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Urban Arts Space hosts first literary event of the year

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Few words are more ambiguous than “stuff,” which makes it a perfect theme for a group of writers of diverse styles and backgrounds.

The Urban Arts Space will host “Artifact, Object, Totem,” presented by Paging Columbus, Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Poetry and prose will be read by writers Amy Butcher, Adam Gellings and Paige Quiñones, all revolving around the theme of “stuff.”

Hannah Stephenson is the founder of Paging Columbus, an organization that puts on bimonthly readings at the mostly student-run Urban Arts Space. She said the themes of the readings are usually loose and open to interpretation.

“This week, writers are reading selections that deal with prized possessions or objects,” Stephenson said. Themes of past events include “wandering” and “angst.”

Quiñones, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in creative writing, will be reading her work at a Paging Columbus event for the first time on Thursday. In the past, she has done readings through Ohio State with the Student Faculty and Mother Tongue Reading Series.

Quiñones said she is selecting poems that deal with objects, but added that she draws inspiration for her work from a variety of sources.

“I’ve been writing a lot about concerns with masculinity and femininity and how they come into conflict,” she said. “I also write about family and my Puerto Rican heritage.”

Quiñones is the only OSU student reading work on Thursday, but Stephenson said Paging Columbus often has students pursuing a master of fine arts and sometimes undergraduate Buckeye writers at their events. Gellings, a graduate student at Ashland University, and Butcher, an acclaimed Delaware-based author, will be reading at the event as well.

All of Paging Columbus’ events are held at the Urban Arts Space, and Stephenson said she is more than happy with the set-up.

“They’re fantastic,” she said. “They’re professional, and it’s a very inspiring space.”

Stephenson, a writer for the Huffington Post who has authored and edited poetry books, started Paging Columbus in 2011 after she moved to Ohio from the West Coast.

“I had been to a lot of literary events in Columbus, but I wanted to attend readings in art spaces,” she said. “Visual art and literature is a great marriage.”

The Urban Arts Space helped her develop that vision into a series, and along with co-curators Joy Sullivan and David Winter, she has been bringing in local and traveling writers since 2011.

The Urban Arts Space is located at 50 W. Town St. “Artifact, Object, Totem” is free to the public, and readings begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

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