In Profile: Dimitra Xidous – Keeping Bees
I have been a fan of the work of the brilliant Dimitra Xidous for a few years now and was delighted to attend her book launch in Galway in 2014 and purchase her first collection, released through Doire Press.
As Dimitra is a massive Federico Garcia Lorca fan like myself, it is only obvious I would be attracted to her work and style of writing which is unique among the many books released throughout the year in Ireland. The poetry of Xidous has the potential to drop into my obsessive-collective of Neruda, Lorca, Handal and Simic, so I really look forward to future work from her.
Who is Dimitra Xidous?
Dimitra is a Canadian, hailing from Ottawa. She has Greek parentage and lived there for three years when she was nine. She moved to Dublin Ireland to concentrate on her writing and produce the wonderful book we have here, which according to her, took seven years to get the poems and book up to the standard she wanted.
As well as being the featured poet in the Spring 2014 issue of The Stinging Fly, Dimitra’s work was included in the popular anthology New Planet Cabaret (New Island, 2013) and her work has been published worldwide.
Along with the writer Patrick Chapman, she co-founded and co-edits the brilliant online journal ‘The Pickled Body‘ which is one of my favourite online places to read literature and see amazing art, go check it out. She has also curated The Ash Sessions, a poetry and music showcase at Nick’s Coffee Company, Ranelagh, Dublin but I think that may have ended now.
In a telling and gorgeous essay (link below) by Xidous, she tells of an encounter with a Spanish poet in Madrid where she was residing for a few weeks that led to her been inspired to dedicate more time to her writing that translated into commitment, consistency, and focus, helping her create and finish the book.
The Book ‘Keeping Bees’
The brilliant and striking cover art by Ria Czerniak teases with hints of what’s to come in this collection. There are 43 poems in Keeping Bees that are some of the most lip-smacking, charming, sensual and well-crafted poems you could read. There are not many books I have read over 4-5 times but Keeping Bees is one of them.
Keeping Bees is a book about the body and how powerful the body can be, a book about love or broken love and full of fruit and vegetables even insects; lemons, peaches, figs, cockroaches, cleverly disguised metaphors for body parts, a tongue stuck so far in a cheek you will be left swollen and bruised.
The whole book is a sexually charged, confessional, pleasure-seeking, refreshing and daring collection of honest writing, soulful-erotic, brimming in sharp intimate images.
Xidous celebrates the woman’s body. She celebrates the mans body and how both are equal in love and sex, in everything. But I am no queen/ and the hum/ between my legs/ is no hive; it is/ wilder than that./ My lily boy in heat/ my sweet Morag/ your body could lead/ a horse to water/ so ride me, ride me, ride me
Keeping Bees is a wonderful book of poetry and Xidous is the female version of Neruda, only in-your-face with countless breath-taking lines upon lines, begging you to re-read, sweat and pant, a most impressive, wide-eyed and beautifully written book, one for the obsessive-collective.
Where to Find Dimitra Xidous
Peach Season and Ovum in The Stinging Fly
Animals, With A Lemon for A Tongue That Girl Will Never Love Anyone and Six Pack in The Bohemyth
Essay: Madrid Is (Still) A Woman; Inspiration for ‘Keeping Bees’ on Writing.ie
Go here to read or Submit work The Pickled Body
Her Website http://www.dimitraxidous.com/