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Constantine P. Cavafy: The Unfinished Poems

Constantine P. Cavafy: The Unfinished Poems

Transl. by Daniel Mendelsohn. USA 2009, 123 pp., hardbound,  27.95
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The never-before translated »Unfinished Poems« of the great Alexandrian Greek poet Constantine Cavafy, published for the first time in English: when he died in 1933 at the age of 70, C.P. Cavafy left the drafts of 30 poems among his papers - some of them masterly, nearly completed verses, other less finished texts, all accompanied by notes and variants that offer tantalizing glimpses of the poet's sometimes years-long method of rewriting and revision. These poems are historical vignettes of the declines of Alexander's Hellenistic hegemony, imperial Rome, and the Byzantine Empire, and glowing memories, triggered by news items, drink, or moonlight, of decades-old homosexual rapture. Gay desire often informs historical poems, too. They are about ideals and love and how idealists and lovers are confounded by time, the passage of which exposes their follies and ironizes their triumphs.
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