Constantine P. Cavafy, one of the greater Greek poets and responsible for the revival and recognition of Greek poetry abroad, was born and died on April 29. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1863. His parents were from Constantinople, current Istanbul. Cavafy was very proud of his origin and his eminent ancestors.
The value of his work is unique and becomes increasingly rich as years go by. His poetry is well-known for a unique combination of verbal and dramatic irony, the so-called “Cavafian irony.” The main themes of his work was the psychology of individuals, homosexuality and existential issues while he was widely using historic elements. His poems were mainly inspired by the Hellenistic era, Alexandria, Helleno-romaic antiquity and the Byzantine era. Some of his most important poets are “Waiting for the Barbarians” and “Ithaca.”
Cavafy has an important place in the European and international literary scene and many of his poems have been translated in French, English and German. However, his poetry remained unrecognized in Greece until after the publication of his first anthology in 1935. Two additional reprints followed after 1948.
Cavafy had classified his poems into three categories: historical, philosophical and sensual. He was a perfectionist and would work persistently on every verse, even for years.
He died from lung cancer on April, 29, 1933, in Alexandria.