Nina Karacosta is a Greek actor and poet who was born in Athens, and has lived in London, New York and Paris.
She originally studied physics, and later went on to study theatre and poetry at the Poetry Project in New York. She has acted in New York city and now performs solo theatre pieces in Paris, where she now lives, and around France .
Her work has appeared in many international publications, including: Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry, Ditch, Upstairs at Duroc, UpStart, Tears in the Fence, Core, can can, Shearsman.
Her books Previous Vertigos, Vertiges Précédents, its French translation, and Kaleidograph (a collaborative collection with Anamaria Crowe Serrano) were published by Corrupt press.
Nina has been a poetry editor at Upstairs at Duroc, an anglophone literary magazine based in Paris.
Quarantena is the first of Nina’s poetry collections to be published by Turas Press. It is composed of fifty poems, written during the fifty days of the first Paris lockdown, the national quarantine decreed by the French government from March to May 2020, to limit the spread of the COVID 19 virus, during the early days of the pandemic.
The variety of content and different thematic strands in Quarantena reflect the different pre-occupations that were foregrounded for the poet, at different times and on different days : now shopping, cooking, navigating practical life in the apartment; now the state of mind pressing in, as a result of being within the four walls, where objects become almost animate ; now the awareness of the common plight we are all experiencing, and its roots in unjust systems of society.
Praise for Quarantena
“Nina Karacosta beautifully records the eeriness of lockdown as experienced in a densely populated district of Paris – the bottomless dive into oneself and the weirder depths of the imagination even as you try to keep your sanity, the importance of the prosaic details that structure and prove indispensable to survival, the sense of yourself expanding to fill the emptiness of a whole lost world of human activity.”
Anne Ortiz Talvaz
“Intricacy of the world’s fabric; Nina’s book is a collection of poems which shines fragments of life – a kind of confinement diary, sometimes tender and dreamlike where we are ‘escaping from prison in old American film mode’.”
“In Quarantena, Nina Karacosta’s verse journal of fifty days of lockdown in a ‘city of masks’, the poet’s fine perception is directed onto those things we generally take for granted – shopping trips, recipes, childhood memories, the tree outside the window, the words we use. Under such close scrutiny the everyday acquires a hallucinatory quality, so that ‘the lamp stalks me in the house’. In the disturbing reality of a city under quarantine, identity itself comes under threat, until we all might ask, with Karacosta, ‘is a clown the face seen or the face hidden’?”
“What is it to write as history unfolds around us? How to write when our destination is so unclear? What is poetry in a time of such strange separation? In Quarantena, Nina Karacosta steps into all of this unknowing, to discover ‘the human face has no endpoint’ and that ‘you are inside this now/ and here you are safe.’ Through 50 days of lockdown, she writes through fear, through love, through the everyday rituals of lockdown. Her quarantine includes rice ‘cooked with curry, salt and olive oil/ which really means: I am still free inside.’ This is poetry as solace and as a revolutionary space where we can always resist despair. Quarantena is a deeply felt, gorgeously written collection, straight from the heart (and belly) of poetry – one to turn to again and again through the uncertain days ahead.”