What if you are a beautiful young woman, but you’ve been cursed to live in a hideous body until the best man in England marries you of his own free will? In your ugly form? He can’t be told you’ve been cursed. He can’t know you are beautiful.

The problem with enacting characters is that their emotions come with them. Oh, sure, they’re just fictions, I know. Crafted phantoms of the muse. Still, if you’re speaking the words of the Dame Ragnell, who’s been enchanted into that hideous body, and she’s about to undo the spell by having tricked Sir Gawain of Camelot into voluntarily agreeing to marry her, then portraying her in this moment is not easy.

Because how this man reacts, now, as you both disrobe on your wedding night, either means freedom and joy for you both, or tragic failure.

Only he can dispel your terrible duality.

But only if he says the right words.

He has no idea of the pleasures that await him if he does.

So what if, in his innocence and his chivalry, he says those words?

And you become your beautiful self again?

Well, right around then, it’s time to cry a few tears.

So here I am, the performer. Odds Bodkin. I’m the master of the scene and the voices. It’s my job to control them and deliver them to the audience, along with the surging music at this point of The Dame Ragnell tale, found in Chaucer and Chretien de Troyes. Ah, but it’s tricky, because if the Dame Ragnell’s emotions get too far into me and I’m not really careful about it, I too start to weep uncontrollably right along with her. Just break down in sobs.

This can be very embarrassing and unprofessional, as you can imagine.

I dread this moment of the show. If I don’t thread the needle and control my own emotions about the whole thing, my tear ducts release and suddenly I can’t see the guitar or the audience and the whole thing goes to hell in a hand basket.

This has happened before. This is a very challenging story to tell.

Still, I’ll be telling it yet again, or at least trying to, at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA on Feb. 10th. By far the most liquid and wondrous 12-string guitar music I’m capable of playing backs it up.

Wish me luck.


Worlds Apart: Tales for Lovers

Odds Bodkin

Feb 10, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA

Tickets $15

WORLDS APART: Tales for Lovers at Grendel’s Den…Feb. 10 at 5:30 pm

Sir Gawain is not only handsome beyond words, he’s a humble and gentle man in his day-to-day dealings with women. On the male side of the equation, however, he’s a powerful knight, feared in combat, who may well kill you if he has reason to.

As his code of chivalry demands, he treats women with the utmost deference, thinking of them as sacred beings. As he passes by, the young women of Camelot catch their breath and swoon. They all think of him as “the best man in England”. For that time and place, he might well be.

But as King Arthur’s best friend, his loyalty is about to be tested. In order to save Arthur’s life, Gawain is about to promise to marry a woman–sight unseen—who he’s been told by Arthur is the ugliest, foulest, smelliest woman on earth. Hideous beyond belief. The antithesis of feminine beauty.

Still, Gawain promises to marry her.

The Dame Ragnell is a six-hundred-year-old story Odds Bodkin tells with character voices and music on 12-string guitar. Although it’s filled with laughs, it speaks to eternal questions of love and beauty, and asks the most dangerous question of all: “What does a woman desire most?”

It’s one of two love tales I’ll be telling for WORLDS APART: TALES FOR LOVERS at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m.


Worlds Apart: Tales for Lovers

An Adult Storytelling for Valentine’s Day with Odds Bodkin

Sunday, February 10th at 5:30 p.m.

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square


Bear, Deformed Giant or Wolf-Beast? What did Grendel Look Like?

In the latest Hollywood version of Beowulf, Grendel is a deformed giant with golden highlights. As somewhat human, maybe he deserves our sympathy, despite his cannibalistic tastes.

However, in my adult storytelling version of the tale, BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, both he and his mother are considerably more bestial.

In some depictions I’ve seen on book covers, Grendel is round and furry, almost like a bear. Since “the Beowulf poet” who wrote the tale but who’s identity remains a mystery, left few clues about Grendel’s appearance, I’ve opted for a wolf beast, eighteen feet tall, with matted fur that swarms with flies.

Like other characters in the tale, he’s got a distinct voice, although he cannot speak in human tongue. Still, through his roars and growls, you can tell what he’s thinking.

Come hear Grendel speak and see if you think I’ve been able to pull it off. The show is this Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 at 8 p.m. at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH.

Scored throughout on 12-string guitar, this is an adult storytelling with graphic violence. No children, please.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.



Odds Bodkin

Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 at 8 p.m.

Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar, Nashua NH

Flaming Oil on Beowulf’s Shield

The Fire Drake’s tongue is grooved down the middle, like a channel for the flaming oil it pours onto Beowulf’s mead hall, and during his final battle with it, onto Beowulf himself. This dragon doesn’t spew flames across distances. Instead, it hovers overhead and pours them. As he crouches beneath the extra-wide bronze shield he’s ordered made, since he knows a linden wood shield will just burn, Beowulf begins to cook anyway.

You must admit, most FX Hollywood dragons act like flying WWII flamethrowers these days; we’ve all seen them. But in my telling of the epic, the physics of heavy dragon oil, ignited at the tip of its tongue and impossible to put out, just seems all the more horrible because it’s viscous, like liquid napalm.

This scene occurs at the very end of BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, which I’ll be performing this coming Friday night, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m. at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. It’s a great intimate venue with a fabulous sound system that deepens the 12-string guitar to a kind of polite thunder, so if you feel like taking in some mythic storytelling instead of your usual Friday night fare, join me.

Great food and a great bar, too. An adult storytelling.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.


Odds Bodkin


Jan. 18, 2019 at 8 p.m.

Riverwalk Café and Music Bar

Nashua, NH

Photo by Simon Brooks.

One Story? Two Hours Long? Yes, and It’s One Week Away

One story? Two hours? Yes, that’s how long it takes to tell BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE. Add on a historical introduction and an intermission and you’ve got a full evening’s entertainment for adult listeners.

A week from today I’ll be at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH (usually an intimate venue for bands and singers) for my annual telling of Beowulf. No poetry, just characters, live music and narration. So grab a ticket, plan on dinner and drinks, and come enjoy this vivid tale!


Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 at 8 p.m.

The Riverwalk Music Bar, Nashua NH


Tickets $12 in advance, $15 at the door

Odds Bodkin tells THE ODYSSEY in South Windsor CT Sunday Jan. 13

Wapping Community Church in South Windsor, CT will host Odds’ performance THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 4 p.m.

While playing Celtic harp, Odds will offer background on Homer, ancient Greek Singers of Tales and Bronze Age spirituality before telling the tale itself with a score on 12-string guitar.

Voices for Odysseus, his men, the Lotus Eaters and Polyphemus the cannibal cyclops are all part of the fun.

Tickets are $15, $40 per family, and can be reserved by calling Wapping Community Church at 860-644-0833.


BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE Friday January 18th in Nashua, NH

Odds Bodkin returns to the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH at 8 pm on Jan. 18, 2019 to perform BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, an evening of adult storytelling with live music.

Bodkin’s storyteller’s version of this earliest known work in English cleaves closely to the original poem about the Geatish hero, Beowulf. How when a beast, Grendel, begins to terrorize the land of the Danes, Beowulf and his thanes journey there on a mission of gratitude. Beowulf’s mission: to kill the towering, wolf-like beast and free the Danes from their nightmare.

But things go from bad to worse.

The telling includes a literary and historical introduction accompanied with Celtic harp and the feature-length tale itself, scored with 12-string guitar and performed with character voices and vocal effects.

“a modern-day Orpheus”–Billboard


TICKETS $12 in advance, $15 at the door.



BEOWULF on Friday, Jan. 18 at the Riverwalk Music Bar in NH/Adult Storytelling

Odds Bodkin returns to the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH on Friday Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. to perform his epic tale, BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE.

The feature-length tale, scored throughout on 12-string guitar, closely mirrors the original Beowulf poem but is told in modern prose English with characters and sound effects.

Odds also includes an introduction to Viking life along the Baltic Sea in the times of Beowulf, scored with Celtic harp.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

An adult storytelling performance.

THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST in South Windsor, CT on Sunday Jan. 13

Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin will perform The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast, his renowned modern-language version of Homer’s epic, on Sunday January 13, 2019 at 4 p.m. at Wapping Community Church in South Windsor, Connecticut.

The 80-minute show features an introduction to Homer’s Bronze Age world performed with Celtic harp.

Then, with a full score on 12-string guitar and characters, Bodkin tells the tale of Odysseus, from the Trojan Horse to the cave of the ravenous cyclops.

Tickets are $15 or $40 family price. Cash or checks only.

Appropriate for children 10 and up.

Call 860-644-0833 to reserve your seat.

Called “a consummate storyteller” by the New York Times and “a modern-day Orpheus” by Billboard, Bodkin’s bardic storytelling style is unique among spoken-word artists.




Just a few tickets remain for Odds Bodkin’s performance of Viking myths and lore tomorrow night at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA, so grab yours now while they last!


Sunday, Jan. 6th at 5 p.m. on Harvard Square.

Drink like a Viking.

Feast like a Viking.

But just don’t behave like one.

Why? Because this crowd has come to listen to Celtic harp, 12-string guitars and Odds Bodkin’s crazy voices for dwarves, Norse gods and giants.



Like merch? These will be available after the show!







Warming Up for Viking Tales


“Autonomic” is a word that means you can do it without having to think about it.

In order to have this guitar theme “autonomic” for a Viking myths performance this coming Sunday, in this video I’m rehearsing it, essentially lighting up its old neural networks like turning on all the lights at an abandoned amusement park. Suddenly, there’s the Ferris Wheel, right where it was the last time.

It’s just made of music.

The show is ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS. Location: Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square in Cambridge MA.  Date: Jan. 6, 2019. Time: 5 p.m.


If you know any adults who enjoy mythic storytelling, please share this post!