Daily commute becomes a poetic experience

Eighty years after his death, C.P. Cavafy has been given a new lease on life – in the very streets of Athens.

In celebration of its acquisition of the Cavafy poetic archive, the Onassis Cultural Center has decked out Athenian buses, trams, suburban trains and metro stations with lines of Cavafy poetry and stencilled portraits of the famous Alexandrian.

The posters, the work of the Beetroot advertising group, have been circulating in Athens since October 14.

Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birth, the event is symbolic of the Onassis Center’s decision to make the contents of the Cavafy archive available to wide audiences.

The initiative “marks our stance on Cavafy’s work and on how we want the archive contents to be made public,” says Onassis executive director Afroditi Panagiotakou. “As they circulate in the city on mass transportation means, the verses can prove to the public that doesn’t know his work how familiar he really is, and how well he expresses the spirit of our times.”

The Onassis Center will also be organizing an audiovisual tour at Plato’s Academy in early November. The exhibit, whose exact date will be announced soon, will display artistic renditions of Cavafy’s poetry by Greek and foreign artists.