Festival of Religious Arts

CUA's first Festival of Religious Arts debuted Friday, April 14, culminating in a triumphant performance of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Among the best-attended events were Naum Panovski's production of "Everyman" at the Hartke Theatre and a poetry reading by Yusef Komunyakaa.

Dancers from the Joy of Motion perform at CUA's Festival of Religious Arts.


Religious Sculpture 2000 continues through April 29 at the Keelty Auditorium of the Columbus School of Law.

At right is "Jesus Spirit" by Muriel Castanis, who took first place in the juried competition for her work, "Mary's Mercy."

More than 167 entries were received for the competition; Valerie Fletcher, curator of Sculpture at the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, served as curator for the exhibit, featuring 29 works from artists across the country.



Below, Joanie Leverone of the Glass Heart Puppet Theatre shares her puppet from the production of "Noah's Ark" with audience member Quinn Wilbert, 4, a student at the Children's Education Center on campus.

Festival Spotlights Poetry

Connie Voisine, professor of English from the University of Hartford, was chosen from hundreds of poets to receive the John A. Zalonis Jr. Poetry Prize at CUA’s Festival of Religious Arts.

The prize, sponsored by the Paul VI Institute for the Arts, included $1,000 and the opportunity to read with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa during his April 15 appearance at the festival.

Nearly 100 people came to Hartke Theater to hear Mr. Komunyakaa and Professor Voisine read selections of their work with spiritual themes.

"I found it very rich, full of storytelling with such strong metaphors," said Sr. Mary Ernestine Ott. "I’m so happy (the Institute) sponsored this competition, it attracted so many creative people."

Hundreds of poets from around the country submitted their work for consideration by the judges, who included CUA English Department Chairman Ernest Suarez, Associate Professor Rosemary Winslow and Mr. Komunyakaa, who judged the final 13 manuscripts.

He lauded Professor Voisine’s work for "capturing a spirit of subdued, subtle, pulsating feeling beneath the metaphors that surfaces through the words and connects to (the reader.)"

The University of Pittsburgh Press is set to publish a book of Professor Voisine’s poetry, entitled "Cathedral of the North." She said Saturday’s honor was great considering Mr. Komunyakaa was the first poet who truly inspired her to pursue the art.

"I’ve always loved his work. He’s such a good storyteller, that’s what really moved me in the beginning," Professor Voisine said after the reading, as other writers from the audience gathered around to speak with her. "It was overwhelming to be chosen by him."

The poems Mr. Komunyakaa read at the festival told stories of the South, an abusive father, race relations and the Vietnam War, where he won a Bronze Star for his service as a correspondent and managing editor of the Southern Cross.

Poems like "Ode to a Drum," about the hide of an animal that is made into a drum and the music that results, exemplified Mr. Komunyakaa’s trademark style of music-based poetry, Professor Suarez said.

"He has poems in which music is the subject matter, but music – particularly jazz – informs almost all of his poetry in the way that it sounds," Professor Suarez said. "In his poetry, he observes, and takes images from the outside world and transforms them into his own singular type of music."