Konstandinos Mahoney on Constantine Cavafy: Poet of Alexandria (1863-1933)

The High Window

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Note: You can watch Dino’s short film, The Poet of the City  by clicking on the title

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The EssayThe Poems

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CAVAFY: POET OF ALEXANDRIA (1863-1933)

Finally, here I am, Rue Lepsis, a narrow dusty street in central Alexandria, looking up at the second floor balcony, the only one on a shabby, turn of the century, mixed residential and commercial block – it’s the balcony from which Cavafy would sprinkle cooling water over the grateful bordello girls below. On the wall by the main entrance, a dusty plaque, in Arabic and Greek – Constantine Cavafy, 1863-1933, Poet of Alexandria – the great poet identified by a city, not a state. I walk through the open entrance door into an open stairwell area, graffiti on the flaking walls, a skewered heart, a phallus. On the second floor, a small sign at the side of an apartment…

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