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Something Mythical

March 13, 2014 | by

George Seferis was born on this day in 1900.  seferis-g  

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Seferis in 1957. Photo: The Educational Foundation of the Greek National Bank

SEFERIS

You know, the strange thing about imagery is that a great deal of it is subconscious, and sometimes it appears in a poem, and nobody knows wherefrom this emerged. But it is rooted, I am certain, in the poet’s subconscious life, often of his childhood, and that’s why I think it is decisive for a poet: the childhood that he has lived … When I was a child I discovered somewhere in a corner of a sort of bungalow we had in my grandmother’s garden—at the place where we used to spend our summers—I discovered a compass from a ship which, as I learned afterwards, belonged to my grandfather. And that strange instrument—I think I destroyed it in the end by examining and re-examining it, taking it apart and putting it back together and then taking it apart again—became something mythical for me.

—George Seferis, the Art of Poetry No. 13

 

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