Archive for Barbara Kraft

“The Light between the Shadows
 – A Conversation with Eugene Ionesco” by Barbara Kraft – Los Angeles book review

The Light between the Shadows A Conversation with Eugene Ionesco by Barbara Kraft

Today more than ever, the sentiments expressed by Eugene Ionesco in Barbara Kraft’s ‘Conversation’ with him, are as important, if not more so, than when he spoke to her many years ago.

A Romanian playwright who wrote mostly in French, Ionesco was one of the foremost figures of the French Avant-garde theater, renowned for absurdist—sometimes surreal—plays.

As the playwright confided to Kraft, “We know very well that Western humanism is bankrupt.  We also know very well that the leaders of the Eastern countries no longer believe in Marxism.  Absolute cynicism and a great biological vitality are all that remain of the East’s revolutionary faith and all that keeps it leaders in power – active in the struggle for power and world supremacy… Life has become, then, a deadly combat without scruple, since all ideologies and moralities have vanished – a combat for the conquest of the planet and its material riches.”

 

For Ionesco politics lie; art, true art, cannot lie. “Politics separate men by bringing them together only superficially.  Art and culture unite us in a common anguish that is our only possible fraternity, that of our existential and metaphysical community.”

 
Staged all over the world during the 60s and 70s, Ionesco’s plays were once among the most performed works in the theatrical repertoire.  With his plays The Bald Soprano, The Lesson and The Chairs he helped inaugurate a new type of theater which came to be known as “theater of the absurd.”  Ionesco’s ‘theater,’ which included Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet and Arthur Adamov, was a theater that posed a problem; it was not a theater of entertainment. The problem these writers dealt with was “the existential condition of man, his despair, the tragedy of his destiny, the ridiculousness of his destiny, the absurdity of his destiny, the existence of God.”

 

Ionesco maintained that the king of the Theatre of the Absurd was Shakespeare, citing Macbeth as its ‘pure’ definition of the Theatre of the Absurd… “The world is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

 
Kraft’s conversation explores the totality of Ionesco’s vision which informs all aspects of his theatre.  A cornerstone of that vision is that culture cannot be separated from politics.  “The arts, philosophy and  metaphysics, religion and the sciences, constitute culture.  Politics are the science or art of organizing our relationships to allow for the development of life in society.  But, in our time, politics have overtaken all other manifestations of the human spirit.  Developing as they have by trampling on man’s other activities, they have made men mad.”

Other topics covered in this rare interview include Ionesco’s thoughts on ethics and morality which are based in his opinion on fear rather than on religion; another topic is guilt.  With his ironic wit Ionesco states that while guilt is a nasty feeling, it is also useful; without it we might just kill each other.

 

The Light between the Shadows


A Conversation with Eugene Ionesco by Barbara Kraft

is now available as a download for kindle devices.

$4.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the author – Barbara Kraft, writer of “Anaïs Nin: The Last Days,” review

Barbara Kraft’s sensitive memoir, Anaïs Nin: The Last Days, captures the humanity, mortality and essence of one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated and yet mysterious literary figures, employing sometimes loving and sometimes raw prose.

You can meet the author at a reading at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center,

Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 7 p.m.  (More info below.)

 

Kraft intriguingly opens her chronicle with this explanatory paragraph:

“I have chosen to reveal the intimacies of Anaïs Nin’s last days as I witnessed them so that the story of her death is not lost. Everything comes back in the mind’s eye. Everything comes back in the crucible of the heart. She remains in my psyche all these years later as the most refined and rarified human being I have ever encountered.”

 

Anaïs Nin, noted for her intimate diaries and scandalous, deliciously sensual erotica, was at the height of her fame when she took on Barbara Kraft as a writing student. The two women immediately became intimate friends at the moment when both would encounter tragedy: Nin’s terminal cancer and Kraft’s impending difficult divorce. These circumstances created an environment of interdependency: Nin, despite her failing health, supported Kraft’s writing and life decisions, and Kraft became a devoted and tireless part of Nin’s support system during her last two years of celebrated life.

As Noel Riley Fitch, author of Anaïs: The Erotic Life of Anaïs Nin, writes of Kraft’s book: “An intimate and beautiful portrayal of the final years and painful death of Anaïs Nin… This compelling memoir is honest, critical, and full of perceptive insights into the relationships between Nin and her men.”

“Of all the young women I’ve worked with, you are the one most like me,” Nin told Kraft as she lay dying.

Kraft describes her initial meeting with Nin in February 1974, writing that Nin was poetry embodied and seemed to ‘glide’ over the rose-colored carpet of her Silver Lake home ‘like a swan skimming the surface of still waters.’ And in December of that year she begins what was to become a chronicle of Nin’s terrible two-year battle with cancer.

Because of the overwhelming reality of cancer, Anaïs Nin was stripped down to her bare essence, which Kraft expertly captures. She poignantly records not only Nin’s stubborn grip on life, but also the heroic efforts that Rupert Pole, Nin’s West Coast lover, made to shield her from the inevitable pain, agony and humiliation associated with the disease. It is a monumental tribute not only to those fighting for their lives, but also the forgotten ones—the caregivers.

The very personal events in this book will resonate with anyone who has gone through terminal disease or knows someone who has had to endure that challenge. So, like Nin herself, the raw reality of Anaïs Nin: The Last Days becomes symbolic, mythical, and universally inspirational.

 

Inscribed: "For Barbara with love and many affections, Anais"

Anaïs Nin: The Last Days is currently available for purchase on Amazon,

and also on Smashwords.

Anaïs Nin: The Last Days is also available directly from iPad (through the iTunes store), Nook, the Sony Reader, as well as other Kindle-friendly devises such as the iPhone and is available through nearly every credible device worldwide.

 

*** Meet the author at a reading ***

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center

681 Venice Blvd

Venice, CA 90291-4805

(310) 822-3006

Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 7 p.m.

About the Author:

A former reporter for Time, Washington Post, People, USA Today, and Architectural Digest, Barbara Kraft is author of The Restless Spirit: Journal of a Gemini, with a preface by Anaïs Nin. Kraft’s work has appeared in Hudson Review, Michigan Quarterly, and Columbia Magazine, and among the many radio programs she has hosted and produced is Transforming OC, a two-part documentary on the 2006 opening of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. Kraft lives and writes in Los Angeles, California.

Visit her website here; Contact: [email protected]

 

 

ANAIS NIN: THE LAST DAYS

A MEMOIR

BY BARBARA KRAFT

Published as an e-Book by Sky Blue Press.

 

Sky Blue Press, established in 1996 by Paul Herron, is “dedicated to the preservation of literature as art,” and strives to achieve this goal with each publication.

Previous Works:

Barbara Kraft has written and published in a variety of genres including drama, fiction, non-fiction (essays, book reviews), autobiography, poetry, and opera libretti.

MAUD GONNE

An hour-long radio play written, directed and produced for KPFK on the Irish revolutionary and extravagant muse of William Butler Yeats; Maud Gonne received the prestigious Ohio State Award as “an outstanding example of original radio drama…” The production featured Julie Adams as the extraordinary Maud.

THE INNOCENTS: WITCH TRIAL AT SALEM

Kraft wrote the libretto for William Kraft’s The Innocents: Witch Trial at Salem, a chamber work for chorus and orchestra. The Los Angeles Times reviewer wrote: “The libretto by Barbara Kraft gives vivid, incantatory fragments to vocal quartets of Magistrates, Clergy, two groups of Innocents and a chorus representing the Populace. Sections of raucous, conflicting (but tightly written) cries portrayed a community beset by hysteria….the union of words and music bore complete conviction.”

THE DREAM TUNNEL: A MUSICAL JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICA

Kraft wrote and performed the narration for The Dream Tunnel: A Musical Journey Through America set to music by composer William Kraft. The work was commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the 1976 Bicentennial; the first of the three performances was broadcast live over KPFK Pacifica Radio.

FRAU LOU: “DARE EVERYTHING, NEED NOTHING”

A dramatic documentary written, directed and produced for KPFK Pacifica Radio. The legendary Salome, featuring Julie Adams in the title role, was the object of Nietzsche’s thwarted adoration, muse to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and, late in life, a student of Sigmund Freud’s in Vienna.

WAGNER’S WOMEN

A radio documentary written, directed and produced for KPFK Pacific Radio. An unscholarly conjecture about the women in Richard Wagner’s life, both real and ‘operatic,’ and how they became intertwined in the composer’s life and work.

SELECTED WORKS PUBLISHED IN LITERARY JOURNALS:

“Recollections of Anais Nin by her Contemporaries,” Ohio University Press, 1996

“Anais Nin A Biography” by Deidre Bair reviewed for The Los Angeles Times Book Review, 1995

“An Edited Life: The Death of Anais Nin,” Anais Nin: A Book of Mirrors, Sky Blue Press, Michigan, 1996

“The Last Days of Henry Miller,” Henry Miller: A Book of Tributes, 1931-1994, Standish Books, 1994

“The Last Days of Henry Miller,” The Hudson Review, New York, Fall 1993; also broadcast over KCRW-FM

“Art is What Artists Do,” on John Baldessari, for Articles, published by CalArts, 1984-85 issue

“The Universe of Sidney Sheinberg,” Columbia, published by Columbia University Magazine, 1984

“A Conversation with Henry Miller,” Michigan Quarterly Review, the University of Michigan, 1981; also broadcast over KCRW-FM

“Interview: Eugene Ionesco,” Canadian Theatre Review, York University, Downsview, Ontario, 1981

~~~

An insightful memoir – Anaïs Nin: The Last Days

Barbara Kraft’s sensitive memoir, Anaïs Nin: The Last Days, captures the humanity, mortality and essence of one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated and yet mysterious literary figures, employing sometimes loving and sometimes raw prose.

 

Kraft intriguingly opens her chronicle with this explanatory paragraph:

“I have chosen to reveal the intimacies of Anaïs Nin’s last days as I witnessed them so that the story of her death is not lost. Everything comes back in the mind’s eye. Everything comes back in the crucible of the heart. She remains in my psyche all these years later as the most refined and rarified human being I have ever encountered.”

 

Anaïs Nin, noted for her intimate diaries and scandalous, deliciously sensual erotica, was at the height of her fame when she took on Barbara Kraft as a writing student. The two women immediately became intimate friends at the moment when both would encounter tragedy: Nin’s terminal cancer and Kraft’s impending difficult divorce. These circumstances created an environment of interdependency: Nin, despite her failing health, supported Kraft’s writing and life decisions, and Kraft became a devoted and tireless part of Nin’s support system during her last two years of celebrated life.

As Noel Riley Fitch, author of Anaïs: The Erotic Life of Anaïs Nin, writes of Kraft’s book: “An intimate and beautiful portrayal of the final years and painful death of Anaïs Nin… This compelling memoir is honest, critical, and full of perceptive insights into the relationships between Nin and her men.”

“Of all the young women I’ve worked with, you are the one most like me,” Nin told Kraft as she lay dying.

Kraft describes her initial meeting with Nin in February 1974, writing that Nin was poetry embodied and seemed to ‘glide’ over the rose-colored carpet of her Silver Lake home ‘like a swan skimming the surface of still waters.’ And in December of that year she begins what was to become a chronicle of Nin’s terrible two-year battle with cancer.

Because of the overwhelming reality of cancer, Anaïs Nin was stripped down to her bare essence, which Kraft expertly captures. She poignantly records not only Nin’s stubborn grip on life, but also the heroic efforts that Rupert Pole, Nin’s West Coast lover, made to shield her from the inevitable pain, agony and humiliation associated with the disease. It is a monumental tribute not only to those fighting for their lives, but also the forgotten ones—the caregivers.

The very personal events in this book will resonate with anyone who has gone through terminal disease or knows someone who has had to endure that challenge. So, like Nin herself, the raw reality of Anaïs Nin: The Last Days becomes symbolic, mythical, and universally inspirational.

 

Inscribed: "For Barbara with love and many affections, Anais"

Anaïs Nin: The Last Days is currently available for purchase on Amazon,

and also on Smashwords.

Anaïs Nin: The Last Days is also available directly from iPad (through the iTunes store), Nook, the Sony Reader, as well as other Kindle-friendly devises such as the iPhone and is available through nearly every credible device worldwide.

 

*** Meet the author at a reading ***

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center

681 Venice Blvd

Venice, CA 90291-4805

(310) 822-3006

Saturday, June 23, 2012  at  7 p.m.

About the Author:

A former reporter for Time, Washington Post, People, USA Today, and Architectural Digest, Barbara Kraft is author of The Restless Spirit: Journal of a Gemini, with a preface by Anaïs Nin.  Kraft’s work has appeared in Hudson Review, Michigan Quarterly, and Columbia Magazine, and among the many radio programs she has hosted and produced is Transforming OC, a two-part documentary on the 2006 opening of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. Kraft lives and writes in Los Angeles, California.

Visit her website here; Contact: [email protected]

 

 

ANAIS NIN: THE LAST DAYS

A MEMOIR

BY BARBARA KRAFT

Published as an e-Book by Sky Blue Press.

 

Sky Blue Press, established in 1996 by Paul Herron, is “dedicated to the preservation of literature as art,” and strives to achieve this goal with each publication.

 Previous Works:

Barbara Kraft has written and published in a variety of genres including drama, fiction, non-fiction (essays, book reviews), autobiography, poetry, and opera libretti.  

MAUD GONNE

An hour-long radio play written, directed and produced for KPFK on the Irish revolutionary and extravagant muse of William Butler Yeats; Maud Gonne received the prestigious Ohio State Award as “an outstanding example of original radio drama…” The production featured Julie Adams as the extraordinary Maud.

THE INNOCENTS: WITCH TRIAL AT SALEM

Kraft wrote the libretto for William Kraft’s The Innocents: Witch Trial at Salem, a chamber work for chorus and orchestra. The Los Angeles Times reviewer wrote:  “The libretto by Barbara Kraft gives vivid, incantatory fragments to vocal quartets of Magistrates, Clergy, two groups of Innocents and a chorus representing the Populace.  Sections of raucous, conflicting (but tightly written) cries portrayed a community beset by hysteria….the union of words and music bore complete conviction.”

THE DREAM TUNNEL: A MUSICAL JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICA

Kraft wrote and performed the narration for The Dream Tunnel: A Musical Journey Through America set to music by composer William Kraft. The work was commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the 1976 Bicentennial; the first of the three performances was broadcast live over KPFK Pacifica Radio.

FRAU LOU: “DARE EVERYTHING, NEED NOTHING”

A dramatic documentary written, directed and produced for KPFK Pacifica Radio. The legendary Salome, featuring Julie Adams in the title role, was the object of Nietzsche’s thwarted adoration, muse to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and, late in life, a student of Sigmund Freud’s in Vienna.

WAGNER’S WOMEN

A radio documentary written, directed and produced for KPFK Pacific Radio.  An unscholarly conjecture about the women in Richard Wagner’s life, both real and ‘operatic,’ and how they became intertwined in the composer’s life and work.

SELECTED WORKS PUBLISHED IN LITERARY JOURNALS:

“Recollections of Anais Nin by her Contemporaries,” Ohio University Press, 1996

“Anais Nin A Biography” by Deidre Bair reviewed for The Los Angeles Times Book Review, 1995

“An Edited Life: The Death of Anais Nin,” Anais Nin: A Book of Mirrors, Sky Blue Press, Michigan, 1996

“The Last Days of Henry Miller,” Henry Miller: A Book of Tributes, 1931-1994, Standish Books, 1994

“The Last Days of Henry Miller,” The Hudson Review, New York, Fall 1993; also broadcast over KCRW-FM

“Art is What Artists Do,” on John Baldessari, for Articles, published by CalArts, 1984-85 issue

“The Universe of Sidney Sheinberg,” Columbia, published by Columbia University Magazine, 1984

“A Conversation with Henry Miller,” Michigan Quarterly Review, the University of Michigan, 1981; also broadcast over KCRW-FM

“Interview: Eugene Ionesco,” Canadian Theatre Review, York University, Downsview, Ontario, 1981 

~~~