Read By: Caryl Phillips - 92Y, New York

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Read By: Caryl Phillips

May 29, 2020

Caryl Phillips on his selection: 

It’s over thirty years since I first came upon the work of C.P. Cavafy. A friend of mine, a Polish poet, had recommended Cavafy’s Collected Poems translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. I worried a little that, not being a poet, there would not be any real point of connection. However, from the first page I recognized something in Cavafy’s work that struck a chord with me. Cavafy lived between two worlds—the Egyptian and the Greek—and had a complex relationship to the word “home.” He underpinned his work with historical detail and had little interest in the world of publishing. His was an essentially reflective, and reclusive, muse—looking back at time past and wondering about what lay ahead. This seems to be exactly what many of us are now doing. Taking this time to think about how to stitch together our past and present so that when we return to “normal” we might have a more balanced, and purposeful, sense of what we should do with the rest of our lives.

Collected Poems of C.P. Cavafy, trans. Keeley and Sherrard at Bookshop.org 
 

Intro and outro from "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

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