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Exploring the Intersection of Art and Words with Claire Barwise

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” -Edgar Degas

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Time & Location








Exploring the Intersection of Art and Words with Claire Barwise

This is a 6-meeting virtual class using the Zoom platform.

Mondays, Oct 14, 21, 28, Nov 4, 11, 18 

6:30-8 pm CT

About this class:

“[O]ne black-haired tree slips / up like a drowned woman into the hot sky…” So begins Anne Sexton’s electrifying poem “The Starry Night.” No matter how many times you’ve seen Van Gogh’s masterwork, Sexton’s poem will make you see it with new eyes. Ekphrastic literature, derived from the Greek words "ek" (out) and "phrazein" ("to point out or explain"), refers to the vivid description of visual art through words. It captures the essence, emotions, and intricacies of artwork, breathing life into static images.

Through a curated selection of texts and artworks spanning different periods, cultures, and genres, we will explore the dynamic interplay between visual imagery and written narratives. From masters such as W.H. Auden to contemporary voices such as Ocean Vuong, from classical paintings to avant-garde installations, each session will offer a rich and thought-provoking exploration of both visual art and written expression. Join us in seeing how words illuminate art and art breathes life into words, forging connections across time, space, and imagination. No prior knowledge of art or literature is required—only a curiosity for discovery and a passion for creativity.

Instructor bio:

Claire Barwise holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature. Her work has appeared in The Minnesota Review, Feminist Modernist Cultures, and Modern Fiction Studies. She currently lives and teaches in Philadelphia, PA.

HND Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota. However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally. Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University. To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

Humanities North Dakota classes and events are funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities

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