GREEK POET, NOBEL PRIZE WINNER
He lived in Paris for a short time after the Greek military coup of 1967. His later works include Ho hēlios ho hēliatoras (1971; The Sovereign Sun), Ta eterothalē (1974; “The Stepchildren”), Ho mikros nautilos (1986; The Little Mariner), and Ta elegeia tis Oxopetras (1991; The Oxopetra Elegies). The Collected Poems of Odysseus Elytis (1997) is a volume of his poetry in English translation.
This romantic verse came from “The Axion Esti” (1959) written by Odysseas Elytis, one of the greatest poets of modern Greece. “Axion Esti” is inspired by the memories of the 1940-1941 war, the German occupation, the Greek resistance and the Greek Civil War that followed. However, Elytis gave a romantic shape, too.
Elytis has a living experience of all these crucial phases of the modern Greek history and understands them as aspects of the timeless siege of Greece by the forces of Evil. Axion Esti was made into a song and was generally enthusiastically received by the Greek readers and the literature critics. This did not happen only due to its artistic value, but also due to its operation as a fundamental work that redefined the Greek collective unconscious by elaborating repressed experiences and myths from the modern Greek history.
During his life (1911 – 1996), Elytis came in touch with significant Greek painters, poets and authors who influenced his artistic expression. His significance was highlighted when he awarded with a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1979. The choice of the Swedish Academy of Letters came as a surprise nonetheless.