The Collected Poems of Odysseus Elytis

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JHU Press, Nov 17, 2004 - Fiction - 715 pages
3 Reviews

In awarding Odysseus Elytis the 1979 Nobel Prize in literature, the Swedish Academy praised him "for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clearsightedness modern man's struggle for freedom and creativeness." Throughout his long career as a poet, Elytis (1911–1996) remained true to his vision of a poetry that addresses the power of language and connects the history and mythology of Greece to the physical world and to the realities of the modern age. Renowned for their astonishing lyricism and profound optimism, Elytis's poems capture the natural wonders of Greece and give voice to the contemporary Greek—and to a more universally human—consciousness.

Originally published in 1997, The Collected Poems of Odysseus Elytis, translated into English by Jeffrey Carson and Nikos Sarris, was the first complete collection of Elytis's poems in any language. Included in this landmark volume were Elytis's early poems, influenced in equal parts by surrealism and the natural world; Song Heroic and Mourning for the Lost Second Lieutenant of the Albanian Campaign, his epic poem connecting Greece's—and his own—Second World War experience to the myth of the eternal Greek hero; his most ambitious work, The Axion Esti; and his mature poetry, from Maria Nephele to West of Sorrow.

For this expanded new edition, Carson and Sarris have added sixty free verse and prose poems first published in Greek in the posthumous 1998 volume From Close By, as well as a set of song lyrics, The Rhos of Eros, and a cantata, The Sovereign Sun, previously omitted. All have been translated with the same care and elegance as the rest of Elytis's oeuvre, brilliantly rendering into English the Greek poet's lyrical voice and the richness of his diction.

 

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COLL POEMS OF ODYSSEUS ELYTIS

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The work of 1979 Nobel Prize winner Elytis (1911-96) has the quality of a cathedral or epic--vast in scope yet richly decorated. This excellent "complete" collected edition (it omits unpublished poems ... Read full review

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Elytis' poetry is pure magic, it makes your soul flood with emotions and memories. The translation, however, is so terrible, that it distorts the meanings of the poems and twists Elytis' word; I'm sure an automatic translator would do a better job than this.

Contents

TranslatorsNote
xv
Of the Aegean
5
Anniversary
18
Helen
33
Ode to Santorini
53
Image of Boeotia
66
Body of XV
76
SONG HEROIC AND MOURNING
105
Ad Libitum
386
Come now my right hand
397
Everything vanishes To each his hour too
413
Entrance
419
With Both Light and Death
431
What One Loves
439
Spotlight ii
447
To Anoint the Repast
498

THE AXION ESTI
119
The Passion
135
Still very young I came to know
142
A solitary swallow
148
The Gloria
179
Axion Esti the wolfs muzzle
188
The Autopsy
195
The Other Noah
203
THE LIGHTTREE
205
From the Front
271
Death and Resurrection
277
Commonly
283
The Revelation
303
TheWaterdrop
309
The Garden Sees
371
The Almond of the World
379
THE ELEGIES OF JUTTING ROCK
509
WEST OF SORROW
539
From Close By
557
Be princely before your time
563
No matter what you do
569
In the sport of five hardships
575
THERHOSOFEROS
593
Cats
637
The Two Paradises
643
Whatever Fate Has Written
649
Open Papers
675
Chronology of the Life of Odysseus Elytis
687
Nobel Address
693
Selected and Annotated Bibliography
699
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Odysseus Elytis was born Odysseus Alepoudhelis on Crete in 1911. His first collection of poems, Orientations, was published in 1939, and he wrote and published poetry until his death in 1996. Jeffrey Carson lives on Paros where he teaches at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts. Nikos Sarros also lives on Paros.

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