What's interesting is that Cavafy
focused on a very decadent period; he lived in Alexandria during a very decadent period, and he chose the Greco-Roman period.
I was reading a lot of Polish writing, and translations of Cavafy
, Apollinaire, Cendrars, Brecht, and beginning to read with understanding (to me, that really meant trying to translate) some contemporary Irish poetry, and some British poets, and Americans, whatever books I could get hold of.
It seems likely that the Alexandrian Greek poet Constantine Cavafy
, whose standards for authoring and publishing his own poems were exacting, would feel that his criteria had been met by Daniel Mendelsohn's translation into English of all of Cavafy
's poems, including the collected and "unfinished" verse.
Another notable event is the premiere of Tribute to Cavafy
, a Symphony Hall commission from Sir John Tavener.
wrote a poem about a clerk who'd waited on him in a store: Thomas Mann fell in love with a waiter in Switzerland.
Then there was the Alexandrian poet, Constantine Cavafy
, for whom Forster did so much in an attempt to bring his poetry to the West.
and Yiannis Ritsos, worked with Ersi Sotiropoulos to produce a brilliant English rendition of this remarkable work.
All these temporary critics have masters degrees with the exception of Merrill, whose reading was nevertheless extensive enough to make his essays on Cavafy
, Dante, Ponge, and Bishop more than exercises in pure appreciation.
They are always, as was once said of the poet Cavafy
, at a slight angle to the universe.
I will close then with two poems by the early 20th-century Greek poet Cavafy
, which speak to the two sides of hiddenness, making a compelling case for each in turn.
RD: As I move deeper into the content of the poem why does the Cavafy
Forster's introduction to the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy
finds two men dealing with similar issues: the disappearance of their social class, constraints of a controlling mother, and reconciliation of their gay identity with a deeper desire to connect.