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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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24 October 2006



Cavafy is a genius. There is a great new site, the Official Website of the Cavafy Archive: featuring all his published, unpublished and unfinished poems and excellent essays in English and Greek. Although my favourite translation is the one by Evangelos Sachperoglou, an Athenian businessman. Cavafy was a true artist and his vision is a great resource for Greeks and especially for Diasporan Greeks. There is also a fantastic movie on Cavafy called Cavafy. Socrates Malamas also wrote a great song from one of his poems. I could write 30 pages on Kostandinos and I still think I would have more to say!


Thanks for the link. I have added it to my growing list. I think it was you or Demonax that turned me on to Cavafy, and for that I'm grateful. I'll have to find out more about this movie you mention. I'm intrigued. Perhaps you could do a post on Cavafy for Phylax. By the way I've been reading Manolis Anagnostakis and I really like his work.


I don't know much Anagnostakis; however, I like Thessaliniki Days of AD 1969. It is a bit of a nod to Cavafy with references to Egypt, the style and the title.

Stavros, I think you will really like Yiannis Ritsos. I know he sat on the opposite of the political fence; however, he was different than today's reds, and his political beliefs did not have a heavy presence in his poetry. He wrote simply (easily understood in Greek and English), made acute observations of ordinary life, was largely free of bitterness and resentment and many of his poems were set to excellent music by Greek composers. His poem Women is a classic, about the burden of motherhood and war. His last work, "Late, Very¨Late into the Night" is very sad.

There are many excellent Greek poets all with their own style and voice. Kavvadias is excellent for his larrikin voice. Karyotakis's bitter satire. Nicolas Calas. Nikos Karouzos, Takis Papatsonis and so on. All distinctive in their own right but still Hellenic.

Obviously, one of my favourites is the Heptanesian school, especially Andreas Kalvos. A very famous American poet wrote about Zakynthos:

As for the ancients, I believe no one can go past Archilocus. Many people build up an impression the ancients were some perfect beings. However, Archilocus's voice sounds like many of my friends. Pretty much an ordinary man and soldier who gave it his best. Sometimes he failed and sometimes he won. This is a fragment of one of his poems. The voice is so modern.

Some Saian mountaineer
Struts today with my shield.
I threw it down by a bush and ran
When the fighting got hot.
Life seemed somehow more precious.
It was a beautiful shield.
I know where I can buy another
Exactly like it, just as round.



I am reading Bruce Thornton's book, Greek Way's. It is an excellent read. Appreciate your poetry recommendations. I'll check them out.

Bart Rugo (Assistant: Sylvester & Orphanos Editions)


Los Angles publishers Sylvester & Orphanos, who previously specialized in limited-edition press books printed and bound by hand, are introducing a new line of art and photography books. Their previous authors included Paul Bowles, John Cheever, Graham Greene, Christopher Isherwood, James Merrill, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth, William Styron, John Updike, Tennessee Williams, Nobel laureates Nadine Gordimer, V.S. Naipaul, Odysseys Elytis, and others.

Their first art book, TSAROUCHIS, THE FACE OF MODERN GREECE, was issued as a large illustrated folio with tributes to Greece greatest modern artist, Yannis Tsarouchis, by twenty-five major international figures in the arts, including Melina Mercouri (preface), Odysseus Elytis, David Hockney, James Merrill, Yannis Ritsos, Sir Stephen Spender, John Updike, the photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Horst, Constantine Manos, and a full array of esteemed Greek authors, composers, directors, and artists. It was printed by letterpress in Greek and English, bound by hand, and signed by all 25 contributors.

Their first photography book is as listed below:

Photographs by Stathis Orphanos (
Poetry by Constantine Cavafy
Preface by Gore Vidal
Translations by Evangelos Sachperoglou

11 x 14 inches $65

2484 Cheremoya Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90068 USA
(323) 461-7896


“Each volume is a unique example of the bookmaker’ art.”
Los Angeles Magazine

“The elite craftsmen of book publishing.”
Digby Diehl, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

“Exceptionally elegant examples of fine printing, binding, and design.”
Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times

“Expelled is an exquisite, beautifully produced volume, as delightful in its form as in its content.”
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis


Fantastic visions of the greek oddsey!!
This is amazing. I am a clinical psychologist
and have many photographs in my portfolio
and would love to add your material
to the group I host, the healing journey!!

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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