Her words provoke and inspire. Her highly acclaimed paintings express in symbolic imagery the passions of the heart and a reverence for the wilderness. It’s this quest for creative experimentation and spiritual knowledge that has made Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld an award-winning poet, writer, visual artist, and now benefactor to the University Art Museum and College of the Arts at Cal State Long Beach.
Common Ground magazine recently did a review and an entire spread on the just-released book Women of Visionary Art, published by Inner Traditions, and chose my painting, “Priestess of Dawn,” included in the book, for the cover.
Women of Visionary Art is an exploration of the role that dreaming, psychedelic experiences, and mystical visions play in visionary art and includes discussions with 18 well-known female artists, including, in addition to me, Josephine Wall, Allyson Grey, Amanda Sage, Martina Hoffmann, and Penny Slinger. The discussions reveal how the artists have all been inspired by deep inner experiences and seek to express non-ordinary visions of reality, reminiscent of spiritually transcendent experiences. Women shows how visionary art often contains an abundance of feminine energy, helping us to heal ourselves and see that we are all connected. Fifteen of my images appear in the book.
The Divine Kiss by Big Sur artist and poet Carolyn Mary Kleefeld is an intimate book of paintings and poetry inspired by her beloved, David Campagna. It was published in 2014 to commemorate Carolyn’s exhibits of art and poetry at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum and Library in Santa Barbara, CA in 2013 and Shreveport, Louisiana in 2014.
The original edition was co-published by The Seventh Quarry Press and Cross-Cultural Communications. Since then, it has been translated into several languages, including Japanese by Coal Sack Publishing Co in Japan in conjunction with Cross Cultural Publications who published a bilingual English/Japanese edition in 2017.
A trilingual Sicilian/English/Italian edition of The Divine Kiss was published by Legas Publishing in association with Cross-Cultural Communications in 2018.
Also in 2018 an English/Greek edition was published by Libros Libertad in Canada and Cross-Cultural Communications.
In 2019 an English/Persian edition from Mehri Publication of London will be co-published with Cross-Cultural Communications. It is translated by Sepideh Zamani.
Such is the power of their love story, expressed through poetry and images–sensual, rich, and universal.
David Campagna, Carolyn’s beloved who inspired these poems and works of art, was of Italian ancestry, and Japan was a favorite country of his. Greece was a country of precious memories for both Carolyn and David, so these translations carry a special significance.
Endorsements and Accolades from around the World:
She seeks to transcend her peculiar time and place to become one with all the creatures of the earth and to synchronize her emotions with the rhythm of the stars. . . . (Her) images seem to emerge out of unfathomable depths (and) convey through a combination of colors and shapes deep emotions that can be understood in their raw power at a visceral, semiconscious level, which is basically what great art does: it connects with the unspoken and unspeakable in the secret language of the species.
– Professor Emeritus, editor and publisher Gatena Cipolla who wrote the foreword for the trilingual Sicilian/English/Italian edition of The Divine Kiss.
It is on steady ground that one stands when approaching Carolyn’s poems . . . At other times, one is elevated higher and into the stratosphere by her diaphanous stanzas enriched with her unrelenting clarity and diamond-like sparkles. . . . Carolyn’s powerful poetry (and) imagery (have) touched this reviewer-translator in an unprecedented way, and for this I’ve approached these poems with a certain awe and subdued reverence. . . .
– Cretan-Canadian poet, publisher, and author Manolis Aligizakis (from his Introduction for the English/Greek edition of The Divine Kiss).
. . . Acts of “love” are expressed in these poems on a cosmic scale, and when the acts of love are sung in the sublimated condition where nothing but “We” exist, we think of the poems of the mystic poet of the 16th century Spain, San Juan de la Cruz who sang of the divine love, and of some of the love poems by Rabindranath Tagore.
– Shigeru Shimizu, poet and professor Emeritus at Waseda University in Japan, who wrote the foreword for the English/Japanese edition of The Divine Kiss.
My Sicilian translator of the trilingual Sicilian/English/Italian edition of The Divine Kiss, Marco Scalabrino, submitted the book to Dialectal Voices, a nationally distributed magazine in Italy, who gave an entire page to this edition, as you see here. The text in Italian is translated as “I am pleased to announce the publication, in New York, of the trilingual edition by Carolyn Mary Kleefeld’s The Divine Kiss, with Italian translation by Gaetano Cipolla and in the Sicilian language by Marco Scalabrino. I sincerely thank the author Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, the curator of the work Patricia Holt, as well as the two US co-publishers Gaetano Cipolla for LEGAS and Stanley H. Barkan for Cross-Cultural Communications, for getting me involved in this prestigious international project.”
“The Fire in the Wood” An exhibit of sculptures by Edmund Kara & poems and drawings by Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, which are included in the drama, “The Fire in the Wood” by Peter Thabit Jones.
Friday, May 18 was a festive opening at the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, with my reading of two poems and excerpts from a prose piece, all inspired by Edmund. David Wayne Dunn, cherished friend, and artist, photographer, poet, and musician, accompanied me. The exhibit is in conjunction with the drama, “The Fire in the Wood,” which is about the life and inspiration of the late and iconic sculptor, Edmund Kara, with his life also as archetype for the creative process. The exhibit runs through June 16, 2018. The drama had its west coast premier at the Henry Miller Library on May 19 and will show at the Carl Cherry Center the first 2 weekends in June. I encourage you to attend both the exhibit and the drama!
Please join me for a creative, multi-media evening and opening of the art exhibit of 10 Big Sur artists, on Saturday, July 22 from 7—10PM at Move Studios, 600 Franklin Street in Monterey. Three of my paintings, including “Tree Mantra” are included in the show. The evening will include a dynamic spectrum of world dance choreography, feature-artist talk, live music, performance art, poetry, and the art exhibition.
Carolyn was one of three featured poets at the grand opening of the Henry Miller Library at the Barnyard in Carmel. She read a selection of her poetry accompanied by musician and songwriter, Martin Shears, her longtime accompanist. Three of Carolyn’s paintings are exhibited in the Library and her books are available. The opening of the Carmel branch of the Library is due to the road closure of Highway 1 and the resulting inaccessibility of the Big Sur Henry Miller Library. Please enjoy the vibrant art, literature, and history at this new location.
An excerpt from the Curator’s Statement: The Art of the Story brings together four artists who have taken on the role of narrator in telling stories through their artwork . . . The artwork tells stories of their family histories, stories of other cultures, about art and healing, love, life and nature . . . Carolyn Mary Kleefeld’s work is about the spiritual meaning of life and through a combination of art and poetry she weaves her stories. Each of her works of art is paired with one of her poems. Carolyn is as comfortable in front of an easel which she sets up overlooking the Pacific Ocean from her home in Big Sur, as she is writing and publishing poems. She comes by way of telling stories naturally as a poet, writer and artist. For the exhibition, works were selected from her Lovers and Nature series.
– Georgia Freedman-Harvey, Curator, Platt/Borstein Galleries
World Poetry Canada is hosting another International Peace and Human Rights Exhibition at the Irving K Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver from Feb 3–March 30. I will be giving you more information on this inspired event organized by my friend and colleague Ariadne Sawyer, President of World Poetry Reading Series Society, as the time draws closer. But for now, Ariadne has posted this link of some of the video feed which will be part of the exhibit. This feed includes my reading my poem, “Bursting With Secrets,” as well as including many other readings and videos relating to peace from poets and artists around the world, and many from troubled regions such as the Middle East. Bravo to Ariadne and World Poetry Canada for giving voice to many oppressed people and for doing so much to promote peace in our deeply troubled world.
Carolyn’s art and poetry are included in a new Bilingual Broadside Series created by Stanley Barkan of Cross-Cultural Communications. Four of Carolyn’s poems and paintings appear together in each of four of the Broadsides and her art is paired with the poetry of Isaac Gutemberg and William Heyen in two other Broadsides. These Broadsides make a lovely gift and can be purchased framed for $20 each. Carolyn will sign them if requested.
To order, please call Patricia: 831-667-2433
or click here to Email Patricia.