Cavafy: Poet of the City

“Mr. Simonides did a fantastic job of engaging the audience; he accomplished the difficult task of being entertaining and still teaching us a ton on the matter. His voice immediately caught my attention and made me interested in whatever he had to say. His ability to talk on the spot went hand in hand with his intricate comprehension of the subject, and it made it so much easier to get really interested in the poetry.”

Devyn Greenberg, 10th grade

“When you read the poems on paper there isn’t much drama, but after hearing Mr. S give a dramatic reading of them, they come alive in a way that I couldn’t have imagined before.”

David Sucherman, 12th grade

“Mr. S was engaging, passionate and incredibly knowledgeable. His performance was not just informative but incredibly enjoyable, and his love of Cavafy came through in every poem he read. He is a fantastic orator and a joy to watch, and his skilled and thought provoking performance made the poet come to life. He went above and beyond the call of duty by patiently answering questions and conveying the deeper meanings in all of Cavafy’s works, and I would be delighted to see him perform again and again. A treat for all, not just for classics and poetry enthusiasts!”

Dani Bernstein, 10th grade

“He has an amazing voice and a vivacious and eccentric character that makes him a delight to watch.”

Kate Sugg, 12 grade

“The emotion with which he read the poems was one of the things that made the experience so special. He read the words in such a way that they seemed real and living, though they were a hundred years old, and some poems were in ancient Greek and yet I could understand them through the tones of his voice. He was very knowledgeable about each question we bombarded him with. I highly recommend him.”

Joe Polsky, 7th grade

“This presentation was truly the best I have ever seen. We are fortunate to have such an orator speak. He has a wonderful reading voice and is an all around genius.”

Kolbein Finsnes, 7th grade

“Yannis Simonides provided an unforgettable experience that changed my view of poetry, Greece, and how true the messages hidden in the ancient texts are. I left the presentation feeling truly inspired and with renewed energy for the classics. Simonides’ tone of voice and power when speaking took what might have been a very boring reading into something memorable. I left the presentation and continued to talk about what I had heard, which in and of itself is a grand feat because to interest a student once class is over is hard. Truly one of the better scholarly experiences I have ever had in my life, and I hope that I get to listen to more of him in the future.”

Randy Peralta, 10th grade

“My mom arranged to have Mr. Simonides come perform at her school. I came along, as something to do on my spring break, and was actually completely awestruck. He performed a number of Cavafy’s poems, switching between English and Greek, pausing to explain the confusing historical allusions, and made clever connections between the poems and their Homeric origins. The way he acts out literature is truly amazing. But aside from that, based on the way he led a discussion afterwards and fielded everyone’s questions at the end, he’s ingenious. I really can’t talk him up enough.”

Melanie Graf, Boston College student

“Yannis Simonides brilliantly and seamlessly blended an evocative dramatic reading with insightful and animated commentary on the poems and on Cavafy himself. With energy and passion, he connected with his audience. After he engaged the students and teachers in a very lively question and answer period, everyone left profoundly moved by the entire presentation and inspired to read more of Cavafy’s poetry.”

Denise Graf, Teacher of Latin and Greek