Words on Canvas text - 2021

Words on Canvas

2021 Spring Writing Competition Winners

We invite you to listen to poems and stories inspired by art and written by students at University of Florida and Santa Fe College for Words on Canvas.

The Words on Canvas writing competition takes place each spring, and is open to all UF and Santa Fe College students with a passion for art and writing.

Read and listen to their stories here, and download the entire booklet from our website at harn.ufl.edu/wordsoncanvas

  • Amada Tatiana Kaschkarow (UF English), "Stoned Pulp" - 1st Place 
  • William Carpenter (UF MFA Poetry), "Three Frames" - 2nd Place
  • Dianne Radic (SFC Sport Management), "Just The Moon and Me" - 3rd Place
  • Kayla Conde (UF English), "As Kenny Dries Off..." - Honorable Mention
  • Sophia DeLeon (UF History and Visual Art Studies), "Perfect Thing" - Honorable Mention
  • Madison Torrent (UF Visual Art Studies), "The Catalyst" - Honorable Mention
  • Walker Wiggins (UF, College of Dentistry), "The Mechanic" - Honorable Mention

Click here to listen to the winning submissions.

"Stoned Pulp" by Amada Tatiana Kaschkarow

Inspired by: Anita Huffington​. Kore​. 1991​.  


Shelf is the canvas for the uncontaminated form,                        

sever everything you take no pleasure in,  

only fundamental meat is left behind.  


A pin won’t prick this stone logic  

which no longer sways me into loving you or not,  

an impalpable cliché at any rate.  


Your finger may trace gleefully along  

the wicked snake, effortless grace of the ardent,  

stripped of the ineffable traits that once filed this flesh  


amongst the incarnate. No blood on the sheets ––  

exposed and everyone a witness  

to the intimacies of this plain body.  


"Three Frames" by William Carpenter

Inspired by: Rania Matar​. Jen and Robbie, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2020​. 2020​

 One child girds the window, sitting

guard before her background

of cluttered shadows

with crossed arms and feline sleep—

she’d come to steal a look

of the leads people used to follow

their dogs and the sirens people used

to trace trouble, but tired

from stealing, she gave countenance

and limp knuckles to passersby

and a sill, then the trespass

of a camera, and was captured

in a still.


The other fancies himself

centered by the aperture. He shapes

his face with his hands as if he is a mirror

where reflections accrue like coats of paint.

Above him: a snippet of tree

and double-paned sky. Behind him:

a fold of theater-thick curtain, revealing



Both are here, in a sense,

because of the wall, which is thicker

than both their necks. They are siblings,

neighbors, roommates,

or strangers. Do they talk? Have they

ever decided not to talk

to one another? Has one stolen

the other’s food, tangled the other’s

fingers in theirs? Of course not.

Ripped from Cambridge, they cohabit

a portrait, posing

headlong into my gaze.

Both are comfortable losing—

perhaps for the first time—their claims

to a curl of lip, a pull of cheek. 


"Just The Moon and Me" by Dianne Radic

Inspired by: Toshiko Takaezu​. Small Moon​. 1980s​. 

When the world goes dark,  

And minds become silent, 

That’s when I look up, 

And greet her. 

While hiding in the dead of day, 

And shining brightest in the dark, 

All she ever wanted was to be seen. 

Though surrounded by a multitude of stars, 

That sparkle throughout the night, 

She remains untouched. 

Staying humble and kind, 

For she knows the oceans will worship, 

As they move to her commands. 

We have a lot more in common than one might think, 

We both yearn for connection from afar. 

We are watching our lifetimes go by, 

Missing in action, 

Hushed by isolation, 

Though this is new for me, 

And routine for her, 

She lets me know, 

She will be back once more, 

For another night of wondering, 

Just the moon and me. 


"Perfect Thing" by Sophia DeLeon

Inspired by: Toshiko Takaezu​. Small Moon​. 1980s​.

How do you make a heart into a perfect thing? Delilah’s head lolled forward into the nest of knitted black around her neck, her eyes peering up, willing the pale milky skies to finally turn stormy and rain. This was a day that deserved rain, if nothing else. Not halfhearted overcast. 


Is it unbreakable? Maybe. A heart made of metal, of iron, molten with the heat of blood. Would it beat? Delilah didn’t know. Would it break? No. She knew that without question. Even if it did, a heart like that could be pulled out and polished and tuned up as easily as a car, now couldn’t it? An iron heart for iron blood.  

A hand touched her shoulder, gentle as drifting snow, as if it were afraid that with a stronger touch Delilah might simply crumble, vanishing into the crisp March air like dust. Delilah was distantly aware that it was her mother. This was the part where she was supposed to stand. She forced her knees to rise and willed her feet to support her body. She began to walk. 

What would it be shaped like? Delilah thought long and hard, trailing behind her mother. She knew little about the mechanics of hearts, outside of what they were not meant to look like. Outside of what the doctors had delicately tried to describe to her. It all seemed too complex, too precise, too much margin for error. Round, she finally decided. They would be perfectly round, without any of the messy minutia. No misshapen chambers, no collapsed arteries, no valves that didn’t quite close when they should. None of that. It would simply be a circle, perfect and simple.  

Delilah fiddled with the flower in her hand. Her aunt had wanted to use the shovel, had wanted them all to gather round and one by one do their part to blanket him in earth again. Delilah’s mother had refused, though. She thought it too messy. And so each of them instead had been given a single stem of pristine, white lily-of-the-valleys to toss in when the time was right. She couldn’t remember whose favorite they were. 

Is it still a heart, then? Delilah paused. Of course, it was still a heart. If it pumps blood it must be a heart. If it could have kept him alive it must be a heart. Could a heart like that really have kept him alive? Delilah frowned. 

Veins, then. It shall have to have veins to carry the blood to and fro. As long as it could do that, it was a heart, was it not? As long as it could do that one thing, it would be perfect. Delilah stepped forward to the edge of the earth. 

Would it have been his heart, still? Delilah paused, peering down into the breach of soil beneath her. A perfect, rectangle, six feet deep, and yet Delilah felt that she could have been standing on the edge of a chasm. Perhaps because she refused to look down to the bottom of it. 

Would it? It was the one question she had no answer to. She gripped the flower tighter still. Tiny lily-of-the-valley blooms crushed beneath her fingers like little porcelain bells.  

Her father’s heart had been a joyful thing. Malformed and off tempo, perhaps, but joyful and bright and alive. She pried her fingers off the flower and held it aloft over the coffin below. 

It had been featherlight, delicate to the slightest disturbance, fragile to even its own mechanisms, but unburdened, unweighted by fear or time. It had been a heart prepared to love for centuries, even if it would not see him through the spring. 

Delilah released the fragile little flower, half crushed in her iron grip, and watched it fall down into the earth below. The wind caught its stem, and it spiraled for a moment in the air. She peered down. She thought of her father’s heart.  

She thought of perfect creation in her head. 

How heavy a heart like that must be. 


Walker Wiggins (UF, College of Dentistry), "The Mechanic"

Inspired by: Toshiko Takaezu​. Small Moon​. 1980s​.

To be perfect, it is mandated 

Shine in the light, reflect what they want to see 

“Don’t worry, you can still be free” 

 We must bend but not break 


To be polished, it is required  

Smooth the surfaces, display what is expected 

“Don’t worry, you will be respected” 

 We must bend but not break 


To be pristine, it is a necessity 

Contain the darkness, exhibit everything that is ideal 

“Don’t worry, you can express how you feel”  

We must bend but not break 


To be well-rounded, but wait… 

It is time to acknowledge the fractures 

What cannot be fixed if not broken  

When can something round bend but not break 


Splits propagate into the individual 

True skills rise under pressure 

Realize a crack is in your nature 

Calloused hands show his labor 


It is human to be shattered 

Your fissures show your journey 

Yet, don’t worry 

We must break to mend 


"As Kenny Dries Off..." by Kayla Conde

Inspired by: Dianora Niccolini​. Leaping Kenny. 1982​.

She watches as he drips with transparent gold, 

His black hair velvet in the sunlight. 

Not even droplets among the strands gleam. 

She wonders if her son will capture the rays 

the way he does. 

Or if his chest will beat the same way 

His does in her ears 

When she rests her bare cheek 

in the space that holds his heart. 


For him waits a kiss of gratitude 

for the prospect of life and love, 

and for how he captivates her eyes  

the way he captivates the sun. 


For her waits empty lips 

and a sun-clouded mind, 

as transparent gold drips, 


down his spine. 


Madison Torrent (UF Visual Art Studies), "The Catalyst"

Inspired by: Graciela Iturbide. Mujer ángel, Desierto de Sonora, México/Angel Woman, Sonoran Desert, Mexico. 1979. 

This land of lifeless whispers 

makes her feel alone. 

Hundreds have pushed 

past the sandstorms 

and broken the silence, 

yet a single grain of sand, 

a woman, 

seeks to be the first 

to feel the desert disappear. 

Stride by stride 

she leaves shallow footprints 

in the dust 

as a guiding path for the others 

who dare to follow. 

Led by a mirage of equality, 

she fights to be heard. 

It only takes one 

for all women to overcome. 


Words on Canvas 2021 was coordinated by Francis Cadavid, the Harn Museum Campus Engagement Intern.

We gratefully acknowledge the UF faculty members who graciously served as judges this year

  • Derek Burdette, Assistant Professor of Art History
  • Delia Steverson, Assistant Professor of English 
  • Phillip Wegner, Professor of English and Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar

Image Credits:

Anita Huffington​.

Kore​. 1991​.


5 ft. 4 in. x 11 1/2 in. x 10 in.

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. David A. Cofrin​. 2005.18

Graciela Iturbide.

Mujer ángel, Desierto de Sonora, México/Angel Woman, Sonoran Desert, Mexico. 1979.

Gelatin silver print. 

16 × 20 in. 

Museum purchase, funds provided by the David A. Cofrin Acquisition Endowment. 2020.2.1

Rania Matar​.

Jen and Robbie, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2020​. 2020​

Archival pigment print​. 

19 3/16 × 24 in. 

Museum purchase, funds provided by the David A. Cofrin Acquisition Endowment​. 2020.6.2

Dianora Niccolini​.

Leaping Kenny. 1982​.

Gelatin silver print​. 

12 3/4 x 9 1/4 in.

Gift of the artist​. 2008.2.8

Toshiko Takaezu​.

Small Moon​. 1980s​.

Glazed stoneware​. 

6 x 6 in. 

Gift of the artist in memory of Caroline J. Rister. 2007.17.13