with thanks to Janet Kiersted:
(Writer, Poet, Houston Icon)
When one of our MFAH volunteers, Laurie Newendorp, is mentioned in an article in the trendy British style magazine Dazed and Confused and then the article is written up in the Zest section of The Houston Chronicle (Sunday, November 23, 2003) by Clifford Pugh, it makes one want to know more!
The article in Dazed and Confused is titled “Oil Be Damned: Houston Art.” It gives credit to former Ze Records honcho Michael Zilka for much of Houston’s success as a “hotbed of underground talent,” lists several visual artists, and refers to poet Laurie Newendorp, jazz great Harry Shepherd, and environmentalist Carol Bertrand as Houston icons! The MFAH, The Menil, and several other museums as well as Houston galleries are also mentioned, placing our Laurie in great company.
Laurie has been interested in literature and art all of her life and over the years has written poetry, short stories and plays. She took some time off from writing while raising her two children, but served as Room Mother, Teacher’s Aid, Children’s Great Books teacher, library assistant, and leader in Cubs, Brownies and Boy and Girl Scouts during their school years. She completed her Masters in Creative Writing, Poetry, at The University of Houston in 1992. Her thesis advisor, Ed Hirsch, wrote the poem, Consecration of the House, that he read at the celebration for the opening for the Audrey Jones Beck Building in 2000.
Laurie has had recognition from several fronts. Most recently she received a 2003 grant from the Djerassi Foundation. This allowed her to spend a month-long residency in the San Francisco Bay area with eight other artists and writers. The experience proved creatively rewarding and generated a flow of poetry. A few of the many are Orpheus, Mars, Music and Coyote, Runaways, and Letter from the City of Salt.
As a playwright, Laurie gained entrance to Edward Albee’s playwriting class at The University of Houston School of Theatre. Admission to this class is an honor in itself. An interesting comment by Edward Albee about Laurie’s writing was that her plays (like many of her poems!) were “hermetic to a flaw.” They are deep--and can be enjoyed at many levels.
Earlier, in 1998, Laurie was awarded a General Fellowship by the Cultural Arts Council of Houston. For this she had to have lived in Houston for the past two years and had to have published at least two works, and then be selected from many other applicants. One of her poems, The Age of Aquarius, was published in the 20th Anniversary issue of Gulf Coast in 2000. She presented the poem in a reading at Brazos Bookstore.
Many of Laurie’s poems are inspired by visual art. A poem entitled Collage with Mask--Secret Languages published in Curbside Review was influenced by Carolyn Adams' collage. Laurie and Carolyn are both members of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe. Another example is a poem titled Frida Kahlo’s Bed--after Kahlo’s self-portrait, “Roots,” 1949:
Molten in her orange skirt,
© 1992 & 1997, all rights reserved by Laurie Newendorp
We’re happy to say Laurie has had a long relationship with the museum during her thirty years in Houston. She has volunteered in many positions including docent before returning to school for her Master’s Degree. Presently, she enjoys helping at the Lobby Desk, serving on the Exhibition Hospitality Committee and assisting at the Mixers in the Sculpture Garden.
Very dear to Laurie are her two children, two little grandsons and her wonderful black Labrador, Orpheus, named after the poet singer of the gods.
Laurie Newendorp’s poetry is infused with visions from the world of art, sometimes very subtly, even remotely, sometimes tangibly, but almost always there.
Created by The Authors Guild
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