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Portsmouth book group links vets' lives to 'The Odyssey'

New Hampshire Humanities
December 14. 2017 12:56AM




PORTSMOUTH — New Hampshire Humanities will launch the next in its series of reading and discussion groups, “From Troy to Baghdad: Dialogues on War & Homecoming,” in February in Portsmouth.

Veterans and their adult family members, friends and caregivers — including chaplains, educators and those who coordinate veterans’ groups — are invited to participate in this 10-week reading group that uses Homer’s “The Odyssey” to explore the impact of war and the challenges of homecoming for veterans and their loved ones.

The Portsmouth Public Library, located at 175 Parrott Ave., will host the group on Wednesdays, from Feb. 7 through April 11, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The group is free, and reading materials will be provided at no cost.

The ancient tale of Odysseus’ epic 10-year journey home from the Trojan War has much to say about the challenges of homecoming for today’s veterans and their families and friends.

“The Odyssey” reveals timeless and universal truths about trauma, duty and honor, personal sacrifice, life at home and readjustment.

Facilitators of the group are Stephen Trzaskoma, UNH classics professor; Brendan O’Byrne, student and Afghanistan combat veteran; and Al Porsche, retired counselor and Vietnam combat veteran.

“Coming home from war can be an arduous journey taken often without a clear map to follow or a familiar path to tread,” said Dr. Kathy Mathis, project director. “It’s a road to a home that might have changed taken by people who have changed. ...”

The program is supported by New Hampshire Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Saul O. Sidore Memorial Foundation, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Ella Anderson Trust and the Portsmouth Public Library.

Last year New Hampshire Humanities sponsored 500 free programs reaching 145,407 residents in 153 communities in partnership with 287 organizations.

For more information on the book group, contact New Hampshire Humanities at 224-4071 or kmathis@nhhumanities.org.


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