top of page
  • Writer's pictureShiny Greece

Odysseas Elytis | Greek Poet | An Inspiring and Immesurable Tribute to Light and Color

Updated: Jan 31


George P. Papadellis | SG Head

with some good tips from AI

Odysseas Elytis was a Greek poet and a prominent figure in the Greek literary world. He was one of the most important poets of the 20th century, a major international representative of romantic modernism globally, and the first Greek to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1979. Elytis was known for his ability to transform ordinary experiences into extraordinary poetry, which was characterized by a unique style, rich language, and vivid imagery. His poetry emphasized on the expression of passion, borrowing from the Ancient Greece and the Byzantium, but focusing on Hellenism. He was also a painter, and his poetic vision was heavily influenced by his love for art. In this article, we explore the life, works, and legacy of Odysseas Elytis.

Odysseas Elytis

Odysseas Elytis in Rome, Photo by: in the public domain (according to Wikimedia Commons)

Early Life

Odysseas Elytis was born in Heraklion, Crete (1911), and he grew up in Athens. His father was a businessman, and his mother was an art lover. Elytis showed an early interest in literature and art, and he began writing poetry at a young age. He studied law at the University of Athens, but his passion for poetry was stronger, and he dropped out of college to pursue his artistic career.

Career of Odysseas Elytis

Elytis published his first collection of poems "Orientations" in 1939, which was followed by "Sun the First" in 1943. These collections established him as a leading poet in Greece. In 1948, Elytis published "Axion Esti", a poetic masterpiece that has been translated into many languages and is considered one of the most important works of modern Greek literature. "Axion Esti" is a lyrical tribute to Greece, its people, and its history, and it is characterized by a rich language, vivid imagery, and a musical quality that is reminiscent of ancient Greek poetry. Elytis continued to write poetry throughout his life, and his works include "The Sovereign Sun" (1954), "Maria Nefeli" (1978), and "West of Sorrow" (1985).

Odysseas Elytis

Photo by: Sp!ros, Odysseas Elytis 11 34 39 063000, cropped by Shiny Greece, CC BY-SA 4.0

He also wrote essays and articles on literature, art, and politics, and he was a passionate advocate for Greek culture. Elytis was also a painter, and his paintings were heavily influenced by his love for poetry. He created a series of paintings based on his poem "To Axion Esti", which are considered some of his best works. His paintings are characterized by bright colors, bold lines, and abstract forms, and they reflect his poetic vision of the world.


Odysseas Elytis

Elytis on Coin | Photo by: Jorge-11, Elytis, Odysseas (1911-1996), CC BY 2.0

Odysseas Elytis was a prominent figure in the Greek literary world, and his contributions to Greek culture are immeasurable. His poetry was characterized by a unique style, rich language, and vivid imagery, and it has inspired generations of Greek poets. His paintings were also an important part of his artistic legacy, and they have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. Elytis was also a cultural ambassador for Greece, and he promoted Greek culture and literature on the international stage. He was awarded numerous honors for his contributions to Greek culture, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1979.


Odysseas Elytis was a poet of light and color, whose works continue to inspire and enchant readers around the world. He was a cultural ambassador for Greece and a passionate advocate for Greek culture, literature, and art. His contributions to Greek culture are immeasurable, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

308 views1 comment

1 kommentar

Betygsatt till 0 av 5 stjärnor.
Inga omdömen ännu

Lägg till ett betyg
11 apr.
Betygsatt till 5 av 5 stjärnor.

Elytis was the poet of pure light, the one that bequeathed Greek literature with an incredible cultural heritage....


Top Articles