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Constantine Cavafy

Constantine Cavafy (Konstantinos Kavafis) was born in Alexandria to Greek parents in 1863 and began writing poetry at age 19. It wasn't until much later, as a result of the exposure given to him in the novelist E.M. Forster's celebrated guidebook to Alexandria that Cavafy came to be regarded as the most accomplished Greek poet of our age. Cavafy's poems—including "God Abandons Antony," and, most famously, "The City"—are suffused with melancholy, and with a sense of his alienation from the society around him. Ironically, considering his rejection during his lifetime, they give such a strong evocation of place that they define the cultural memory of Alexandria in his time. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis left a request that Cavafy's poem "Ithaka," which describes life's beauty being in the journey and not in the destination, be read at her funeral.

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