“All those excessive, useless regrets…”
Its a collection of nostalgic, erotic poetry taken from around a thirty-six period of Cavafy’s life which also explains the longing in some of the poems.
I have not read Cavafy’s work prior to this so I came to this book pretty unjaded. Over the course of reading the book, I realised that I really liked his poems that has a philosophical element to it. The ‘candles‘ is a brilliant poem! So much so, that I read twice and also wrote it down in my bullet journal to remind me about the unpredictability of life.
I do not want to turn back, lest I see and shudder
at how fast the dark line lengthens,
at how fast the extinguished candles multiply.
or this beautiful verse about creating-
Immersed again in art, I recover from the labour of creating it.
What I didn’t enjoy were his erotic poetry. I found them repetitive which lacked substance. This section of poetry is mostly about desire and lust for the men he longs for (glad to see homosexual representation in that era though). Although Cavafy is able to convey his emotions, I wished to see more diversity instead of the same idea being conveyed with almost the same words.
A good introduction to Cavafy’s work if you are looking to know him better or if you are interested in poetry for a different perspective.
This is a part of ‘Little Black Classics’ from Penguin to celebrate its 80th birthday and I bought a few of them because I was intrigued to read stories from across time and space. Read reviews of the other little black classics on the blog. I hope to review all of them sooner or later. Stay tuned.
Also read: More book reviews
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