C. P. Cavafy (Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis) is one of the most important Greek poets since antiquity. He was born, lived, and died in Alexandria (1863–1933), with brief periods spent in England, Constantinople, and Athens. Cavafy set in motion the most powerful modernism in early twentieth-century European poetry, exhibiting simple truths about eroticism, history, and philosophy—an inscrutable triumvirate that informs the Greek language and culture in all their diachrony. The Cavafy Canon plays with the complexities of ironic Socratic thought, suffused with the honesty of unadorned iambic verse.
Based on a fifty-year continuous scholarly and literary interaction with Cavafy’s poetry and its Greek and western European intertexts, John Chioles has produced an authoritative and exceptionally nuanced translation of the complex linguistic registers of Cavafy’s Canon into English.