Reading: The Poetry of Constantine Cavafy

Thu, June 12, 2008 8:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all readings »)

Projecting the Photography of Duane Michals
Improvisational Music by Flutist Jayn Rosenfeld
Sound Track Composition by Dan Castellani
Artistic Production by Zachy Sherif
Readers: Sevasti Boutos, Jesse Buckler, Lili Murad, Matt Nguyen and others

Constantine Cavafy (1863 – 1933)

Constantine Petrou Photiades Cavafy was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on April 29th 1863, where he spent most of his life. Born to Greek parents, native to Constantinople, Cavafy is now revered as one of the most innovative and internationally influential Greek writers of the twentieth century, and one of the world’s greatest poets. E. M. Forster called Cavafy “one of the greatest poets of our time” and that he “has written some of the most powerful poems in history.”

Cavafy, while cosmopolitan by birth, with family roots extending from Constantinople to London (via Alexandria, Trebizond, Chios, Triste, Venice and Vienna), rarely left his native Alexandria, where in fact he lived a rather unremarkable public life working for over thirty years as a civil servant. While working for the Ministry of Public works of Egypt, Cavafy preferred to circulate his poems privately on broadsheets and in pamphlets and withheld nearly a third of his work from the public eye. International recognition and fame came to Cavafy posthumously, establishing him as one of the great modernist poets.

While Cavafy's work often draws on the ancient Greek poetic tradition, his style is also often wickedly satirical, at times intensely intimate and homoerotic, and always lyrically personal. Cavafy’s tender humanism, often punctuated with irony, along with his unique, loose and idiomatic style established his international and timeless appeal, attested to by numerous translations.


Sevasti Boutos was born and raised in Greece. She works at Barnard College and is a radio show producer, newspaper columnist. Her collection of poetry My Two Homelands was published in 2005 and won many awards.

Jesse Buckler, reader, is an actor and voice over artist. He has studied and worked with theatre luminaries Uta Hagen and Caroline Thomas and his work has been acclaimed by The Daily News, Backstage, and other publications. Jesse has worked at CBS News and is currently on The Early Show on CBS. He is part of this event courtesy of Actor's Equity

Dan Castellani is a freelance composer, arranger, audio engineer, and musician-a classically trained pianist. He has worked with The Callen Sisters, Rhythm & Brass, Kimbo Educational, and Noein Inc, among many others. His company, Slice Record’s Production House, releases state of the art software instruments for use in today’s digital music world. Additionally, Dan Castellani is Studio Production Faculty at SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Music.

Duane Michals photography represents universal themes such as love, desire, memory, death, and immortality. In 1970 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, hosted Michals’s first solo exhibition, and a year later the George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y., mounted another. More recently, he has had one-person shows at the Odakyu Museum, Tokyo (1999), and at the International Center of Photography, New York (2005). Monographs of Michals’s work include Homage to Cavafy; The adventure of Constantin Cavafy; Nature of Desire; Duane Michals: Now Becoming Then; Salute, Walt Whitman; The Essential Duane Michals; Questions Without Answers; and The House I Once Called Home; Follies. How Photography Lost Its Virginity on the Way to the Bank.

Lili Murad, reader, is a resident of New York City and has read at Alwan previously

Jayn Rosenfeld, flutist, is executive director of the New York New Music Ensemble. She plays with the New York ISCM Ensemble, the Richardson Players at Princeton University, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, and is first flutist of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. She performs and coaches at the Manchester (Vermont) Music Festival, and teaches in Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program, at Princeton University, and the Greenwich House Music School. Her numerous recordings include concerti by Cimarosa, Rand Steiger, Leo Kraft, and David Gilbert; the flute chamber music of Albert Roussel; and many contemporary chamber works.

Zachy Sherif is an artistic director for stage and events, an established film art director and an accomplished interior and lighting designer. Mr. Sherif is a long time fan of Cavafy and is currently directing a documentary film on the artist and his work.

Last updated: 2008-06-12 17:20:29

Photograph by Duane Michals
Photograph by Duane Michals
Cavafy\'s Portrait by Zachy Sherif
Cavafy\'s Portrait by Zachy Sherif

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia