by Katharine Coldiron
There are 34 pieces of creative writing in The Untold Gaze, a lush art book of paintings by Stephen O’Donnell. Each of the pieces—mostly stories, but a few poems as well—was inspired by one of O’Donnell’s paintings, and each is presented alongside its inspiration. Most if not all of the 34 writers are based in Portland, Oregon, as O’Donnell is.
I expected to absorb and assess this book as a novelty. With contributors like Tom Spanbauer, Whitney Otto, and Lidia Yuknavitch, I was certain the written work would be good. But I suspected O’Donnell’s paintings would act as load-bearing supports for the work, and thus I’d have to lower the bar for actual enjoyment. I was wrong. The Untold Gazeis a successful experiment in blending creative writing and visual art, more graceful and more memorable than any similar endeavors I’ve known. Continue reading “Actual Enjoyment”