Michael Marks Charitable Trust & CHS Greece

CHS Greece and CHS US, in cooperation with the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, a UK-based foundation, created the Michael Marks Poets in Residence program in 2009. Since then, UK poets who win the "Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets" in London and Edinburgh (a.k.a. the Callum MacDonald Award) have been participating in the "Michael Marks Poets in Residence Program" at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece. As resident poets, they were spending two weeks between historic Nafplio, Olympia, Delphi, and Athens, participating in local cultural activities. From 2014 until 2017, the program was linked with the poetry and translation "Paros Symposium" held every summer in Athens. The scope of the UK poets' participation in the translation symposium was to enhance their opportunities to meet fellow poets and translators from Greece and elsewhere, including the USA, share views and experiences and participate in cultural events.

Starting from 2019, the Poets in Residence Program is re-structured; it liaised with the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA)-CHS "Spring Break in Greece" travel study program, led by Professor Gregory Nagy. The award-winning UK poets arrive in Nafplio in March, where they participate in cultural activities and meet with renowned and aspiring Greek poets. After a few days, they join the HAA - CHS travel study program for a week, and delve into Greece’s unique history, supplementing their explorations with selected readings in translation from Homer, Pausanias, and even some modern texts. Moreover, the awarded poets organize poetry readings and discussions with the rest of the program participants.

Poets' selection and awards

The Michael Marks Charitable Trust every year generously supports its collaborating Institutions, the Wordsworth Trust and the British Library, to organize the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets, in association with the Times Literary Supplement. The Awards are established among the most significant in contemporary poetry. They are designed to raise the profile of poetry pamphlets, recognizing the enormous contribution that they make to the poetry world.

Following the discussions of Gregory Nagy with Lady Marina Marks, as well as with members of the CHS community, Natasha Bershadsky, Lecturer at Harvard's Department of the Classics, and ongoing fellow of the CHS US, has joined the committee of judges of the Michael Marks Awards, as CHS representative, in June 2020.

In 2021, Natasha Bershadsky joined the team of judges for the one-off Greek Bicentennial Pamphlet competition —a tribute to the Bicentennial celebration since the Greek War of Independence— while another CHS Fellow, Manuela Pelegrino, served as a judge for the Poetry and Publishers’ competition, both representing CHS.

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