Homer Came to Campus (no doughnuts)

Posted on April 20th, 2007 by

Mark Miner in live performanceWith the singing of the first opening lines, and his use of the staff as the all-purpose prop, you become immersed in a world of Greek musical poetry. Twenty minutes earlier, visiting bard Mark Miner entered, wearing robes and a tunic, and gave a crash course in meter, onomatopoeic writing, and epithets. He also spoke of his pronunciation of the Greek accents being more tonal rather than just adding force behind the words, as most people do. With the introductions done, student Bryan Pelach read the first bits in English.

“Menin aeide, thea…” Miner began, holding his hands up in prayer to the gods. As he continued, it often became that I had become so engrossed in the Greek that I had forgotten what was read in English, yet somehow I still understood, at least roughly, what was going on. His recital of the onomatopoeias was truly astounding; the sound of the waves hitting the shore was phenomenal.

Students Sybylla Yeoman Hendrix and Andrew Howard also helped to give the English translation, switching off after a few times. I tip my proverbial hat to them, as their readings, though obviously not as stunning as the Greek itself, were executed quite well.

After the readings, the standard question and answer session came about. The normal questions of how he had learned his Greek, how long it took to learn the Iliad, etc. were asked (by the way, he taught himself the basics of Greek before taking classes, and he’s been working on the Iliad since the mid-late ’90s). Once all that was done, the mingling began. During this time, Miner produced a few pieces of paper stapled together; his warm up for this and other recitals. After a few bouts of trying to say some Latin tongue twisters, such as “Te tero, Roma, manu nuda, date tela, latete!” and “O Tite tute Tati tibi tanta tyranne tulisti!” he engaged many of the students (of the ten or so that stayed around, there were about seven who joined) in a rhythmic/metrical exercise/game. Good times.


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