On July 15, a special visit by the POEMobile, projections of poems on the side of the Hell Gate Bridge, and performances of poetry and music marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Greece’s Nobel Laureate Odysseas Elytis. New York’s Greek-American poetry community honored its cultural heritage with SING IN ME, O MUSE!, a performance of poetry, music and dance at the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, Stathakion Center located at 22-51 29th St., Astoria, on July 15, 8 p.m., sponsored by Bowery Arts + Science, City Lore, and the Federation.
An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry Editor Dean Kostos, Yale Younger Poets Award winner Nicholas Samaras, Penelope Karageorge and Sylvia Mouzourou read their poems on the subjects of love, longing, homeland and exile accompanied by building-sized projections of text from their poems. The poems were projected from the roof of the POEMobile, a hand-painted truck and traveling cinema of words, onto the exterior of the Federation’s headquarters in Astoria and the Hell Gate Bridge.
Additional projections included the poems of Elytis himself as well as Sappho, Aeschylus, Ritsos, and Cavafy, accompanied by traditional music by the Greek Folk Ensemble. The Greek-American Folklore Society then performed two sets of dances, one from the mainland and one from the islands. Poetry was in classical and modern Greek, with the projections morphing into English translations.