Thomas G. Palaima

Joe Goodkin's Odyssey, as Bob Dylan would say, brings it all back home to the students we teach today.  The graduate students and faculty in the seminar performance were all deeply moved and inspired to new thoughts about the Odyssey and ancient and modern oral performance. The 220 students in my undergraduate Greek mythology course literally couldn't stop asking questions. We heard the performance ahead of our covering the Odyssey in class so they understood the emotional essence and the core social values and life lessons that Joe Goodkin's songs and his informed discussion as a classics-trained songster brought home to them. We have riffed off of Joe's Odyssey for the next four classes. The sound of Joe's and Homer's song lingers on.

Kathleen M. Coleman

Joe Goodkin’s performance was very thought-provoking and sparked a long discussion with our undergraduates about the nature of Homeric composition and the decisions that a modern performer has to face in bringing the concept to a contemporary audience. It brought a new dimension to our appreciation of the Odyssey and proved extremely worthwhile.

Michael Fontaine

Amid the hubbub of daily campus life, Joe Goodkin transported our audience. He created an oasis of meditation through nothing more than sound and song. It was a moving and memorable experience, surely similar to what the bards of classical Athens used to accomplish. We’re already looking forward to having him back.

Patricia Rosenmeyer

Joe sang his version of Homer's Odyssey beautifully, accompanied only by acoustic guitar, for my UW- Madison Integrated Liberal Studies class of 140 undergraduates who had just finished reading Lombardo's translation of the Odyssey. His musicianship was awesome, his creativity unparalleled, and his sincerity obvious. The students really appreciated the way he engaged directly with them on various levels, addressing topics of initial inspiration, selection, composition, and performance. The Q & A session could have gone on much longer than it did. The whole event was even more exciting for us because Joe is a UW-Madison alumnus, and the students could identify with his own journey of self-discovery as both a classics major and a professional musician. But all audiences will benefit from his enthusiasm and talent. Highly recommended!

Timothy Joseph

Joe's performance was spellbinding, and his re-imagination of Odysseus' story got all of us thinking about the Homeric material in new and productive ways. A lively discussion about music, the performative setting, the bardic tradition, and a whole lot more followed naturally after the performance. ​It was a great, one-of-a-kind event, and several of us on the faculty will be using Joe's songs in our courses ​for years to come.

Roger Travis

I can't think of a better way to get people thinking about where the utterly unique works of the Homeric oral tradition came from than a performance by Joe of his marvelous Odyssey. Not only has Joe composed a wonderful work that he performs with élan, but his friendly and welcoming demeanor make the experience both delightful and very memorable.

Geoff Bakewell

Joe Goodkin brings Homer to vibrant life in his bluesy, operatic version of the Odyssey. His guitar riffs and haunting lyrics will stick with you and your students long after the bard himself has moved on. Indeed, few things I have read or heard capture the epic's insistence on journeying so well as Goodkin's "The stars are on my left/ And I'm on my way."

Alexandra Pappas

I have hosted Joe at Universities in the South and the West. Despite differences in audience and background knowledge, Joe reaches everyone with his sensitive and lively performance. He is himself kind, warm, funny, and open to all questions, and as a professional musician and trained Classicist he is ideally suited to generate a lively and productive conversation about Homer no matter who is in his audience. Experiencing Joe's Odyssey performance has been enriching for every group of my students, as well as members of the community at large whom he also welcomes. In short, his music is great, he excites the audience into actively thinking about Homer and epic performance, and he's entirely professional.

Mark Usher

This performance pleasantly surprised me. At first, part of me feared it would be perceived by students as gimmick that I would later have to apologize for and explain away. Not so! Joe is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter and gifted performer--the kind of music you would listen to at home. His song cycle on the Odyssey psychologizes and personalizes, in the vein of, say, a Tennyson, the progress of Odysseus home to Ithaca. Yet, improving on Tennyson in Ulysses, Joe sings from the perspectives of several characters, including Penelope's. And the music responds, the mood now melancholy, now triumphant. Joe's open tuning of his guitar and the fact that his performance is continuous from song to song without pause has a most bardic effect. My students (in a large lecture class) responded with unprecedented enthusiasm, no doubt because Joe's style and truly poetic lyrics spoke to them. His performance literally enriched my students' reading of the Odyssey. That Joe is a trained Classicist, able to expound on what students are learning about the oral origin and later reception of Homeric poetry, is also a great boon. I know in my class Joe's performance and lecture reinforced student interest to study more Classics.

Eleni Manolaraki

Joe's Odyssey was a wonderful experience for my Classical Mythology class. Joe recasts the old story in modern terms while retaining its imaginative range and emotive power. Many of my students told my that their favorite session was that on the Odyssey, because it came alive for them.

Kirsten Day

Joe Goodkin's Odyssey offers a rare opportunity to experience Homer's tale in something approximating the original performance context, acting as a powerful reminder that when we read the epic in written form, we are not in fact studying the "original." Goodkin's lone voice and acoustic guitar offer the listening audience an emotional immediacy that can be easily lost when studying the written text or watching a cinematic version. His performance was a useful and welcome supplement to several courses in both the Classics and English departments, but also a moving and enjoyable experience in its own right.

Andrew Nichols

My Classical Mythology students absolutely loved the performance. I had several students come up to me both the day after and even at the end of the semester and tell me how much they enjoyed it. I think you did a great job of bringing to life the content we had been discussing in class and offering it up in another medium, one more closely to how the Greeks themselves would have enjoyed it

Jonathan Mannering

Whether to an audience of expert Homerists or fans of excellent musicianship, Joe Goodkin's interpretation of the Odyssey provides fresh insight into the poem's meaning and mode. Joe offers unique access to the experience of the bardic tradition as he conjures an atmosphere of the epic distance between our technologized times and the furthest recesses of collective memory.

Lynne Kvapil

Joe Goodkin enraptured a crowd of students and community members at Butler University with his songs and an engaging Q & A session after the performance. Students were raving about the experience for the rest of the semester, and we can’t wait to have him back!

Michael Nerdahl

Joe's performance of the Odyssey is enjoyably moving and offers many pleasant and thoughtful aspects for audience interpretation. And Joe himself is a gregarious, easygoing performer and conversationalist, enthusiastic in his discussion of Muses both modern and ancient.