Our mission is to remember and revivify the Iliad and the Odyssey; to hear, speak and appreciate great poetry; to honor translators of any language who have given so much to perpetuate Homer; and to share, with a hitherto unassembled community, the joy, richness, and relevance of these two magnificent Greek epics.
...the long and difficult
In the age of the quick and easy, we propose the long and difficult. A direct attack on the culture of sound-bites, our organization aims to rekindle the need for, and the potency of, masterful language that is deeply considered and long attended to.
Our method is simple. We read the Iliad or the Odyssey continuously and smoothly, in marathon sessions that last from 7 to 15 hours, all day or all night long. The Reading is a group participation that borders on ritual, steeped as it is in the long history of oral tradition and of Homer, in particular. The Readers are the audience. They have been given passages in advance and, one by one, they build the power of the experience as they carry the narrative and its meaning, in their own individual voices, throughout the long hours of the Reading. It is an effort for participants, and in the end, an achievement.
There are only two rules for Readers: they may not apologize and they may not comment. Only Homer comments. And how. Distant from us as Homer is, he understands the travails of our world and has much to say about violence and peace, about imagination, integrity, sacrifice, and living. He is, as Hobbes said, “the first poetic voice, blazing out of the dark”.
We believe it is important for people to read poetry aloud. We believe it is better to read aloud to others. It places participants in the continuity of tradition; they learn from one another to care more about the words, their music and their implications, and quickly feel themselves as part of something both ancient and enduring, beautiful and relevant.
- Kathryn Hohlwein, President & Founder