Tuesday 13 June 2023

Peter Thabit Jones, "The Fathomless Tides of the Heart: Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, American Poet and Artist"

Carolyn Mary Kleefeld and Peter Thabit Jones

Peter Thabit Jones has authored sixteen books. He has participated in festivals and conferences in America and Europe and is an annual writer-in-residence in Big Sur, California. A recipient of many awards, including the Eric Gregory Award for Poetry (The Society of Authors, London) and the Homer: European Medal of Poetry and Art, two of his dramas for the stage have premiered in America. His opera libretti for Luxembourg composer Albena Petrovic Vratchanska have premiered at the Philarmonie Luxembourg, the National Opera House Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, and Theatre National Du Luxembourg. The Land of Dreams, a new opera, will premiere at the Sofia Opera and Ballet Theatre, Bulgaria, in in June this year. His biography of Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, The Fathomless Tides of the Heart, is published in 2023 by The Seventh Quarry Press. Further information about Peter's work is on his website here

About Fathomless Tides of the Heart: Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, American Poet and Artist: A Biography, by Peter Thabit Jones

Carolyn Mary Kleefeld’s story is one from a talented young girl to the poet and artist she is today. It is a journey against overwhelming social pressures to fit in to a privileged life, a journey of a young Beverly Hills socialite to a reclusive lifestyle in Big Sur. Carolyn is a woman answering a creative calling from childhood, and is someone who has deservedly and impressively achieved publication, recognition and admiration for her poems and paintings around the world. 

It’s a fascinating biography and it references iconic figures of the literary world, Hollywood, and the counter-culture of the Sixties, including Jane Fonda, Rod Steiger, Ana├»s Nin, Allen Ginsberg, Dr. Timothy Leary, and John C. Lilly, Jacques Cousteau and Laura Huxley, the wife of Aldous Huxley.

“It is no small matter to write the development of a poet, artist, and thinker of Carolyn Mary Kleefeld’s stature, yet Peter Thabit Jones’s biography rises to the challenge, offering insight not only into her voice and vision, but into the dynamics of creativity itself – its tensions, complexities, mysteries.” —Arthur Williamson.  

You can see more information about the book on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read an excerpt from the biography.

From The Fathomless Tides of the Heart, by Peter Thabit Jones

Carolyn’s home in Big Sur to is situated on an isolated steep cliff, which slants its long way down to the mesmerizing swell of the Pacific Ocean. The property, 500 feet above the sea, has a 300-degree view from every angle. Her “dragon’s crown,” as she lovingly calls her part of the mountain, depending on nature’s mood, offers the silence of paradise and the aggressive and wild music of the sea and ferocious winds. Fog can descend at any time and like the chilled breath of a god, submerge all in its cloud of damp and eerie smoke. In the summer, when the fog does lift, it can get as hot as a desert rock and one goes about one’s day in a sluggish and uncomfortable manner. During the winter and even earlier, the anger of the winds is amplified and accelerated and they bully the whole place relentlessly. As Carolyn would write in her poem "The Squall," published in her book Vagabond Dawns

The icy grip of winter
wounds the hallowed air.
And the wind wails like a baby 
Abandoned in the squall ...

The wind, though, can brutally claim any month of the year. This is Carolyn’s observation from a June journal entry, focused in its exact sense-impressions, “The garden is quivering. The storm moves its pulse, trembling, rushing in the squall. My soul is in this compelled rush—a sense of quickened current—to the unknown. The air is icy and blowing carelessly all that is in the beast, the wake of the tempest. The seas are like a receptive, needy beast—await[ing] heaven’s blood humbly, vast, and eternal. The moonstone veils drape the mountain range, softening in this touch. The tiniest daisy bares its petals to the rippling, bristling blasts." 

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