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This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the October 15, 2003

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

The Odyssey Sets Sail at the College of NJ

Sing to me O Muse! The intrepid words of Homer’s

2,700-year-old "Odyssey" will ring out at College of New

Jersey

beginning at 8 a.m. next Wednesday, October 22, as the campus

celebrates

the launch of a six-week campus adventure. "Verbal-Visual: Homer’s

Odyssey" is the theme of the six-week program tied to the college

gallery exhibition by the Princeton Artists Alliance, which also opens

on Wednesday, October 22, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

The PAA project has been on a successful Odyssey of its own. Beginning

early in 1998, members of the professional artists’ organization,

immersed themselves in Robert Fagles’ modern translation of Homer’s

epic poem. Fagles helped open windows onto a poem some had not read

since high school and others had never read. The resulting works

became

a 1999 group exhibit, curated by Pamela V. Sherin for the Gallery

at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Next the PAA secured its first museum showing with a group exhibit

of many of the same works in the Community Gallery of the Newark

Museum

in fall 2002. College of New Jersey Gallery director Judy Masterson,

who saw the exhibit at Bristol-Myers Squibb, decided the show would

make a good fit on campus.

The TCNJ show is accompanied by a color catalog, nattily bound in

green to imitate a well-worn linen bound volume of "The

Odyssey"

from the stacks of the Roscoe West Library of the college, formerly

known at Trenton State.

Homer’s story of the hero’s perilous journey from the wars in Troy

to the home he finds occupied by a horde of rivals who are eating

his livestock and plotting to kill his son and heir was probably

composed

around 700 to 650 B.C. The huge sales of Fagles’ modern translation,

published in 1996 by Viking Penguin, as well as his previous success

with the "Iliad," bears testament to Homer’s continuing spell.

"These poems weren’t meant as literature or words on a page to

be read, but as a song in the air," Fagles told his audience at

the original PAA show. "Homer’s work is a performance, even in

part a musical event." Remarkably, Fagles, engaged in the study

of Homer’s poetry for decades, found that the artists’ creative

interpretations

gave him a new vision of his familiar subject.

"I found the whole range of inventiveness a kind of

revelation,"

said Fagles after the first exhibit. "So many styles, so many

impressions, so many media. And they all seem to have something to

say about Homer."

New and returning readers to "The Odyssey" are bound to be

surprised at how gripping Homer’s story remains "for our

time."

As Charles McVicker of PAA told CNJ catalog author Meghan Gandy: The

Odyssey "is the story of everyone’s life. We are all trying to

get home, some of us make it and some of us don’t."

— Nicole Plett

Homer’s Odyssey, Holman Hall, College of New Jersey,

Ewing,

609-771-2198. Six week event begins with day-long reading of Homer’s

text, translated by Princeton’s Robert Fagles. Wednesday, October

22, 8 a.m.

Curated by Lee Ann Riccardi, the art exhibit will be complemented

by six weeks of special events beginning October 22 at 8 a.m. with

oral readings of the Odyssey in a tent in front of Holman Hall. The

show has its own website at www.tcnj.edu/~odyssey. Gallery hours

are Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m.; and

Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m., for the exhibit that continues to December 3.

Homer’s Odyssey, College of New Jersey, Art Gallery,

Holman Hall, 609-771-2198. Opening reception for the exhibition of

24 works inspired by Robert Fagles’ English translation of Homer’s

epic. Wednesday, October 22, 5 to 7 p.m..

Homer’s Odyssey, College of New Jersey, Forcina

130, 609-771-2198. "Odysseus in Dublin: James Joyce and

Homer,"

a lecture by Lee Harrod in conjunction with the College Art Gallery

exhibition "Homer’s Odyssey." Free. Wednesday, October

29, 4 p.m.

The Afterlife of Penelope, College of New Jersey,

Music Building Concert Hall, 609-771-2198. "The Afterlife of

Penelope,"

a lecture by classics professor Sheila Murnaghan, University of

Pennsylvania,

in conjunction with the College Art Gallery exhibition "Homer’s

Odyssey." Free. Wednesday, November 5, 4 p.m.

The Odyssey in Greek Art, College of New Jersey,

Forcina 132, 609-771-2198. "The Odyssey in Greek Art," a

lecture

by classics professor Ann Steinman, Franklin and Marshall College,

in conjunction with the College Art Gallery exhibition "Homer’s

Odyssey." Free. Wednesday, December 3, 6 p.m.

Robert Fagles

In a related event, Robert Fagles reads from his acclaimed translation

of Homer’s "Odyssey" at the Princeton University Art Museum

in conjunction with the exhibition, "The Centaur’s Smile: The

Human Animal in Early Greek Art." Exhibit features more than 100

Centaurs, Satyrs, Sphinxes, Sirens, Gorgons, and other fantastic

creatures

in ceramic, stone, bronze, gold, and terra cotta.

An Evening with Robert Fagles, Princeton University

Art Museum , Sterning Morton Gallery. By reservation only, call

609-258-3043. Thursday, November 13, 6 p.m.


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