Free Writing Workshops at the Menil Collection: January 25, 2014

Posted January 15, 2014 & filed under Notebook.

Instructor Kent Shaw invites campers to consider a Cy Twombly painting during a Writers In The Schools Summer Camp trip to the Menil Collection. The children used artworks on display as a startinAs part of the Houston Museum Experience extravaganza, Writers in the Schools (WITS) will host two free 30-minute writing workshops at the Menil Collection on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 12:00 noon and at 12:30 PM.

Bring the whole family and stay for a child-friendly Tai Chi class at the Rothko Chapel at 1 PM, a musical performance by Da Camera Young Artists at 2 PM, and afternoon performances by Prokofiev’s Quintet for strings and wind at the Houston Center for Photography.

The House

Posted December 7, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

You are walking through the woods and you see a house. You do not know why it is there and what is inside, but there is something inside you that tells you, you must not enter. There is something else in you that tells you to enter; it could be an adventure.

So you decide to go in and you find the door open. You are a little scared. You go
in and you find chalk marks on the board and you try to erase them, but they do not erase. You look at them.

An hour passes and you are inspired. On one side, you find chalk and you begin to draw with it, and it is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen in your entire life. You become famous. So you use chalk more, and all of the drawings you make are in that house. You continue to stay famous.

by Abigail, 3rd grade (inspired by Cy Twombly at the Menil Collection)

Reflections on a Cy Tombly Painting

Posted January 12, 2011 & filed under Notebook.


It is an explosion of colors.

It has marks and words.

He wrote a poem saying

Goodbye to a country.

Goodbye, beautiful colors.

By Sydney, 6th grade

Twombly and Rilke

Posted December 7, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

Ed Snow eventLecture and Reading: Josef Helfenstein and Edward Snow
Cy Twombly/Painting Poems

December 8, 2009
7 pm

In a literary program accompanying the rare showing of Cy Twombly’s Treatise on the Veil (Second Version), Menil Director Josef Helfenstein will speak briefly about the artist’s use of the words of poet Rainer Maria Rilke in his canvases. Rice University Professor Edward Snow, recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for his Rilke translations and the Academy of American Poets Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, will read from his newly released bilingual edition of The Poetry of Rilke. A book signing will follow.

Tonight at The Menil Collection, WITS Students will Read Original Poetry Inspired by Art

Posted June 16, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

This evening in The Menil Collection (1515 Sul Ross, 77006), Writers in the Schools (WITS)  and The Menil Collection will debut new work from their most recent collaboration in a poetry reading titled, Ekphrasis: Poems about Paintings.  The reading is the culmination of a project that used five specific works of art as a springboard for creative expression.   Click here to read more.

Tonight’s readers are participants in the Summer Creative Writing Workshops at The Shlenker School campus.  They are:
high school menil 603
Sara Doyle, 2nd Grade
Ivana Hsyung, 2nd Grade
Cheryl Lim, 2nd Grade
Sophia Ellis, 3rd Grade
Megan Hoang, 3rd Grade
Allison Lee, 3rd Grade
Max Rubenstein, 3rd Grade
Lydia McGaha, 4th Grade
Connor Sweeney, 4th Grade
Angie Tai, 4th Grade
Emily Clements, 5th Grade
Seshni Naidoo, 5th Grade
Samantha Roquemore, 5th Grade
Kirthy Kunthara, 6th Grade
Amritaa Sonnylal, 6th Grade
Jessica Tharaud, 6th Grade

The writers who teach these students will read as well.

This event is free and open to the public.  Please join WITS for an evening of poetry inspired by art!

Where Are We Now: Karen Shepard

Posted December 19, 2008 & filed under Notebook.

Karen Shepard worked with WITS as a writer and a staff member between 1989 and 1993.  She is now living in Massachusetts with her husband, three children, a beagle, and a parakeet.  She teaches creative writing at Williams College half of the year and writes the other half.

Karen recalls numerous instances in which the magic of WITS came alive to inspire her and the students she taught. “I remember so many things. In particular: the boy who came to the Menil to write. His teacher was shocked at how much he was writing, how into it he was. When she asked why he didn’t write like that at school, he said, ‘At school, you don’t let us lie on the floor.’  I remember the Young Writers Reading Series as a few of the best nights out of my whole time in Houston.  I still have photos from the readings on my shelves at home.”

Karen believes that teaching with WITS changed and continues to change her writing, teaching, and parenting. “I think about the possibilities and pitfalls of all of those endeavors. I think, and try to practice, the mix of rigor and optimism that is at the heart of WITS. We demanded better of our students and ourselves because we believed we were capable of better.”

Karen has published three novels: Don’t I Know YouThe Bad Boy’s Wife, and An Empire of Women.