Henry Miller: The Last Days

Barbara Kraft’s new memoir, Henry Miller: The Last Days is available in print now and will be published in digital format May 20, 2016.

FrontCoverEbookKraft met Henry Miller in 1977, only months after her friend—and Miller’s former lover—Anaïs Nin died. Kraft was so impressed by Miller that she reread virtually all of his work and broadcast an “open letter” to Miller on an NPR station. When Miller heard a recording of the show, he invited Kraft to become one of his sixteen rotating cooks.

(Click here to hear Kraft and Miller discussing the arrangement.)

Kraft returned on a regular basis to the Miller household and struck up an intimate friendship with the famous author, recording daily events and conversations in her diary. The operations of the household were anything but normal—they were largely carried out by various individual who came and went, and the person in charge of them was a serious drug addict. It was largely due to Kraft’s intervention that Miller didn’t die of malnutrition and, in the end, didn’t die alone.

To see details of Henry Miller: The Last Days, click here.

To see details of Anais Nin: The Last Days, click here.

Anaïs Nin Podcast 15: Nin’s Editor John Ferrone

When one thinks of Anaïs Nin’s Henry and June, Delta of Venus and Little Birds, one thinks of her “blockbusters,” her most popular and bestselling works, titles that put her on the map. Two of the three books were made into Hollywood films, and Henry and June became notorious because of its first-ever NC-17 rating. The two volumes of erotica, Delta of Venus and Little Birds, propelled Nin’s reputation as a groundbreaking feminine erotica writer. While Nin wrote all of the material in these volumes, the man who made them bona fide successes was John Ferrone, Nin’s editor.

John Ferrone & Anais Nin, 1970s

John Ferrone & Anais Nin, 1970s

Nin met Ferrone in 1969, and by 1973 he was her fulltime editor at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Nin was so impressed with his editing that as she gave him 850 pages of raw erotica, written some thirty years prior for a dollar a page, she gave him the following instructions: “Do anything you like with it. I trust you.” Ferrone wrote “The Making of Delta of Venus” for Volume 7 of A Café in Space in which he describes the great lengths he had to go to in order to sort out the entangled and complicated stories, to craft them into top-notch literary collections.

When Ferrone was editing Henry and June in 1985, he clashed with Nin’s “West Coast Husband” and Trustee of The Anaïs Nin Trust over how the book would appear—Rupert Pole wanted none of Nin’s writing changed, whereas Ferrone recognized the need for significant alterations in order to produce a commercially successful book. Their letters were so incendiary that after the book was done, Ferrone never edited another Nin book. For more on this, read Ferrone’s “The Making of Henry and June the Book” in Volume 4 of A Café in Space. The exchanges are legendary.

I was saddened to learn that John Ferrone died on April 10, 2016 in Old Bridge, New Jersey, due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease. There will be a memorial service at the Most Holy Redeemer Church, 133 Amboy Rd., Matawan, NJ on May 24 at 11:30. For more information, visit mostholyredeemerchurch.org.

Podcast 15 is devoted to John Ferrone and tells the story of how he was instrumental in helping me with the most important project I’d ever undertaken at that point—the editing of 1,600 pages of handwritten diary pages into Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1939-1947, the first such diary in nearly twenty years.

To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.

To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.

To order Volume 4 of A Café in Space, click here.

To order Volume 7 of A Café in Space, click here.

Podcast 14: The Maternality of Anaïs Nin with Jessica Gilbey

Australian scholar Jessica Gilbey explains an often ignored relationship—that between Anaïs Nin and her mother. Nin’s connection with her father has received a lot of intention, and to this day search data for their incestuous relationship on this blog remains among the top five. Searches for Rosa Culmell de Nin? Virtually none.

JessicaGilbey

Jessica Gilbey

When Gilbey decided to write her doctoral thesis on how motherhood played a major role in Nin’s writing, her supervisor advised her to also explore Nin’s relationship with her own mother, which, at first, Gilbey was reluctant to do—mainly because the mother seemed to be mundane, plain, prosaic. But when she truly began to explore the bond between them, she discovered how much it informed Nin’s decisions, her rebellions, her path in life, her art, and even the other relationship in her life, including her father.

All of these topics are included in Gilbey’s contribution to Volume 13 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, “Our Mother (Re)Born—The fertile treasure of Nin’s matrilineality.”

Listen as Gilbey brilliantly and objectively discusses how Nin became a symbolic mother to many and biological mother to none, and how critics lashed out at her for her life choices, not to mention her decision to write about them.

Run time: 39 minutes

To listen with iTunes, click here.

To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.

To order a copy of Volume 13 of A Café in Space, click here.

Re-Viewing Anais by Rochelle Lynn Holt

Re-Viewing Anaïs (Scars Publications, 2015) is a collection of author Rochelle Lynn Holt’s essays and reviews regarding her mentor, Anaïs Nin, with whom she collaborated in the 1960s and 1970s. Culled from several different publications, the book gives us a good overview of Holt’s regard of Nin’s work. As Holt says in her postscript:

ReviewingAnaisRe-Viewing Anaïs is a semi-academic collection of forty-nine essays/reviews that have been published individually in various periodicals from the Sixties to the present time. They represent virtually every one of Anaïs Nin’s publications in her lifetime and posthumously.

According to the postscript, Holt operated a handpress much in the same way Nin did in the 1940s, and Nin herself mentions Holt’s press in her Diary. Holt earned her MFA from Writers Workshop and her Ph.D. from Columbia Pacific University.

Re-Viewing Anaïs can be viewed and/or purchased by clicking here.

 

Upon the occasion of Anaïs Nin’s birthday

Where Nin was born

Where Nin was born

Today is Anaïs Nin’s birthday. She was born February 21, 1903 in Neuilly, France, near the Bois and the Seine. Her house was in a stately neighborhood where, perhaps, Proust’s characters could have lived. It was a time of horses and carriages, top hats, long voluminous gowns, gaslights and the rare telephone. In such a setting, who would have imagined someone was born who would become one of the leading modernists of the twentieth century, someone an entire generation not yet conceived would admire and look to as an inspiration, a guide, a guru, someone who would break all the rules, both in literature and in life? A little, sickly girl with a stern but musically gifted father, a mother whose own musical career would be stifled, a little girl who would nearly die from a burst appendix, a little girl whose father called “ugly,” whose father would abandon, thrusting her from all sense of comfort and security into a life of struggle and poverty in a foreign land? Who could imagine?

And yet, here we are, 113 years later, celebrating the birth of this amazing icon of feminine literature by reading her work, talking about her, listening to her words recorded long ago, watching Anaïs Nin Observed or Henry and June, or just thinking about her for a few moments. This day in 1903 was a gift to all of us who have somehow been touched by Anaïs Nin, or are yet to be. To you, to us, to Anaïs…I lift a glass of gratitude.

A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, Volume 13, is out now. Check it out for the latest on Anaïs Nin.

Episode 13 of The Anaïs Nin Podcast has just dropped. You can listen to “The Music in Anaïs Nin” by clicking here. (14 minutes)

 

A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, Vol. 13

As editor of this journal for the past 13 years, I can personally say that this is one of the most satisfying issues we’ve ever produced, with an excerpt from the forthcoming diary Trapeze, a memoir from one of Anaïs Nin’s lovers, powerful testimonies from women writers affected by Nin’s life and work, critical articles about Nin and those who affected her own work by talented scholars, an introduction to Trapeze by Benjamin Franklin V, poetry, short fiction, photographs and visual art.

CafeVol13-CoverLarge-1Anaïs Nin recounts her first weeks with Rupert Pole in 1947, Lanny Baldwin counters Nin’s account of her relationship with him in the only known memoir by one of the characters in her diary, Barbara Kraft offers an excerpt from her new memoir Henry Miller: The Last DaysJessica Gilbey explores the little-known relationship between Nin and her mother while Jean Owen tackles the father-daughter entanglement, Erin Dunbar discusses the affect Djuna Barnes had on her work, and Lana Fox delivers a moving account of how Nin came along at the right time as Lana was transitioning from a tragic beginning to a triumphant present.

Other contributors include Diana Raab, Marina Ferrer, Ellie Kissel, Chrissi Sepe, Danica Davidson, Colette Standish, David Wilde, Marc Widershien and Kennedy Gammage.

You can order A Café in Space, Vol. 13 in both print and digital issues by clicking here.

And stay tuned for the next Anaïs Nin Podcast, which will be dropped Feb. 21, 2016.

Anais Nin Podcast 13: The Music of Anais Nin

When Anaïs Nin was born 113 years ago in Neuilly, France, her house was filled with the music of her pianist/composer father and classical singer mother. It is conceivable she heard music while still in the womb. Her brother Joaquín began the piano at a very young age, so even after Anaïs’s father abandoned the family when she was ten years old, music was still a constant in the house after the family relocated to New York. Rosa Culmell, Nin’s mother, had many visitors, including famous singers, musicians and composers…so while Anaïs never took up an instrument or singing, her life was infused with music. As time went by and she began her famous diary, music played a role in her writing, often symbolizing certain moods, events, themes, or phases of her life. In episode 13 of The Anaïs Nin Podcast, we will learn about which artists or songs were among the most important in Nin’s life and work—Debussy, Ravel, jazz, Latin music, and even electronica.

I would like to give a shout-out to Glory Days Magazine for inspiring this podcast, and thank them for presenting Anaïs Nin to their readership in New Zealand.

Music includes: Tonadas by Joaquín Nin-Culmell, Bolero by Maurice Ravel, Popo by the Shorty Rogers Quintet, Sonata for Violin and Piano by Claude Debussy, Chuncho by Yma Sumac, and Bells of Atlantis by Louis and Bebe Barron featuring Anaïs Nin herself.

Yma Sumac

Yma Sumac

This podcast is sponsored by Volume 13 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, available now.

Run time: 14 minutes

To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.

To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.

To order or find out more about A Café in Space, click here.

Anaïs Nin Podcast 12: He Said, She Said

Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1939-1947 documents a long period of “erotic madness” when Anaïs Nin, in order to find someone who could relieve her of her stifling marriage to Hugh (Hugo) Guiler, went from one failed love affair to the next. Her paramours included youngsters, artists, homosexuals, and one in particular, with whom Nin claimed to never have consummated the affair, C.L. (Lanny) Baldwin, a businessman who wrote poetry on the side. There is an entire section of Mirages devoted to him, entitled “L’homme Fatal,” meaning the sort of man with whom Nin would fall in love, knowing that it would lead to utter disaster. In Diary 4, which did not chronicle any sort of intimate details of Nin’s love life, Nin nonetheless describes her efforts to convert Baldwin to her way of living—in other words, the artist’s life, or bohemianism, if you will. When he resisted, citing the responsibilities of career, wife and children, she became enraged and turned on him. Mirages goes deeper and reveals that, according to Nin, Baldwin was attracted to Nin and her lifestyle, but did not have the courage to make love to her or to give up the bourgeois life.

Anais@work

Anais Nin at Gemor Press

Fast-forward forty years. Among Gunther Stuhlmann’s archives was a manuscript by Lanny Baldwin called “A Movement in Mauve: A Memoir,” which tells his side of the story. Stuhlmann never published the document, and it lay in a folder for another twenty-five years before its discovery after Stuhlmann’s death in 2002. The memoir is remarkable because it is one of the only documents in which one of Nin’s “boyfriends” actually describes in detail his affair with her. It is also remarkable because it counters much of what Nin said in both Diary 4 and Mirages.

The memoir will be published in its entirety in volume 13 of  A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, available Feb. 21, 2016.

To listen to excerpts from both the diary and the memoir, listen to our podcast:

To listen with iTunes, click here.

To listen without iTunes, click here.

Run time: 15 minutes.

Anaïs Nin Podcast 11: Miller’s Influence on Nin’s Writing

 

There is a myth, partly spun by Anaïs Nin herself, that while Henry Miller was a supporter of her writing during the 1930s, he ultimately had no lasting influence on her style. This podcast will prove that not only did Miller influence Nin in achieving a more accessible form of writing after the surrealistically flavored House of Incest, he even wrote some of the passages in her first “mainstream” novel, The Winter of Artifice.

While Miller and Lawrence Durrell certainly believed in Nin’s writing, they were severe critics of her heavily veiled and poetic use of the English language, which even she admitted was often poor due to the fact she was not a native English speaker. Miller encouraged her to put forth her ideas clearly and concisely, and, as you will see, this affected Nin’s future writing in spite of her insistence that she’d rejected Miller altogether in later years. We will also find out why she said this.

MillerNotes

Miller’s annotations in “Djuna” manuscript

In 1939, the Obelisk Press edition of The Winter of Artifice contained three novellas: “Djuna” (the story of Nin’s love triangle with Miller and his wife June), “Lilith” (inspired by Nin’s incestuous affair with her father), and “The Voice” (the story of Nin’s relationships with her psychoanalysts René Allendy and Otto Rank). Today’s edition does not have “Djuna” at all, and the other two stories were significantly altered by Nin in the 1940. The question is: why? Especially when “Djuna” has been called by Nin scholars one of her most solid pieces of work.

It wasn’t until the original 1939 edition of The Winter of Artifice was republished by Sky Blue Press in 2007 that readers finally had access to this long-lost book, and now we can put the mythology surrounding it to bed.

Run time: 21 miuntes

You can listen to the podcast in iTunes here.

You can listen without iTunes here.

The print version of The Winter of Artifice, which was printed in a small edition, is still available at skybluepress.org.

The digital version of The Winter of Artifice can be found on Amazon.com.

Anaïs Nin Podcast 10: Journaling as Healing with Diana Raab

Popular writer, poet and blogger Diana Raab discusses how Anaïs Nin and she have lived parallel lives, both beginning diaries at age ten after losing a loved one (Nin’s father abandoned the family for a young woman, Raab lost her grandmother to suicide). Both women kept diaries their entire lives, and both found them key tools for the creation of a world in which they could not only survive, but thrive.

Diana Raab

Diana Raab

Raab discovered Nin in her early teens, and then re-discovered her on a much deeper level some 25 years later around the time she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Raab was inspired to win an MFA and to turn her writing into art, resulting in a memoir (Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal, 2007), two poetry collections (Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You, 2008 and Lust, 2014) and several books on how writing can heal.

A strong advocate of journaling, Raab candidly discusses Nin’s influence on her work and art, and she reveals an upcoming event (January 29, 2016 at Antioch University in Santa Barbara) called “The Allure of Anaïs Nin,” featuring five speakers, three of whom knew Nin personally.

Run time: 14 minutes

To listen to the podcast on iTunes, click here.

To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.

Diana Raab can be found at www.dianaraab.com.

This podcast is sponsored by Sky Blue Press, publisher of a new print edition of The Quotable Anaïs Nin. QuotableANsmall

 

 

« Previous PageNext Page »