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March 01, 2011, 7:00 PM

From Homer to 2011: Greek Poetry through the Millennia

Poetry Reading & Discussion
Participants: Peter Constantine, Karen Emmerich, Rachel Hadas (moderator), Karen Van Dyck

Greek poetry between the Classical period and the 20th century is largely a blank to most poetry lovers. Yet what Robert Hass has called "the silence of those two thousand years between Callimachus and Cavafy" actually consists of a rich and unbroken poetic tradition that continues to thrive in the new millennium. In this poetry reading and discussion, Peter Constantine, Rachel Hadas, Edmund Keeley, and Karen Van Dyck will read excerpts of Greek poetry (often in new translations), ranging from the 8th century BCE through the Byzantine and Early Modern periods, to the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. The four panelists, who co-edited The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present, an anthology of Greek poetry in translation, will also discuss the salient thematic and stylistic continuities characteristic of the Greek poetic tradition.

Peter Constantine is a translator whose recent translations include Sophocles's Three Theban Plays, The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, Self's Deception by Bernhard Schlink, and The Bird is a Raven by Benjamin Lebert, which was awarded the 2007 Helen und Kurt Wolff Translation Prize. Constantine was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann, and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov—Thirty-Eight New Stories. He is a Fellow in the Program of Hellenic Studies at Columbia University.

Karen Emmerich is a translator of Modern Greek poetry and prose. Her recent translations include The Sleepwalker and Rien ne va plus by Margarita Karapanou, Landscape with Dog and Other Stories by Ersi Sotiropoulos, and I'd Like by Amanda Michalopoulou. Her translation of Poems (1945-1971) by Miltos Sachtouris was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle award. Emmerich has received translation grants and awards from the NEA, PEN, and the Modern Greek Studies Association. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University.

Rachel Hadas is Board of Governors Professor of English at the Newark campus of Rutgers University. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, essays, and translations. The Ache of Appetite is her newest volume of poetry and Strange Relation: A Memoir of Marriage, Dementia, and Poetry is her latest prose work.

Karen Van Dyck is the Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Literature in the Classics Department at Columbia University, where she directs the interdepartmental Program in Hellenic Studies and teaches courses on Modern Greek and Greek Diaspora literature. She received a Lannan Translation Award for The Scattered Papers of Penelope: New and Selected Poems by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, and also published a critical study, Kassandra and the Censors.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.


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