Cavafy is by far the most translated and most well-known Greek poet internationally. His work exists in multiple translations in a wide range of languages and major 20th-century poets as diverse as Auden, Brecht, Brodsky, Durrell, Milosz and Montale have all paid tribute to Cavafy, either by writing poems “in the style of Cavafy”, or by openly admitting their debt to his poetry in their own work.
Whether his subject matter is historical, philosophical or sensual, Cavafy’s unique poetic voice is always recognizable by its ironical, suave, witty, world-weary and aesthetic tones. It is a voice which lends itself to translation. Indeed, translations of Cavafy’s poetry are the best possible counter to the often quoted platitude that poetry is what is lost in translation. Cavafy’s is a poetry that not only survives but actually thrives in translation.