Dead Reckoning – Land

Thursday, 08 October 2020 00:00

Part 1 of poetry issues #24 is a combination of a poem ("Dead Reckoning") and a visual artwork ("Land") commissioned for the commemoration of the crossing of Atlantic by the Mayflower, carrying the Pilgrims (Saints) and other settlers (Strangers). The event is also commemorated in the Netherlands, where the Pilgrims spent the last twelve years before the journey. The works are exhibited this month in a group exhibition in BpluC in Leiden (Nieuwstraat 4, now and until 31 December).  


poem and visual artwork


  You can read more about the poetry issues project here.



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Seasons (het jaar rond)

Thursday, 03 October 2019 00:00

I am happy to announce that the poem "Seasons (het jaar rond)" that Alida van Leeuwen and I wrote in collaboration has been published in the newspaper LisserNieuws on October 1st. "Seasons (het jaar rond)" is a two languages experiment, and the result is quite interesting. Here is the poem (without the spelling mistake that appears in the paper):


Seasons (het jaar rond) - Duo dicht Maria Exarchou/Alida van Leeuwen

It starts in winter as a distracting recollection
of poppy red dispersing in the late afternoon sun.

Ik voel de eerste zonnestralen
zie zonnig geel en vurend rood
en spring vol vreugde de lente in

Riding the tip of the rainbow I shed my old skin
freed by the explosion of purple in the meadows.

De warme kleuren van de zomerse zon
geven alles een nieuwe tint
Mijn zonnebril beschaduwt de wereld

I don't want this life to end. I find closure in
silver autumn clouds: Like seasons, we'll return.

Een zucht vol winterse geuren
vullen mijn daagse dromen
De temperatuur daalt



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(One more) Exhibition! [updated]

Thursday, 31 January 2019 00:00


The show mentioned below was followed by another one with the same theme, on another location of BplusC, at Stevenshof Library, Trix Terwindtstraat 6 in Leiden. The show began early May (2019) and is on until the 15th of June. Here's an impression:

Leiden 2019




Just like last year, the library of BplusC (Nieuwstraat 4, Leiden) is celebrating poetry with a unique group exhibition. And since it is 350 years from the death of Rembrandt, this is an exhibition in his memory. The show has already started (on the 29th of January) and will be on until the 25th of February.

For now, if you can't visit the library in person to enjoy the works of almost thirty artists, you can read my contribution here:


The Night Watch


A darkness as thick as molasses —

a spoonful of struggles yet to come.


There is humanity in simple gestures,

frailty in men carrying useless guns.


Depth is carved on dancing shadows

a soft light enters within from above.


A kind hand smoothens the contrasts

until a night is not a night after all.


Update: Visiting the show, I was happy to find out that another one of my poems, "Psychographics" from the Poetry Issues project, is also included. Enjoy below a small sample of a beautiful exhibition curated by Alida van Leeuwen:




[At the same time, another exhibition is taking place in The Hague.]


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(Another) Exhibition!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 00:00

Five months ago, I mailed these works to a person I have never seen, to be included in an upcoming mail-art exhibition entitled What Makes You Happy. This group exhibition is taking place now in The Hague and you can read more about it here (.pdf courtesy of Alex Witter).


This is the second time my work is being included in a group exhibition in the Netherlands. The first one was here. I'm looking forward to many more!

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What Makes You Happy

Monday, 13 August 2018 00:00

Poetry Issues has skipped a beat and there is no July-August issue. However, this is for a good reason besides the holiday slack. I was invited by Alex Witter to participate in a mail-art exhibition and I've been busy answering the hard question posed by the theme: "What makes you happy?"




A rare walk-in gem

shutting out the noise.


A meditation as deep

as death, with openings


from where to emerge fearless

and wise. Darkness as peace


for wild, overexposed eyes.




Wild Flowers


They come uninvited.

Pink and purple perseverance.

Hideous unsanctioned seeds

making no plea to the bees.

I let them take over the garden. 

It’s always the stranger

that moves you forward.






I get this funny feeling

that there’s enough air

in my lungs, the certainty

that we will make it.


Brush strokes rushing

past, tangled in your hair

the world, a bonfire simile

lit by midday heat.


If you try breathing

your body simply dares

to ache, making getaway

from its weary myths.




Your Laughter


Not the reserved, polite one

but the one that gushes out

letting your teeth show

thrusting your head back

blocking your breath –


      from wall 

to wall. An echo

fighting dust from dust to dust.


Alex Witter has set up a great inventory of all artists and works participating in this upcoming exhibition, where you'll find amazing work from artists from all over the world.

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Monday, 15 January 2018 00:00

If you happen to be in Leiden from 15 January to 22 February and you are interested in poetry, drop by BplusC, Nieuwstraat 4. The library's theme this month is poetry and there's an exhibition running in its spaces.

I'm happy to report that Poetry Issues has a display case of its own, thanks to Alida van Leeuwen, who noticed and invited my work to the library.


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