Parkville VIC 3010, Australia
Dimitris Tsaloumas left for Australia in 1952 and received there his Bachelor of Arts, the Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne in 1959.
Dimitris Tsaloumas with Antigone Kefala. Photo by Helen Nickas.
Dimitris Tsaloumas' formal education was in Italian, as his birthplace - the island of Leros, one of the Dodecanese islands - was then under Italian rule from 1912 to 1947. His later schooling was on Rhodes, where he also studied the violin. He came of age during the Italian and German occupation of Greece, and took part in the resistance, acting as a courier.
He left for Australia in 1952 and received there his Bachelor of Arts, the Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne in 1959.
Dimitris Tsaloumas published two collections of poetry in Greece, before migrating to Australia. One of those collections was printed with the help of the English writer Lawrence Durrell, who met Tsaloumas on Rhodes and was impressed with his work.
Tsaloumas left for Australia in 1952 because of political persecution and earned a living by teaching. He worked as a secondary school teacher of English and modern languages until his retirement in 1982.
He started writing again (in Greek) and had several volumes published. He became known to English readers when a selection of his Greek poems was published in the bilingual edition "The Observatory" in 1983.
The first poems he wrote entirely in English were published in 1988 in "Falcon Drinking". After that, he published several more volumes of English-language poetry. He often returned to Greece, spending much of his time on Leros. However, he became an Australian writer - although identity politics or the need to belong, the faddish ideologies of the period, never played any significant role in his work.
In addition, four of Tsaloumas' poems, "I Took the Path to the Mountain", "The Foreigner", "The Pomegranate", and "Letters Bearing Bad Tidings", were set to music by the Greek-Australian songwriter Costas Tsicaderis. The latter two were published in 1985 on "Live at The Boite". A studio version of "The Pomegranate" was included on the anthology of Greek Australian songs and music "In a Strange Land". "I Took the Path to the Mountain" and "The Foreigner" are on the album by Irine Vela and Costas Tsicaderis "Greek 3CR".
While regarded as the paradigmatic voice of the poet in exile, more precisely of the Greek diaspora, Tsaloumas perceives himself rather as an Australian-Greek writer. He reflects a classical poetic tradition, presenting a medley of voices, a cast of commentators on modern society. His work transcends the personal and the political and is quite distinct from accounts of migrant experiences which catalogue the minutiae of the struggle for survival.
Dimitris Tsaloumas married Use Wulff in 1958. They had four children, two daughters and two sons.