We are excited to announce the release of “Poetics of Fragmentation in the Athyr Poem of C. P. Cavafy,” by Gregory Nagy. This exegesis of Cavafy’s “In the month of Athyr” originally appeared in print in Imagination and Logos: Essays on C. P. Cavafy and is now available in full as part of the collection of CHS online publications.
From the essay
… there are two levels of difficulty in this poem. One, it is difficult to read the fragmentary inscription engraved into stone. And two, it is difficult to read the poem. Not only is the fragmentary inscription difficult to read; even the act of reading the poem is difficult in the first place. For us as readers, it is as difficult to read the fragmentary poem as it is difficult for the poet to read the fragmentary inscription. That is because the reader of the fragmentary inscription, who is the poet of the poem that pictures the inscription, is implying that all poems are fragmentary inscriptions. Even more, the poet is implying that any act of reading anything is difficult: “With difficulty, I am reading.”