Constantine P. Cavafy, Constantine P. Cavafy poetry, Secular or Eclectic, Secular or Eclectic poetry,  poetry,  poetry,  poetry Constantine P. Cavafy
Egypt (1863 - 1933) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

Poems by Constantine P. Cavafy
Books - Links

Constantine P. Cavafy was born in Alexandria, Egypt to parents who were culturally Greek and originally from Constantinople (Istanbul). Constantine was the youngest of nine children. Constantine was still a boy when his father died, leaving the family's business of international trade in a precarious position. The family relocated to England to shore up the business, now run by Constantine's oldest brother, but it eventually failed.

Constantine spent his early teenage years in London and was greatly influenced by English literature and poetry. Though later, as a young man, he would renounce his British citizenship in protest to British imperial actions in Egypt.

Due to financial struggles, the family moved several times when Constantine was in his late teens, living with family in Alexandria and Constantinople. It was during this time that Cavafy began to compose poetry, writing in English, French, and Greek. He returned to Alexandria in his early 20s, becoming a correspondent for an Alexandrian newspaper and later working for the local government in it public works department, a position he held for thirty years. He supplemented his income with careful investments and occasional gambling.

He is generally thought to have lived a quiet and routine life, with stable work and no great social activity. He was a homosexual, having had only two known love affairs.

Cavafy maintained several literary correspondences throughout his life, including a twenty year correspondence with the writer E. M. Forster.

During his lifetime, Cavafy never published his poetry for sale to the public. Instead, he sent pamphlets of his poems to friends and fellow writers. Although he came to be recognized as a great poet among Greek communities, it was only in the few years before his death that he began to gain notoriety in the rest of the world, particularly for his best-known poem, "Ithaca."

Cavafy died from throat cancer in 1933. It is said that his last action was to draw a circle with a dot at its center on a piece of paper.

Poems by Constantine P. Cavafy

Recommended Books: Constantine P. Cavafy

This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems The Complete Poems of Cavafy: Expanded Edition Cavafy's Alexandria Cavafy: A Biography

Related Links

Constantine P. Cavafy

A very brief biography and several poems in both English and in the original Greek.

ITHAKA - A Tribute to Constantine P. Cavafy

Several links to articles and other Cavafy material, including a detailed biography.
Constantine P. Cavafy