The Selected Poems of Cavafy, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


C. P. Cavafy is one of the most singular and poignant voices of twentieth-century European poetry, conjuring a magical interior world through lyrical evocations of remembered passions, imagined monologues and dramatic retellings of his native Alexandria's ancient past.

Figures from antiquity speak with telling interruptions from the author in such poems as "Anna Comnena" and "You did not understand", while precise moments of history are seen with a sense of foreboding, as in "Ides of March", "The God Abandoning Antony" and "Nero's Deadline". And in poems that draw on his own life and surroundings, Cavafy recalls illicit trysts or glimpses of beautiful young men in "One Night", "I have gazed so much" and "The Cafe Entrance", and creates exquisite miniatures of everyday life in "An Old Man" and "Of the Shop".

This title is winner of the prestigious Harold Morton Landon Translation Award 2009.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Poetry by individual poets
  • ISBN: 9780141185613



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There are some beautiful reflective poems here, including well-known ones, such as Ithaca, Waiting for the Barbarians and The God abandoning Anthony. These and others are about the Greek, Roman or Alexandrian ancient past, real or imagined. However, the imagined epitaphs to lost ancient youths lose their charm from over use.There are also poems about Alexandria at the turn of the 20th century, all with a yearning and longing for the past which is not sentimental. My favourite of these is An Old Man.Finally, there are many about beautiful youths and forbidden passions, which are too repetitive for my taste.

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