Constantine Cavafy is one of modern Greece’s most
important poets and perhaps the best known and
most translated. He was born and lived in cosmopolitan Alexandria, then – like in Hellenistic times – a crossroads of cultures. He wrote relatively few and short poems, which he worked and reworked with minute care. He used austere means of expression and mostly free verse, far from the conventions of his time, with a deeply personal style and idiosyncratic language, between the scholarly
katharevousa and the demotic. Distinctive features of
his poetry are dramatic style, irony, sensuality and
philosophical contemplation, often inspired by historical figures and events.