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Representing Art Within Art

By Kezia Velista

“Please silence your beeping squealing things,” said Honors Program director Jeffrey Portnoy at the beginning of this poetry reading. On April 1, poet Steve Gehrke read some of his work to the Dunwoody campus. He is a published writer, who has won several awards like the John Ciardi prize, Philip Levine prize, and Pushcart prize. His latest book is called Michelangelo’s Seizure.
In it, he writes about legendary painters such as Rene Magritte, Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, and Michelangelo himself. The first few poems he read were about the paintings La Mort de Sardanapale by Eugene Delacroix and Davide con la testa di Golia by Caravaggio.
When asked what she thought of the poems heard, student Ruth Camejo replied, “I really liked the ones that talked about art, because it’s a meditation on what [Gehrke] thinks and he just makes art out of what he sees. He is representing art within his art.”
Other than poems from Michelangelo’s Seizure, he recited a poem called “Prologue—for my daughter.” In it, he doesn’t characterize his daughter, instead Gehrke describes the birth of her backwards into the womb and keeps rewinding until the beginning of time.

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