Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Classics Are Cool in UNM Prof's Class.

Byline: Scott Sandlin Journal Staff Writer

Pop culture serves as a window to the timeless themes of Roman, Greek literature in these popular courses

Not for nothing does Monica Cyrino hail from Los Angeles. She not only wears cool shoes, but also gives good box office.

Wired to a tiny microphone, Cyrino paces, mugs and cracks jokes. She is small, wears her naturally curly reddish hair long and punctuates her rapid-fire riffs on classical topics with comic exaggerations and frequent asides. "Just kidding," she says. "Just kidding."

Cyrino at 38 is the youngest department chair at the University of New Mexico, named last summer to head Foreign Languages and Literatures. But first and foremost, she is a classics scholar with a penchant for popular culture.

It's the latter she hones to advantage in classes on Greek civilization and that other classical tradition, the study of Rome.

Talking about love as a recurrent theme in Greek poetry, she works in a Viagra joke. …

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