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Wednesday, February 1, 2023


Works of art cue the words of local writers

UH creative writing student Colin Sturdevant, holds up the work of art that inspired his writing.  |  Courtesy of Erika Andrade

UH creative writing student Colin Sturdevant, holds up the work of art that inspired his writing. | Courtesy of Erika Andrade

The term “ekphrasis” is defined as a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art. Don’t be fooled; often there is so much more to these works of art than just commentary and description.

It was with this notion that UH creative writing student Colin Sturdevant said he wanted to do something along those lines and penned out a title, “Idioms, Images, and Form: An Alternative Ekphrastic Evening.”

The evening came to fruition on Friday at Bacchus Winebar and Coffee Shop with more than half a dozen writers responding to works of art from an equal number of local artists. The event was hosted by Sturdevant and the writer’s collective, Writers’ ReVision.

“We have taken something as old as time and modified it,” Sturdevant said. And added that “An Ode to A Grecian Urn” by Keats is a form of ekphrasis.

“Ekphrastic poetry takes place on a regular basis, and we want to bring it up a notch,” he said.

UH creative writing alumna Erika Andrade presented three pieces.

“I loved writing ekphrastic poetry,” Andrade said. “I think visual art and writing have always complimented each other well — writing always tries to paint a picture.”

Andrade said the provided artwork definitely stirred her imagination and offered inspiration — especially Carolyn Adams’ collage: “Given, with its images of gilded lamps, cars and fashion, which inspired her final piece of the evening, ‘Celebrity Commandments.’”

Andrade wrote: “Be extravagant in your spending: / Buy a mansion to bull doze it. / Keep up with the Kardashians, the Joneses /and don’t stop at envy: /go ahead and sleep with your neighbor’s wife. Gag in your right to self-indulgence.”

Aaron Reynolds, associate professor of English, attended the event and said it was great to see so many students show support  to each other’s work and efforts.

“Not too long ago, this sense of community and camaraderie was woefully lacking,” Reynolds said.

He also added that “hearing them read, it makes me want to go home and get to work on my own projects more.”

Writers’ ReVision aims to “provide Houston’s emerging writers with a forum to share their voice, a foundation to hone their craft, and a community to encourage their enthusiasm.”

For more information on upcoming events, “like” the Writers’ ReVision page on Facebook.

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