Encountering the Muses: Conversations at the Athens Centre Poetry Workshop, June 2011

Linda Lappin | January 2012

The Athens Centre is a unique cultural and educational institution dedicated to the arts and letters, located in the cradle of western civilization: Athens, Greece. Three friends who dreamed of creating an environment where international poets, writers, artists, actors, and scholars of classical and contemporary Greek culture could come together and share their talents with each other and the world founded it forty years ago. The Athens Center is remarkable for the quality of its teachers and lecturers, the diversification of its programs and interests, and for its longevity. Despite the many difficulties in administrating and developing cultural programs at a time when few funds are available for the arts, the Athens Centre continues to thrive and attract a steady stream of students of all ages and in several disciplines. It is also home to one of the longest-running summer writing workshops in Europe: the Muses Workshop, a three-week poetry workshop normally held in June.

Since the early '70s, the Athens Centre has offered an international poetry workshop every summer , hosting some of the greatest names in American and English poetry: Allen Ginsberg, W.H. Auden, James Merrill. Today the Muses Workshop is conducted by Alicia Stallings, an American poet transplanted to Greece, classics scholar, recipient of the Richard Wilbur poetry prize, acclaimed translator from Ancient and Modern Greek, a Guggenheim fellow, and recently a recipient of a MacArthur fellowship.
In June 2011, as protests and riots over the austerity measures proposed in the Greek Parliament echoed through Constitution Square, I spent a week at the Athens Centre, attending Stallings's workshop. While in Athens, I had an opportunity to speak at length with Rosemary Donnelly, one of the founders of the center and current program director; with A.E. Stallings, poetry workshop leader; and with my fellow participants about this challenging workshop.

The Athens Centre is located in Mets, a quiet tree-lined neighborhood, where it occupies a charming neo-classical building with spiral staircases, curious corners, marble antiquities, and half a dozen classrooms.

A Talk with Rosemary Donnelly

Linda Lappin: It's all very impressive: the location, the building, the program of activities. So how did it all start? How did you come to Greece in the first place?

Rosemary Donnelly: I was a literature major in college and I'd always wanted to travel, especially to Europe. So when I graduated in 1963 from Marquette University, a friend and I booked passage on a steamer from New York to Rotterdam, and then we hitch hiked all over Europe and beyond. After the trip, I returned to work in the U.S., and then came back to Greece in 1967, intending to stay six months. I've been here ever since.
Athens in those days was an exciting place to live, with a rich intellectual life of artists, poets, and scholars. I met many fascinating people, including John Zervos who, along with Chris Gear, was to become a partner in this undertaking. I also had the opportunity to meet Alan Ansen, poet, linguist, and scholar, former secretary to W.H. Auden, and friend of the Beat poets, who was living in Athens at the time. It was at one of his parties that I met Allen Ginsberg and W.H. Auden. Alan was a real character. He was a bit awkward, bumbling. I remember him juggling glasses of martinis and dropping ice cubes on the floor, and bending down to scoop them up and plop them back into his glass! It was on one of those evenings when I found myself surrounded by painters, poets, sculptors, actors, musicians, that I thought we really just had to do something to bring all those people together, to create a venue where they could work with aspiring young writers, actors, musicians.
So Zervos, Gear, and I decided to start a summer arts program-out on the island of Aegina about an hour by ferry from Athens.

Lappin: Isn't Aegina the home of Greek poet Katerina-Anghelaki Rooke ? Was she involved with the Centre? I know her work from my Iowa days. Back in the '70s, she was connected with the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa where I worked as a translation assistant. I believe she is now considered to be one of the greatest living Greek poets, as well as a very fine translator of Greek poetry into English, including her own.

Donnelly: Yes, Anghelaki–Rooke has participated frequently in our initiatives over the years , doing readings and lectures here at the center. And so did Tassos Denegris, another major Greek poet, who recently passed away.

Lappin: Yes, I was sad to hear he had died. He was also at the IWP while I was a grad student... So you started out on Aegina ...

Donnelly: None of us had ever had any experience organizing writing workshops or academic programs. That first summer we set up at the Hotel Miranda, offering workshops in poetry, sculpture, painting, and theater. It was an enormous success. We had forty enrollments and the first person to sign up was Homer Nicholson from Athens, Georgia, and we took his name as a good omen. The next year we had eighty.

Lappin: To cite a well-known myth, it sounds like the Athens Centre sprang from your brow-from your mental energies and inspiration, just like Athena from the brow of Zeus! Three founders too – that's a perfect mystic number...
Looking at the list of writers who participated as teachers and lecturers, I see you had a stellar line-up right from the start. Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, James Merrill, Alan Ansen, Irving Stone, translators and scholars Edmund Keeley and Kimon Friar, Buckminster Fuller as a lecturer. And now poet Alicia Stallings who is the coordinator and teacher of the summer poetry program.

Donnelly: Yes in those early years, Alan Ansen and Gregory Corso were the poets-in-residence. Alan Ansen was a wonderful teacher. I remember once-though it may seem hard to believe, there was a person at one of his salon gatherings who didn't know who Shakespeare was and he asked Alan "Who is this Shakespeare you keep talking about?" Alan didn't bat an eye, and very simply and seriously replied, "He is a very famous poet" without making that person feel in any way inferior for his lack of knowledge.
Then from Aegina, we moved the summer arts program to the island of Spetses in 2001, and then in 2009 to Athens, here in Mets, hoping that the more central location would attract more participants. We also wanted to offer more activities for the participants, including visits to the Acropolis, to museums, Athens Festival events, concerts, and other things the city offers. However, we also organize a poetry class on an island during the three-week workshop, so students get a taste of that as well.

Lappin: The activities of the Athens Centre are quite diversified and now include summer theater, art, and poetry workshops, along with year round programs for Modern Greek language, and semesters in Greece with which you partner with various US and international universities, including Penn State University, University of Chicago, and University of Oregon.

Donnelly: Right now, we have a group of mathematicians from Tarleton State University in Texas studying History of Mathematics in Ancient Greece. They look at the classical sites from a math point of view in addition to the historical and aesthetic emphasis. We had never done anything like that before, but we are always open to new things. We don't really have a formal mission statement, except we believe strongly in the importance of studying abroad. Getting to know another culture and language is an indispensable part of higher education and of life.

Lappin: Getting back to The Muses Workshop-who are your participants? Native English speaking writers who want to spend a study-vacation in Greece? Greek-American writers wanting to connect with their roots? Americans living in Greece and Europe? Greek writers who speak and write in English? Writers like me looking for a fresh approach to their own work?

Donnelly: A bit of everyone really. Rarely do we have Greek writers as students in our workshop. But several Greek writers and scholars have participated by lecturing, teaching, and giving readings, and also Greek-American writers living here in Athens, like Adrianne Kalfopoulou and Sofka Zinovieff. The workshop attracts writers of very different levels-with little or no experience, and other published writers who come to work with Alicia Stallings because they know her work, or because they are attracted to the Greek setting, or especially interested in myths and mythology.

Lappin: Yes, that was certainly my case. I was very intrigued by the emphasis on myth as presented in Alicia's program description. I have been researching the spirit or soul of place, the genius loci so dear to the Ancient Romans and Etruscans, for several years now and have been working on a writing book based on this material. Myths and mythology fit right in with this research. I also teach literary travel writing to students in a study abroad program in Italy, where they are surrounded by Renaissance and Baroque art and culture, which of course are pervaded by references to classical culture and pagan myths. I was hoping for some new ideas for the class. I must say, I haven't been disappointed. I'll be coming away with lots of ideas on how to use myths in the classroom.

Donnelly : The Muses' Workshop attracts university students trying to write poetry for the first time, published poets, and teachers of creative writing. With Alicia Stallings, the teachers learn techniques they can use in class with their students, and high school teachers of creative writing who do the program can use the workshop towards recertification in the U.S. Sometimes they can get funding from their schools and local education boards to participate. I wish we had funds to offer everyone a scholarship, but we don't.

Lappin: I was reading that the Athens Centre receives no public funding of any kind. You're pretty much on your own with the help of your partner institutions.

Donnelly: In the past we had funding from United States Information Service or the National Endowment for the Humanities for one or two programs or cultural events, but basically we have to depend entirely on tuition fees to fund our programs.

Lappin: This year's Muses' Poetry Workshop is only going on for one very intense week, when in the past it lasted three weeks.

Donnelly: Yes enrollments were down this year. The news of the economic crisis in Greece, with strikes and demonstrations in Constitution Square probably put some people off.

Lappin: It was a bit daunting to read that 50,000 people were demonstrating in the square and that police and demonstrators had come to blows. I have avoided that area of Athens since I have been here, and I haven't really seen much trace of the civil unrest which has been such a major news story. I must say, all of the news footage I saw in Italy before leaving emphasized the violence and tear gas, but in some photos Adrianne Kalfopoulou took of the demonstrations it all looked more like a Greek version of Woodstock. It certainly wasn't as bad as news reports had led me to believe.

Donnelly : If you avoid that area of town you probably won't even know anything is going on. Also, strikes are announced in advance, so you can plan around them if necessary. None of our students or teachers have felt the least bit unsafe here in Athens.

Lappin: I have heard that other writing programs and workshops abroad have been hit hard by the recent economic crisis and dwindling of funds. WICE, the association that has organized the summer Paris Writers Workshop had to relocate to smaller premises some time ago. I also saw that Compendium Books, the wonderful bookstore which once was Athens equivalent to Paris's Shakespeare & Company has changed hands, and no longer functions as a magnet for local writers and venue for readings.

Donnelly: I have to say we organize readings and lectures all year round and we do have a committed and numerous audience, which continues to grow.

Lappin: As a long-time resident of Greece, you have witnessed some key moments in the history of this country: the Fascist regime under the colonels, the end of that regime in 1974, the elections in 1981 that put Pasok, the socialist party, in power, the entry of Greece into the EU, and now this. Are you worried about the current economic crisis in Greece and Europe affecting your future and the future of the centre?

Donnelly: Well, things can't keep going on as they are now. We can't keep accruing debt. But Greece has pulled through some very hard times. During the war, people were starving in the streets, and it's not as bad as that. I believe that with effort and sacrifice we'll pull ourselves out of the current crisis. I have faith in this country and in its people.

Lappin: Tell me your plans for the future of the Athens Centre.

Donnelly: Sometimes I think of expanding our writing programs, maybe offering memoir or journalism workshops. But I am not sure there is a demand. Most importantly, I want to keep doing what we already do, while remaining open to new ideas.


A Chat with Alicia Stallings, poet, director of the Muses' Workshop

A.E. Stallings

Poet and workshop leader Alicia Stallings, author of The Archaic Smile (University of Evansville Press, 1999, winner Richard Wilbur prize) and Hapax (Northwestern University Press, 2006), talks about the Muses' Workshop and its focus on myth.

Linda Lappin: How long have you been living in Greece?

Alicia Stallings: Twelve years, since 1999.

Lappin: And you've been directing the Muses Workshop at the Athens Center for most of that time?

Stallings: Ten years now. Previously, the program was held on the island of Spetses, but two years ago, we moved it to Athens as the islands were becoming quite expensive. Athens has its own charms-museums, nightlife, beaches, and easy day trips in the vicinity.

Lappin: There's an emphasis on myth and mythology in your workshop, which is indeed dedicated to The Muses. Why?

Stallings: Because we are in Greece, I wanted to use what was around us. Mythology pervades Greek life. My children are named Jason and Atalanta, and their friends on the playground are named Electra, Achilles, Andromeda. It's also a way to enter into contact with modern and contemporary Greek poetry: poets like Cavafy and Seferis make use of mythology. And it's a key to understanding modern life in Greece. It brings together many elements in the classroom. Many of my students have been writing confessional poetry. For them, using myth in different sorts of ways and seeing different examples of myth-based poems introduces a new dimension, and can help open them up to new subject matter.

Lappin: Some people may remember studying the Greek myths or the Odyssey at elementary school, with antiquated Victorian translations, high flown language, or modern bland prose versions. In class, you were saying how important it is to approach this material with fresh eyes and a spirit of innovation.

Stallings: In working with myth, you have to feel free to make variations. You don't have to approach the material in a fusty way, or feel reverent and respectful. Ancient writers didn't feel that way. They experimented and could be both playful and raunchy. You can take the standard story and give yourself permission to play with it. The Greek myths are very contemporary. Consider the story of Phaeton and the chariot of the sun. It's the story of a teenager who has been given the keys to his dad's Porsche and doesn't know how to control it. Or take The Odyssey-among other things, it's the first western.

Lappin You say that Greek myths still pervade contemporary Greek consciousness and Greek life. In the current economic and political crisis, do you see any myths operating?

Stallings I'd have to think about this.

Lappin: I was thinking the other day about the sacrifice of the young Athenians to the Minotaur...

Stallings : Actually, that might make a bit of sense... There is a resonance of events. You need to read the current crisis against a larger backdrop of modern Greek history: the founding of the Greek republic, a sort of colonialism that took place. Some people wondered if Greece was ready for democracy. Loans were made on calamitous terms. In any case, it is a gerontocratic society. Young people have no power, no say, an insecure future. Like Kronos, Greece eats her young.

Lappin: In your own work, are there myths that have shaped your life or your vision of your art?

Stallings: I have written a lot about the underworld. Hades and Persephone. Orpheus and Eurydice. I am fascinated by the Underworld. The classical, pagan view of the afterlife seems much less abstract to me, more real than our Christian heaven and hell.

Lappin: I share your fascination. I find your images of the Underworld extremely striking, particularly in the poems "Hades Welcomes His Bride" and "Persephone Writes a Letter to Her Mother " in Archaic Smile, or "Dogdom of the Dead," and "An Ancient Dog Grave Unearthed During the Construction of the Athens Metro." Especially in the first two poems, you give Hades such vivid physical reality, it's the world of roots and snakes and burrowing right under our feet. In a forum I found on the Internet, you mention that for a while you lived in a basement flat, and that this subterranean environment might have unconsciously influenced you. I'd be interested in hearing more about your fascination for the underworld and its meanings for you.

Stallings: I think if I fully understood my fascination with it, it would subside somewhat. Part of it may be how the dead continue to exist, but as shadows of themselves, like dim but stubborn memories. I like the realness of its geography, how it is a place to be travelled to but not (usually) returned from. I sometimes think, looking back at early poems of mine about the underworld that they are as much about depression as death. But that's an idea that has only come to me lately. And I think writing about the underworld is fun, too, as well as frightening.

Lappin: You're a classics scholar and a great admirer of the Odyssey, which you use in your writing classes at the Muses Workshop. I was wondering how you relate to one of its main themes: exile or dislocation. What's the hardest thing you have had to deal with as an expat writer?

Stallings: Losing track of American vernacular and being out of touch with popular culture. You're not watching the same television shows, keeping up with the same trends.

Lappin: That might not be bad for an artist.

Stallings: Of course, yet sometimes I find myself re-reading a line I have written and will ask myself, "would someone really say that?" You have to keep in touch with the language. As an expat and also as a mother you are isolated.

Lappin: Elsewhere you have described yourself as a "Mommy poet."

Stallings: I am. With small children it's a struggle to find time and quiet in which to work.

Lappin: Do you feel part of the American writing community, the poetry community?

Stallings: With social media, internet, Facebook, Skype, it's easy to be included in the conversation and to keep in touch. But it's also good to be independent of it all.

Lappin: Do you return often to the US?

Stallings: I have been four times in the last six months! Thrice for work and once for family. We have our Christmas in the states. Christmas isn't a big deal in Greece-Easter is the major holiday here. My children enjoy having an American Christmas. In early June I was in West Chester, Pennsylvania where I teach at a poetry conference centered on technique and narrative.

Lappin: Do you ever think of returning to live in the US permanently?

Stallings: Sometimes. But I am glad my children are growing up here for the moment. It's like the '50s. It's safe. We live in a neighborhood where people are nosey, they look out for your kids. Children can go to the store and buy milk or go off on their own somewhere without their parents having to be obsessed with crime, worrying about something terrible happening to the children, as happens in the US. Children still have their innocence here. I am also glad they are growing up bilingual. They're lucky because they'll have an option. There's currently no future for young people here in Greece.

Lappin: That's a very strong statement! You don't think the situation might improve?

Stallings: I hope it will. But it might take a generation. The Greeks are resilient. They've been through worse.

Lappin: Do you teach elsewhere in Athens or Greece?

Stallings: I run this workshop (normally 3 weeks in summer) and teach at some workshops/ residencies in the US. I do a lot of literary translation, and also some of what I call "hack work" –reviews, articles, essays. I am a professional writer. If someone says, write me a 500 word blog on Greek food and pays me, I'll do it. After all, I have to pay my Bulgarian baby sitter who looks after my children when I am teaching or when I need time to write! But both writing and translation take time and energy away from my main work.

Lappin: In this very intense week of the Muses Workshop, we've worked a lot with rhyme and form: sonnets, sestinas, pantoums, and villanelles. Would you elaborate a bit about your emphasis on form in your writing classes?

Stallings: I run a poetry boot camp! Many people misunderstand the use of form and think it entails submitting to restrictions. But instead it means giving up control. Not submitting to restrictions, but to destiny or chance that helps choose the next word. Rhyme is also an engine of syntax. And it helps make lines memorable.

Lappin: What writers do you read for inspiration?

Stallings: Among many others, Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur, Don Paterson, Seamus Heaney. And ancient writers. My favorite poet is A.E. Housman.

Lappin: You have translated both texts of classical antiquity as well as modern Greek poetry, and have received a grant for your translation work. In class you said that translating was a form of very close reading, and a way to know another writer's work intimately. Aside from Cavafy or other early modernists, are there any contemporary Greek poets whom you have translated whose work you find especially inspiring?

Stalling: I suppose you could include Angelos Sikelianos in the early modernists? There are many wonderful contemporary Greek poets. Interestingly, two of the most prominent are women: Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke and Kiki Dimoula. I have not, however, attempted to translate any living writers. (Indeed, Anghelaki-Rooke translates herself!) I suppose one advantage of working with a living writer is you could pose queries to them. But the disadvantage is you might not like the answers.

Lappin: In class, we looked at the many hand written and typed drafts of Elizabeth Bishop's famous villanelle, The Art of Losing, which I believe went through eleven drafts. Do you think word processing has made the labor of writing poetry easier-not having to retype every fresh revision? Do you work with a word processor or write long hand?

Stallings: Some people have a fetishistic approach-they have to use a certain pen, etc. I am not like that. People need different things. I write long hand and then on the computer. I actually have some theories about using computers to write poetry. I think that looking at a back-illuminated screen ties up your visual attention in a way that looking at a page doesn't. I always print out and revise on the printed page. Sometimes in revision, you can lose a certain freshness, and if you've just deleted blocks of text, it's hard to go back and find your earlier versions. I tell my students to always keep a copy of their earlier versions.

Lappin: You'll be bringing out a new book soon...

Stallings: Yes, it's called OLIVES-which can also be O LIVES.
It is forthcoming with Northwestern University Press, and should be out early in 2012.

Lappin: A word of advice to writers?

Stallings: You have to give yourself permission to write bad poetry. Clean the brown water out of the pipes. It's often in revision that a poem goes from bad to good or from good to great.


Talking myth with workshop participants

Jessica Bell, A.E. Stallings, and Mary Vogel

I enrolled in the Muses' Workshop specifically because I am interested in working with myths, archetypes, and mythology in my writing, and I found Stallings approach refreshing, and I was wondering how other participants related to it. I spoke briefly with three participants at the 2011 workshop: Mary Vogel, who has only just recently begun writing seriously; Jessica Bell, an Australian novelist, poet, and singer-songwriter, author of Twisted Velvet Chains and String Bridge, a novel forthcoming in the US from Lucky Press; and Adrianne Kalfopoulou, poet and nonfiction writer who has helped with some sessions of the poetry workshop, author of Broken Greek and two poetry collections, Wild Greens and Passion Map both from Red Hen Press.

Linda Lappin: Talk about ancient myths pervading Greek life! While in Athens, I bought some handmade pasta from Crete, attracted probably by the picture of a Minoan snake goddess on the label. Opening the package, I discovered not only some recipes for pasta sauces, but a paragraph of explanation on the Great Mother goddess and her connection to wheat, from which, or course, the pasta was made... so here in Greece mythology makes itself felt even in the kitchen- in humble aspects of daily existence. That's actually what intrigues me most: the connections between myths, poetry, and everyday experience.
Had you ever worked with myths and mythology before enrolling in this workshop? Is there a particular myth or body of myths you relate to personally? Do you incorporate myths in your poetry and fiction?

Mary Vogel: I am also very interested in mythology and do use it in my poetry and short stories. It's hard not to be influenced by mythology living in Greece. I have used different mythological characters/themes in poems and liked that the workshop offered a special emphasis on it. The lessons from mythology are still very appropriate today. As far as myths with special meaning for me... I can definitely relate to Tantalus- the things he wanted desperately were always just out of his reach and tortured him. Two themes I use a lot in my writing that can be found throughout mythology are; how my characters sabotage themselves through their own decisions and the reoccurring theme of hope. As Zeus said in Homer's Odyssey, "What a lamentable thing it is that men should blame the gods and regard us as the source of their troubles, when it is their own wickedness that brings them sufferings worse than any which Destiny allots them." By making the wrong decisions, the characters in my stories and some poems affect the outcome of their lives. They have no one else to blame but themselves for their bad twists of fate. I think just about everyone has made decisions in their lives that they regret and can relate to this. As for hope, well, everyone needs hope, don't they?

Jessica Bell: I took a Myth & Ideology course in college, but it wasn't focused on only Greek myth. It also focused on modern fairy tales such as Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber. Regarding Greek myth, I'm fascinated with Cassandra. I suppose I relate to her because of the sense of powerlessness she has when no one believes her prophecies. Sometimes I feel powerless in this world. Misunderstood. I think many writers feel this way.

Adrianne Kalfopoulou: Like Linda, I too love the way so much of the mythic is interleaved with the daily in Greece; from people's names to those of restaurants and streets, to the New Year ritual of breaking a pomegranate in an entranceway (which is also done after the purchase of a house or shop) to inaugurate a new (lucky) beginning. In so many ways contemporary Greece and its rituals are legacies of a pagan, ancient past that have almost seamlessly continued into the present; like the strange fireworks that (often dangerously) go off after the Easter resurrection of the midnight mass which have their roots in an ancient ritual of making loud noises to ward off "the evil eye" or any negative/destructive energies. My personal favorite is the myth of Demeter and Persephone since I have a daughter and so many aspects of that myth resonate. It's also a myth I find myself weaving into essays and poems, but it surfaces unexpectedly and sometimes very differently from how I might have used it in a previous poem or nonfiction piece.

Lappin: I have also worked a lot with fairy tales-my first novel, The Etruscan, has an animal groom motif worked into the story, typical of fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast, which may have derived from the Greek legend of Eros and Psyche. And like Alicia, I am fascinated by the Underworld, and living in an Etruscan area in Italy where ancient tombs are constantly being discovered in my neighbors' backyards and cellars has enhanced my fascination. Recently I have been working with the Persephone-Demeter myth. I found it interesting how Alicia plays with this myth in some of her poems, adding new twists, as in her poem Hades Welcomes His Bride, viewing Persephone's descent into the Underworld through the eyes of her captor husband, or in Persephone Writes a Letter to Her Mother, where the emphasis is not on Demeter's mourning for her lost daughter, but on Persephone's desire to stay where she is, with Hades.
In Adrianne's poem, "Refusing to be Demeter" which she read to us in class, there was another variation: she emphasized Demeter's refusal to play the role of the grief-stricken mother after her daughter has grown up and come into her own sexuality. Aside from the universal mother–daughter conflict, the myth could also be applied to an individual's inner life, with Persephone representing a suppressed or hidden part of the self. In class, Alicia was discussing Penelope in the Odyssey, as one of the most mysterious characters in the epic, and another resonant female figure recurring in Greek poetry-Katerina-Anghelaki Rooke has some wonderful Penelope poems in her Scattered Papers of Penelope, in which Penelope, isn't knitting or weaving, but writing and erasing, and being erased by others, the fate of many women writers historically. Adrianne, you also have a Penelope poem in Wild Greens, "To Penelope."

Kalfopoulou: Yes, it addresses the ambiguity of Penelope's waiting for Odysseus, and questions the way her wait has been read as fidelity in the long twenty years until his return. Perhaps that's not how it was at all.

Lappin: Are there any other female figures, besides Persephone, Cassandra, and Penelope that have special resonance for you?

Kalfopoulou: There are also less known, but equally resonant muses like "Clotho" the muse of fate, particularly apropos to ways one could read contemporary Athens, or "Melpomene," a wonderful name, for the muse of, literally "melodious" pain, the Muse of Tragedy who interestingly is also the Muse of dance and song which suggests another paradox about the Greeks, that continues to this day: the tragedies of life are also the sources of what produces some of the life's deepest truths, there to celebrate with dance and song.

Lappin: That sounds like the right concluding note for our conversation, These archetypes continue to haunt us and guide us in so many ways. This short week, at least for me, has been a hint at initiation into many mysteries I am hoping to pursue. So many thanks to the resident muses who brought us all together.

Alan Ansen

Gregory Corso


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