1st Annual Literary Festival
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The Mace & Crown, October 2, 1978
Arts Reunion a mixed bag
Photo by Jamey Duffy
Staff Writer

The New Renaissance, which has been taking root at Old Dominion University and in the greater Tide- water area, blossomed last week in the first annual ODU Arts Reunion. The week-long series of events proved to be a truly mixed bag, incorporating poetry and literature readings with mime, classical music and jazz, dance, drama, and painting.

Simplicity and professionalism made the straightforward presentations of original works of literature among the most successful events in the program. Anthony Hecht's Monday night reading in Batten Arts & Letters auditorium was very well received. His amusing contemporary

images from The Hard Hours and Millions of Strange Shadows drew particularly enthusiastic responses from the substantial crowd.

Though less well-attended, the Thursday evening AWP Board Members reading at the Riverview Play house was also enjoyable. While Bell played with the cliche and Madden did a wonderful imitation of a highway patrolman giving a driving test (from his latest novel The Suicide's Wife), Ellen Voigt's reading was the definite high point of the evening.

More ambitious but somewhat less successful were the events which incorporated various modes of artistic expression. On Tuesday evening, Anthony Hecht and pianist Frank Glazer united onstage at Technology Theater for "An Evening of Literature

and Music." While the material was strong, the program dragged, due to Mr. Hecht's long-winded introductions (audience members were not given programs until afterwards to prevent rustling sounds) and the incessant bowing of the performers after each selection.

The attitude of condescension hinted at during 'An Evening of Literature and Music" was realized by the pompous Michael Mott in his presentation, "Paintings that Inspired Poems," in which he read a long list of familiar and unfamiliar names giving little real information. His talk, delivered on Thursday in the Technology Theater, was an introduction to "The Performance of the Painting." The focus of this production was Van Gogh's "Starry Night," about which W.D. Snodgrass read an original poem and Sherri Brennan sang Don McLean's "Vincent." There were also dimly related, though interesting, performances by the Faculty Piano Trio and the ODU Community Ballet. Unfortunately, the event did not appear well planned with its silent gaps and technical problems.

The Arts Reunion ought probably to have incorporated these events into a two-week rather than a one-week schedule. Their sheer number was clearly overwhelming to potential audience members and coordinators alike. Perhaps the Second Annual Old Dominion University Arts Reunion will show a little more care and less ambition when, next year, it again presents the fruits of the New Renaissance for public consumption.