Odysseas Elytis

His real name was Odysseus Alepoudelis. He was born on 2 November 1911 in Heraklion, Crete. He was one of the most important Greek poets, a member of the literary generation of the ’30s. He was the second Greek poet, who was awarded the Nobel Award. Many of his works have been successful, while his collections have been translated into many foreign languages. Known from his works are It is Truly Meet(Αξιον Εστί), Sun the first and Monogram.

He was a member of the International Art Critics Association and the European Critical Society, a representative at Rencontres Internationales in Geneva and Incontro Romano della Cultura in Rome. In 1930 he attended at the Law School of Athens and participated in the Ideocratic Philosophical Group of the University, representing the students, participating in the “Saturday Symposia”.

The New Grammata magazine, composed of old and newer poets, brought to Greece the contemporary Western artistic tendencies and met the younger poets in their readership. While Elytis wondered if his work had to be published, some of his colleagues and loyal friends took the initiative to publish it in the magazine with the nickname Odysseas Vranas. Later he decided to publish his works as Odysseus Elytis.

Odysseas Elytis participated in the 1940s war, ranked as a lieutenant in the Command of the Headquarters. During the occupation, he continued his work, influenced by the situations of the war. He could not be described as a political poet. He rarely mentioned his political beliefs in his works. The main themes of his poems were love for Hellenism and Orthodox tradition. The main features of Elytis poetry are the wealth of language, its invasive perception of the world, the multitude of words and their significance.

In 1948 he moved to Switzerland, where he attended courses of philosophy at the Sorbonne. In 1952 he returned to Greece and became a member of the “Group of Twelve”, who each year awarded awards for literature. In 1953 he again took over the Directorate of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (EIR) and at the end of the same year, he became a member of the European Cultural Society in Venice and a member of the Board of Directors of Karolos Koun Theater. In 1961 he first collaborated with Mikis Theodorakis and in 1964 Theodorakis set the music of It is Truly Meet. In 1978 he was awarded an honorary doctorate at the Philosophical School of the Aristotle University and in 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Subsequently, they received honorary distinctions outside and within Greece, such as the founding of greek studies in the Rutgers University of  New Jersey, and his appointment as an honorary lecturer at the University of Sorbonne.

He died on 18 March 1966 from a heart attack in Athens.

One of his insights: ” We want or not, we all are captives of happiness, that we deprived it of our own mistakes”