Exhibition, Reading and Reception for Nick Flynn: Sacred Trash

Nick Flynn: Sacred Trash

Texas Book Festival is proud to partner with Prizer Arts and Letters to celebrate the opening-night of Nick Flynn’s new exhibition of collage work. That evening, we will host a reading from Nick’s new book, and a reception will follow. Flynn will also be a featured author at the 2023 Texas Book Festival. The exhibition, titled Nick Flynn: Sacred Trash, contains gathered ephemera collaged by Flynn over many years. During the pandemic, Flynn started writing a poem a day in response to his collages. These poems are now part of his forthcoming book, Low (Graywolf), from which Flynn will read at his opening and which will also be part of our Festival lineup.

Join us for this event at Prizer Arts and Letters on Saturday, October 14 from 6–9 p.m. (2023 E. Cesar Chavez Street). A selection of Flynn’s book will be available for sale at the event.

Artist Statement

“Sacred Trash is the title of a book by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole. Its subtitle is The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza. A geniza is a synagogue’s repository for worn-out texts. These repositories were packed not with gold but with paper—contracts, letters, lists of workers, money orders, prescriptions, poems, needed supplies. The belief was that any word or image written out could be (or was) the word of God, and therefore must be saved.

Throughout my life I’ve gathered ephemera (from sidewalks, brochures, magazines, children’s drawing). I cannot say why I do this, but I’ve always had a hard time ignoring an interesting scrap of paper, especially one with some scrawl on it. From this gathering I developed a collage practice, which continues to this day. Inspirations are Kurt Schwitters, Robert Rauschenberg, Hannah Höch—I am drawn to this work, it seems more intuitive, somehow closer to a collective unconscious (if such a thing exists).

In late 2020, at the tail-end of our first long pandemic year, I began a practice of writing a poem a day in response to each of the collages. It was daily meditative practice, which carried over into now. Those poems are now gathered together in my latest book, Low (Graywolf, 2023). To coincide with the release of Low, I’m thrilled to have this chance to present these collages at Prizer Arts and Letters, in collaboration with The Texas Book Festival.”

About Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn is a writer, poet and memoirist. Selected books include Some Ether (2000), Blind Huber (2002), The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (2011), My Feelings (2015), Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004), Being Flynn (2005), The Ticking is the Bomb (2010), and The Reenactments (2013). Many of Flynn’s books are structured by using a collage technique, and he carries this format into his visual work.