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The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Kristen Vincent ‘26 wins Jean Corrie Poetry Contest

Photo by Liv Bamford for The Lafayette
Kristen Vincent ’26 fell in love with art-inspired poetry while taking a creative writing class.

Kristen Vincent ‘26 stared at the explosion of colors in Barbara Bullock’s painting “Seeing is Believing” and put pen to paper. The outcome: an award-winning poem.

Vincent’s art-inspired poem, “Seeing is Believing,” won the English department’s annual Jean Corrie Poetry Contest, judged this year by poet Jessica Guzman. Benry James ‘25 was the honorable mention for the award.

“Seeing is Believing” explores the ways in which Bullock’s painting plays with color and the movement of human-like figures, centering around a larger theme of death and ascension within the body and soul.

“This poem wrote itself in a way because I had that experience with this painting,” said Vincent, who has been writing poetry since she was 11 years old. 

Vincent had the opportunity to see Bullock’s painting through her introduction to creative writing class taught by English professor Christian Campbell. The class explored the practice of “ekphrastic poetry,” or a poem that comments on a work of art, and ventured to the William’s Center for the Arts Gallery to find pieces for inspiration.

“If not for that day, for that time in class, I don’t think I would have written this poem,” Vincent said. 

“What excites me about the poem is the level of commitment and the willingness to surrender to the strange,” Campbell said. 

“Seeing is Believing” was Vincent’s first ekphrastic poem; she now designates the form as one of her favorites. 

“I wrote another one this morning,” she said on Tuesday. 

Vincent’s poem has a dual role of commenting on the painting while also recognizing the process of viewing a moving piece of art.

“The painting itself is a spectacle,” Vincent said. “It’s about watching and seeing something and just being in awe.”

Vincent’s process in writing this piece, along with most of her other works, was acting on her immediate instincts and first impressions of the piece. 

“I personally think that some of the best poetry comes from what you will immediately take away from it,” she said.

This dedication carries itself to her classes, where Vincent is an alert and active learner, according to Campbell. 

“You can see her mind whirring when I throw these strange and difficult questions about literature in the world to my class,” Campbell said.

To Vincent, poetry is a form of release. 

“If I wasn’t having the best day, I started to write,” Vincent said. “I would always feel better.”

Disclaimer: Assistant Culture Editor Kristen Vincent ‘26 did not contribute writing or reporting.


“Seeing is Believing”
by Kristen Vincent


The sun,

A plump, shining

Tangerine in the milky sky,

Is the naked eye.


The tongue is

The falling, misshapen woman

Levitating, as if an invisible string

Is pulling her to the sky.

It is a calling,

A vocation she must obey.


The reapers,

the watchdogs they are,

In their long charcoal robes,

Watch her go upwards

With their own midnight eyes.

They see as the birds do,

The blackbird and the heron,

With their glass bead eyes.

They are her guardians.


They see and know the unspoken,

The unsplit wishbones,

The fishing hooks never sent to the sea,

They see too.


We are all




Like birds in a giant, pink

lung-shaped fruit.


And when we too

Are pulled up from our bellies

Guided into the bright above,

The marvel, the spectacle of it all,
The ripples of the setting sun,

Tossed like red ribbons unfurled for

All the world to see.

We will know sleep.

We too, will watch.

“Seeing is Believing,” Barbara Bullock (Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) (Photo by Barbara Katus)
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About the Contributors
Bernadette Russo
Bernadette Russo, Culture Editor
Likes trees and hates writing bios.
Olivia Bamford
Olivia Bamford, Assistant Business Manager
Olivia, Liv, Bamford is a senior Policy Studies and Economics major with a Biology minor. As assistant business manager for The Lafayette, Liv helps conduct administrative tasks regarding newspaper subscriptions, invoices, and advertising. New to the paper for the 2023-2024 academic year, Liv has been enjoying her time thus far after years of begging from her roommate, Editor-in-Chief Maddie Marriott, to join the staff. In her free time, Liv likes to rave about the not-so-critically acclaimed movie, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. She also considers herself an amateur bird-watcher and a diehard Maisie Peters fan.  

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  • L

    LesleyApr 12, 2024 at 5:01 pm

    The ancient Greeks dance in the streets
    Seeing is Believing far more than their most beloved rhetorical exercise.
    Keats’ ode bows to fresher vision.
    Vincent’s mystical images intertwine like silvery threads a brilliantly constructed transcendent tapestry of eternal possibilities.