Odysseus Elytis

Odysseus Elytis

THE LAUREATE: Read about him here.

WHAT I’M READING: Maria Nephele

REVIEW: Well, Greek Week won’t be as exciting as other features, unfortunately, since there are only two of them, and all I’ve got by them are two ex-library books that at one point were probably the exact same shade of teal. Anyway, Odysseus Elytis is interesting, because unlike many of the poets I’ve read, he does not refer much to Greek mythology. He instead attempts to write the present life of Greece. Maria Nephele is a structurally unusual poem: it has three sections of seven pairs of poems, with one at the beginning, end and between sections, because Pythagoras. Of course. The title character, Maria, is apparently a real person (realish, anyway), and each pair of poems, plus one between sections, is a sort of conversation between her and the antiphonist (but really the poet [who strictly speaking is not necessarily the same as Odysseus Elytis]). Maria is a sort of poetic-construct Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who represents the modern world and modern worldviews.

RECOMMENDED: Yeah, I guess. Formally experimental poetry about the crisis of modernity is never a bad thing. I’d track down a more complete collection of his stuff, though.

WHAT’S NEXT: Well, we are in Greek Week, so next is the other Greek poet, Giorgos Seferis. Duh.

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