review (Canada), Workshop, Wisconsin Review. Some of my poems were also included in the anthology How The Net Is Gripped: a selection of contemporary American Poetry (Stride, UK, 1992), and I have two small collections of poetry, Sentences (Querencia Books, 1976), and Aural (Singing Horse Press, 1984), as well as an unpublished third collection, The Intricate Evasions of As, which contains poetry written over the last 30 years.
I have recently been writing poetry in Greek and in 2003 received an Honorable Mention in the Third Annual Panhellenic Poetry Competition sponsored by the newspaper Odos Arkadias. In 2004 one of my poems received Second Prize in the Panhellenic Poetry Competition “Agapineia” sponsored by the Municipality of Gargaliani, Messenias and in 2006 another poem of mine received Third Prize in the same competition.