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Polydouri was born in Kalamata. She was a contemporary of Kostas Karyotakis, with whom she had a desperate but incomplete love affair. Although she wrote poetry from at an early age, her most important poems were written during the last four years of her life, when, suffering from consumption, she was secluded in an Athens sanatorium.
Unintentionally she became a literary legend in early 20th century Athens, and a link between the pre-war poetry of Karyotakis and the post-war poetry of Yiannis Ritsos and Angelos Sikelianos. Her poetry is full of sadness and sincere feelings. Love seems to be the strongest motive for Polydouri whose poems are lyric and spontaneous. Her language seems to be part of an oral conversation with her love interest. K. Sergiopoulos said: Maria Polydouri used to write her poems as if she was writing her personal diary. The transmutation happened automatically and effortlessly. To Polydouri, expression meant straight transcribing from the facts happenning in her emotional world to the poetic language with all the idealizations and exaggerations her romantic nature dictated to her.
Polydouri died of tuberculosis in Athens in 1930.
- The trilles that faint (1928)
- Echo over chaos (1929)