They lived in Cefallonia for a few years and later from 1921 to 1932 in Pireas, where Nikos Kavvadias finished elementary school and then the Gymnasium. He wrote his first poems as a pupil at the elementary school. In 1929, he started working as a clerk in a shipping office and a few months later he went on board a freighter as a sailor. Over the next few years he continued to travel on the freighters, returning home wretched and penniless, only to take off again shortly after. This went on until he decided to get a diploma as a wireless operator.
At first he wanted to become a captain, but he had already lost too many years wandering around and the wireless operator's diploma was the quicket way out. He got it in 1939 -- but World War II started, he became a soldier and fought in Albania, and, throughout the German Occupation he lived in Athens, landed.
He embarked again in 1944 and travelled continuously, as a wireless operator, all over the world, until November 1974 -- three months before the fatal stroke he suffered on February 10, 1975.
Vardia, his only novel, was published for the first time in 1954. His collection of poems Marabou was published in 1933, Pousi in 1947, and Traverso in 1975. His short stories Li and Of the War/On my Horse were published in 1987. "Li" was produced as a film in 1995 with the title "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea".
Poems - Poems set to Music - Links
Thanos Mikroutsikos was very successful at setting to music 11 of Nikos Kavvadias' poems which were published under the title "O Stavros Tou Notou" (The Southern Cross) (LYRA CD 0004).
In 1992, Thanos Mikroutsikos returned with a double CD "Grammes ton Orizonton" (Horizon Lines) (Μίνως MCD 979/980) with 17 poems of Kavvadias set to music, of which 11 are new versions of the previous album, while 6 are new. With such great vocalists as Giorgos Ntalaras, Vassilis Papakonstantinou, and Charis and Panos Katsimichas, the album exceeds all expectations.
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