Was Homer the first MC? Three thousand years before there was Nas, Notorious B.I.G., or Rakim, this blind Greek poet knew how to lay down a memorable verse. British critic and poet Mattherw Arnold once advised that all would-be translators of Homer "should be penetrated" by a sense of the storyteller's four qualities: "That he is eminently rapid; that he is eminently plain and direct, both in the evolution of his thought and in the expression of it; that he is eminently plain and direct in the substance of his thought; and finally, that he is eminently noble."
This week, the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library is hosting "From Homer to Hip Hop," a series of free lectures and events connected to Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives, a national humanities program uniting the assets of the Aquila Theatre Company, the Urban Libraries Council, the American Philological Association, the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University, and the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. The goal is to inspire people to come together to experience classical literature and consider how it continues to influence modern life.
On Thursday, August 9th, visitors to the Poplar-White Station Branch library will have a chance to meet the original Medea, the witch who murders her children to take revenge against her husband, Jason. There will be a staged reading Euripides' tragedy followed by a discussion led by Kenneth Morrell of Rhodes College.
On Thursday, August 16th, at the Whitehaven Branch library, Professor Morrell will compare modern hip-hop culture to Greek poetry, drama, and dialogue.
"Meet the Original Medea," Poplar-White Station Branch library (5094 poplar), Thursday, August 9th, 5-6:45 p.m.; "From Homer to Hip Hop," Whitehaven Branch library (4120 Millbranch), Thursday, August 16th, 5-6:45 p.m. Both events are free.