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Extraordinary Renditions

Extraordinary Renditions

By Niki Lambros

The voices in Extraordinary Renditions come from the deep past when war began; and span the centuries to the present moment, with war still raging around the globe. We hear the ancient story of how violent killers became heroes and then saints, how the picture of torture became an icon to be venerated-- salvation achieved through the instruments of pain and death. The Greek word “martyr” means “witness”; in these poems the voices of victims speak in their own words, the disappeared and nameless dead tell their stories. Many of the poems relate speech directly from news sources, and recreate context to amplify those words so they can be heard and remembered. Each reading reveals new layers of meaning, echoes and soundings that will linger in the ear and raise a call to action against injustice, hatred and fear. As the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky said, “Poetry is ... the only form of moral insurance that a society has.”


Guernica Editions (Essential Poets Series)


65 pages |

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here is something theatrical about Niki Lambros’s Extraordinary Renditions. In the theatre of war, the play is long and unchanging. This first collection explores military conflict as a manifestation of evil. Her preoccupation ranges from the mythical, as in “The Brazen Bull” (about that most eloquently horrid of torture instruments), to the cultural, in a retelling of The Exorcist, to our contemporary bloodbaths, and to the personal.

Montreal Review of Books

There are some places so dark that even the best journalism cannot render them fully, only poetry can take you there. But how to speak the unspeakable? In this courageous collection Niki Lambros takes up that task and gives us an unflinching rendition of the agonies inflicted, the prices paid, the souls unmade, in our dirty wars. Drawing on her knowledge of both classical and theological writing, of myths and martyrologies, she brings their ancient language and insight to bear on what we are doing now, and opens out the heart of our present darkness. These are indeed extraordinary renditions.

Revd Dr Malcolm Guite

“I have met the enemy, he is not fictional. / He is the ugliness staring back from the mirror.” These poems are searing, flensing in their truth seeking; they are as unsettling as Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony,” as rife with cosmic irony as Cavafy’s Waiting for the Barbarians.

Mary di Michele

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About the author

Niki Lambros was born in New York, NY, immigrated to Canada after the 9/11 attacks and became a citizen in 2011. She holds a BA in English Literature from Bard College, an MA in Theology, and an MA in Creative Writing from Concordia University, where she is presently working on a PhD in Poetry and Translation. After expatriating to Greece in 1987, she became a Greek Orthodox monastic residing in Greece, Jerusalem, and South Korea, resigning the order in 2000. She relinquished US citizenship in 2014 and lives in Montreal. Extraordinary Renditions is her first collection of poetry.