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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

From Homer to Hip-Hop: Comparative Verbal Arts and the Classical Muse

Justin Arft, Assistant ProfessorArts & Sciences - Classics
While Homer's Iliad and Odyssey hold a preeminent place in the Western literary canon, their form, style, and construction are decidedly oral and traditional. Moreover, oral poetry is one ofthe world's oldest and most complex art forms andremains alive and well in cultures around the globe today. This presentation will give an overview of how we came to see Homer asoral poetry, an insight that not only changed the way Classicsunderstands these monumental ancient epics, but one that continues to invite comparison to oral poetries around the world, from Beowulf to the Basquebertsolaritza to hip hop. A quick peek at Homer's encoded, poetic mechanics lends an appreciation for the artistry of verbals arts, old and new.

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