Seferis, who was Greece's ambassador to London in 1961, has done much to integrate the unique Greek heritage with avant-garde European poetry. He is regarded as one of the greatest poets of his time. Born in Smyrna, he moved to Athens at age 14. He studied in Paris at the end of World War I and afterward joined the Greek diplomatic service. "Eminent as he is as a European poet," wrote Rex Warner, "Seferis is preeminently a Greek poet, conscious of the Greek tradition which shaped, and indeed created the tradition of Europe. Throughout the poetry of Seferis one will notice his profound consciousness of the presence of the past and its weight." His themes show a constant awareness of both the dignity and the inevitable sorrow of humanity. His images---the voyage, the search, and the ruins that become alive and yet suggest death---are universal, his treatment of them contemporary. His language has a disciplined power and simplicity. In addition to the Poems, selections from his poetry appear in Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard's Six Poets of Modern Greece. The Royal Swedish Literary Academy awarded Seferis the Nobel Prize "for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture."
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