Axion Esti (Worthy, It Is) | Nobel Prize for Literature 1979 | Odysseas Elytis

Read part of the poem, and information about Odysseas Elytis, here

Part of the poem

As Odysseas Elytis said in his address to the Swedish Academy on receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature:
“Apart from the physical side of objects and the ability to perceive them in their every material detail, there is also the metaphorical ability to grasp their essence and bring them to such clarity that their metaphysical significance will also be revealed”. In Axion Esti, a major poem by any standards, these ideas are materialized poetically.”

Odysseus Elytis was relatively unknown outside his native Greece when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1979. Although the Swedish Academy of Letters had in recent years bestowed the honor upon other previously little-known writers—among them Eugenio Montale, Vicente Aleixandre, and Harry Martison—their choice of Elytis came as a surprise nonetheless. The academy declared in its presentation that his poetry “depicts with sensual strength and intellectual clearsightedness, modern man’s struggle for freedom and creativeness. . . . [In] its combination of fresh, sensuous flexibility and strictly disciplined implacability in the face of all compulsion, Elytis’ poetry gives shape to its distinctiveness, which is not only very personal but also represents the traditions of the Greek people.”

The poem dressed in music by Mikis Theodorakis:




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