Conversations with Homer

Event Date: 
Monday, March 2, 2020 - 17:00


This event, hosted by the Center for Greek Studies at San Francisco State University, is meant to be bridge-building: between ancient and modern; between text and sound and image; between academic disciplines; between campus and the broader, local community. It includes both a collaborative, interdisciplinary performance on March 2 shaped by engagement with the Iliad, an ancient Greek epic poem composed by Homer over 2,500 years ago, and the production of a chapbook shaped by student engagement with the performance itself.

Homer’s Iliad is about duty and honor and war and anger and grief and brotherhood. It stages these universal themes on the shores of ancient Troy during the final days of a 10-year war between the Greeks and the Trojans. There is tremendous loss on both sides, and love and heroism and valor, too.

In the Conversations with Homer performance, contemporary musicians and student poets and translators continue a dialogue with Homer’s Iliad on these essential and enduring themes. The result is newly commissioned musical and poetic responses that cross disciplines and genres and sustain the relevance of these experiences and their artistic expression.

Student artists who attend the performance will in turn produce images in response to the performance. These images will be joined with the student translations to produce a Conversations with Homer chapbook—something material to accompany the ephemeral musical performance, and to contribute to the long artistic tradition initiated by Homer.



Department of Classics
Department of Comparative and World Literature
Program in Comics Studies
Program in Modern Greek Studies
School of Art
School of Humanities and Liberal Studies
School of Music

Support for the event was also provided by a generous Classics Everwhere grant from the Society for Classical Studies.


Performance Specifics

Monday, March 2nd; doors 4:30, performance 5 PM
Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building, San Francisco State University
Campus map:


Joe Goodkin, voice & guitar
Ellie Falaris Ganelin, flute
Lewis Patzner, cello
Ariel Wang, voice & violin


The San Francisco-based Greek Chamber Music Project and Chicago-based singer/songwriter Joe Goodkin come together in a special collaboration to premiere an original song adaptation of Homer’s Iliad commissioned by the Center for Greek Studies at San Francisco State University. Conversations with Homer is a series of first-person songs that capture the horror, grief, and love that permeate Homer's epic poem and the combat experience. The hour-long program will consist of songs written by Goodkin and arranged by Ellie Ganelin (of GCMP), as well as spoken-word pieces and student translations of Homer’s ancient Greek and Vergil’s Latin poetry.

The Greek Chamber Music Project (GCMP) is an arts presenter and record label devoted to the music of Greek composers, shedding light on little-known chamber music works, as well as revisiting popular songs in a fresh way. As a record label, it has several releases to its name, including “Hellenic Song: A Musical Migration” and “The Moon is Red: A Tribute to Manos Hadjidakis,” which feature a diverse selection of classical works and reimagined popular songs for piano, flute, violin, and voice. Past performance venues have included the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Hellenic Center in Washington, D.C., the Hellenic Community of Vancouver (Canada), as well as Kerrytown Concert House (Ann Arbor, Michigan). GCMP has collaborated with the Embassy of Greece in the United States and has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the University of Michigan, San Francisco State University, and Hellenic Society Prometheas.

Joe Goodkin is a Chicago-based musician and songwriter. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin--Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in Classics. Since 2002, Joe has been traveling the United States as a modern bard performing his one-man folk opera retelling of Homer’s Odyssey to high school, college, and general audiences, nearly 300 performances at such institutions as Harvard, Brown, UC-Berkeley, Stanford, and more. In 2020, he will complete his odyssey to perform his folk opera in all 50 US states, and embark on a month-long tour of Europe to include performances in The United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Greece, Sweden, and The Netherlands.;


Very special thanks to award-winning artist John Mavroudis, who created the event poster



Ellie Falaris Ganelin, Ariel Wang, Joe Goodkin, Lewis Patzner


Joe Goodkin, Alexandra Pappas

Selections from the performance can be found on YouTube:
Don't You Be Afraid My Friend
Hands of Grief:
Wrong From Right:
The War Lullaby:
The Goodbye Lullaby:
Right From Wrong:

Knuth Hall, Creative Arts Building, San Francisco State Universit