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Grand Valley Classics professor to lead local NEH program

Posted on February 07, 2012

A series of local events are included in a major national program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with communities, libraries and theatres. The “Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives: Poetry-Drama-Dialogue” program aims to inspire people to come together to read, see and think about classical literature and how it continues to influence and invigorate American cultural life.

A lecture by Grand Valley State University Classics Professor Diane Rayor is on Wednesday, February 22, from 7-8 p.m., Ryerson Auditorium, Level 3, Grand Rapids Public Library, 111 Library NE.

Rayor, who co-founded Grand Valley’s Classics Department in 2000, most recently translated Sophocles’ Antigone (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Her lecture will use Antigone to illustrate the struggle for justice between individuals and those in power. “I’m excited to team up with the Grand Rapids Public Library and Aquila Theatre to introduce Greek drama to a broad audience,” Rayor said. “Ancient Greek stories, for nearly 2,500 years, have continued to raise questions about human behavior and vital ethical issues.”
In addition, Rayor will lead a reading group at the Grand Rapids Public Library on four consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 7. The program will explore the theme “Strangers in a Strange Land” and includes four books free of charge and snacks during the discussions. Veterans and their families, immigrants and people new to Greek drama are especially encouraged to sign-up.

On April 18, Rayor will also lead a discussion at the Grand Rapids Public Library following a staged reading of scenes from Greek drama by professional actors from Aquila Theatre.

The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call the library at (616) 988-5400. Learn more about the national program at


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