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Tribute to poet Odysseus Elytis

On November 2, 2011 Greece commemorates the 100th anniversary since the birth of poet laureate Odysseus Elytis. To mark the centenary of his birth, 2011 has been designated as Elytis Year by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Odysseus Elytis was born in Heraklion, Crete on November 2, 1911 and died in Athens on March 18, 1996.
A major poet in Greek language, Elytis is also one of the outstanding international figures of 20th-century poetry. Elytis’ poetry has marked, through an active presence of over forty years, a broad spectrum of subjects with a rarefied and passionate stylistic touch. The first collections of poetry (Orientations, 1939, and Sun the First, 1943) are joyous and radiant, celebrating the Greek landscape as an ideal world of sensual enjoyment and moral purity.
His experience of the war in 1940s marks a departure from the sunny atmosphere of his early youth and poetry, colouring his long poem Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of Albania (1943). The attempt of Elytis to identify himself with the nation and speak for himself and also for his country reaches its peak with Axion Esti (‘Worthy It Is,’ 1959), his central and most ambitious work for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature.
His experience of the war in 1940s marks a departure from the sunny atmosphere of his early youth and poetry, colouring his long poem Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of Albania (1943). The attempt of Elytis to identify himself with the nation and speak for himself and also for his country reaches its peak with Axion Esti (‘Worthy It Is,’ 1959), his central and most ambitious work for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Centenary Celebrations
The Athens Concert Hall is paying tribute to Odysseus Elytis by holding a two-day (October 31 to November 1) international conference titled Odysseus Elytis: The 20th century in the poetry of Elytis. The poetry of Elytis in the 21st century, exploring new approaches in the interpretation of his work.
On November 2 and 3, there will be an event of original music by George Kouroupos under the title Odysseus Elytis’ This Small, this Great World!, with poetry and prose set to music, representing the main facets of the work of Odysseus Elytis: lyricism, a restless spirit of inquiry, courage, spirituality, sensation and true emotions. Continue reading

Cavafy Museum Soon in Athens

Konstantinos Kavafis

Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) In less than one year and a half, Athens will boast its own C. P. Cavafy Museum at the tourist Plaka district.The Ministry of Culture has ceded a neoclassical building, which served as the residence of mid-19th-century political leader Ioannis Kolettis.Hellenic Postbank will financially support the endeavour of restoring and remodelling the premises.The museum’s exhibits and material will be based on Thessaloniki University Cavafologist, Professor George Savidis’ (1929-1995) archive. The museum’s establishment and operation will be overseen by the Centre for Neo-Hellenic Studies.The archive of Constantine P. Cavafy was passed over to Alekos Singhopoulos upon the poet’s will the year of his demise (1933).Singhopoulos maintained the archive until 1969, when he sold it to Professor George Savidis.The unusual care with which Cavafy treated Singhopoulos, along with their resemblance, led to the assumption that Singhopoulos might have been the poet’s son. According to another assumption, Singhopoulos was the illegitimate child of the poet’s brother.

C. P. Cavafy : The Cavafy Museum in Alexandria [Photo: Cavafy’s portrait by Jean Kefallinos]

Hellenistic Studies at Library of Alexandria

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The ancient world’s beacon of knowledge, the Library of Alexandria in Egypt – Bibliotheca Alexandrina – has acquired a Centre of Hellenistic Studies which was inaugurated on November 28, and will soon offer a new programme including post-graduate and doctoral courses in Hellenistic studies. The Centre, part of a joint initiative of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and the Vardinoyannis Foundation – will open in the next academic year, with funding by each of these foundations and the Alexandria University, under the auspices of Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak, all part of the Alexandria Library partnership. Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis inaugurated the Centre, and UN Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis attended the event.  Athens News Agency: Hellenistic Studies in Alexandria; Greek News Agenda: Hellenistic Studies @ Biblioteca Alexandrina