Homeric poetry is rooted in song and song-culture. Joe Goodkin's powerful renditions of episodes from the Odyssey, shaped in his highly personal, riveting musical idiom, recover an essential feature of archaic Greek epic: its lyric-like emotional grip and feel, the immediacy of a live narrative voice. Joe's Odyssey—and his rhapsodic travels to perform it—make for the closest thing we might now have to Homer.  ”

— Richard P. Martin, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor in Classics

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.”

— Thomas G. Palaima, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN: Armstrong Centennial Professor of Classics

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.”

— Kathleen M. Coleman, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: James Loeb Professor of the Classics

When we think of the act of Homeric reception and interpretation, we often contemplate Sappho's "Wedding of Andromache and Hektor", Pindar's dismissal of Homer's Odysseus, or, more recently, Derek Walcott's Omeros or Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad. We too often forget that reception and interpretation happened first in performance, as an artist and audience reflect on a tradition together. Joe Goodkin's Songs from the Odyssey provide modern audiences with the opportunity to think about how a song and its themes are made real in the world and how each of us is constantly engaged in the creation of the "newest song". No less important is how Goodkin's performance creates a different kind of space for the contemplation of Homer's Odyssey and the impact of song. Even those of us who have read Homer for years have much to gain from hearing these songs anew. And these experience comes with an important plus: Goodkin's songs are crafted from challenging and fascinating lyrics and articulated with haunting melodies by a talented musician”

— Joel Christensen, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: Associate Professor of Classical Studies

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.”

— Michael Fontaine, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Professor of Classics

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!”

— Patricia Rosenmeyer, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN AT MADISON: Professor of Classics

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.”

— Timothy Joseph, COLLEGE OF THE HOLY CROSS: Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics

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.”

— Roger Travis, UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT: Associate Professor of Classics

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.”

— Geoff Bakewell, RHODES COLLEGE: L. Palmer Brown Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Professor of Greek and Roman Studies

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.”

— Alexandra Pappas, SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIV: Raoul Bertrand Chair in Classics

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.”

— Mark Usher, UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: Professor and Classics Department Chair