Born in Smyrna (modern Izmir). Educated in Athens and Paris where he studied Law. Entered the Greek diplomatic service in 1926, and became Acting Consul-General in London from 1931 to 1934. Thereafter served as Greek Consul in Albania, Crete, South Africa, Egypt, England, Italy and in Turkey with the Greek government in exile. Counsellor of the Greek embassy in London from 1951 to 1953; occupied a similar post in Ankara and became Ambassador to the Lebanon between 1953 and 1957. Ambassador in London from 1957 until his retirement in 1962. In 1963 became the first Greek poet to win the Nobel Prize and lived in Athens until his death. Very well acquainted with modern French and English literature, and with the creators of it; influenced by T. S. Eliot, whom he knew, and by Cavafy. Kept an important journal, of which only sections have as yet been published, which suggests that he found certain aspects of diplomatic life irksome.
Seferis first became famous in Greece on the publication in 1935 of a collection (Mythistorema) which epitomizes his commitment to a poetry that, without being 'narrative' in the accepted sense, occupies the middle ground between the plots of myth -- in this case the Homeric story of Odysseus -- and the circumstances of a history described by Seferis as being 'as independent from myself as the characters in a novel'. Surprisingly perhaps, given his career and his early aims, Seferis cannot really be meaningfully described as a public poet. Indeed his public career does not seem to have been a source