Selected Poems

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Dedalus, 1998 - Poetry - 48 pages
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The Dedalus Press series of budget pamphlets presents key works by major voices in world poetry. Constantine Peter Cavafy was born in Alexandria in Egypt in 1963 and died there in 1933, though he lived in English for a number of his early year, an experience which left him with a distinctly English accent and an infatuation with English sartorial style. During his lifetime, Cavafy's poems appeared mostly in small private editions circulated among friends, and generally his importance as a poet went unnoticed until well after his death. Today, however, he is recognised as a major figure in modern European poetry. Originally issued in 1998, the present volume was the first translation of his poetry to be made by an Irish poet. The translator, Desmond O'Grady, while travelling widely, taught for two years at Alexandria University. He has published more than a dozen collections of his own poems, most recently On My Way (Dedalus Press, 2006), while a survey of his work is available in The Road Taken 1956-1996 (1996) and of his volume of poetry in translation, Trawling Tradition 1954-1994 (1994), both from the University of Salzburg Press.

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About the author (1998)

Constantine Cavafy, one of the most prominent Greek poets, was born on April 29, 1863, in Alexandria, Egypt. After his father's death in 1872, Cavafy was taken to England for five years. After living in Istanbul, Cavafy returned to Alexandria, where he spent the rest of his life. In Alexandria, Cavafy worked as a civil servant. When he was 41, Cavafy's first book was privately published. Five years later the book was reissued with an additional seven poems. Cavafy published no other work in his lifetime. Cavafy died in 1933, on his birthday, at the age of 70.

Desmond O'Grady was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1935. He left Ireland during the 1950s to teach and write in Paris, Rome and America. While a teaching fellow at Harvard University, he received a M.A. and Ph.D. in Celtic languages and literatures and comparative studies. He also taught at the American University in Cairo and the University of Alexandria in Egypt. While teaching in Rome, he was a founder member of the European Community of Writers, the European editor of The Transatlantic Review, and played the role of an Irish poet in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita. He published 19 poetry collections including Sing Me Creation, The Road Taken: Poems 1956-1996, and The Wandering Celt. He also published 12 collections of translated poetry including Trawling Tradition 1954-1994, Selected Poems of C. P. Cavafy, The Song of Songs, and Kurdish Poems of Love and Liberty. He died on August 25, 2014 at the age of 78.

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