Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Biography – The Fathomless Tides of the Heart by Peter Thabit Jones

Jul 10, 2023 | News & Events

Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Biography – The Fathomless Tides of the Heart by Peter Thabit Jones


The Power of the Poet’s Voice

Tasking a poet to write the biography of an impassioned and poetic life

The only real danger in asking a poet to write someone’s biography is that the tale may be told more poetically than it was lived. Unless he’s been asked to write about Carolyn Mary Kleefeld, a horsed untethered, a bird uncaged; a Magdalen, an Isadora Duncan, a Salvador Dali or maybe his mistress; a woman who hears her own melody, who moves to her own rhythms, who paints with a bright palette, who loves hard and loses harder, and still she rises to swim in her coastal pool and dance and splash paint across a canvas and think about the ones she loves. Besides, she, too writes poetry.

When Welsh poet Peter Thabit Jones was invited to write The Fathomless Tides of the Heart, a biography of Kleefeld, a longtime resident of Big Sur who had become his friend, he’d already known and loved her for 11 years. Having arrived on the Peninsula on behalf of a literary event organized by his publisher, at Monterey Peninsula College, he met Kleefeld there and she invited him to stay at her cliffside cabin in Big Sur.

Jones, who lives in his native Wales, where he taught creative writing and literature courses at Swansea University from which he retired in 2015, has returned to Kleefeld’s cabin, as a poet in residence, for 11 summers. Typically he comes to write, to craft poetry in a place that both inspires and unleashes his words. More recently, it was to write and then release Kleefeld’s biography…

by Lisa Crawford Watson

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Launch Event at The Henry Miller Library

Sunday, May 7 was the celebratory launch of Carolyn’s new biography, The Fathomless Tides of the Heart at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. The event was a chance to meet with Carolyn and the book’s author, Peter Thabit Jones, the internationally-published Welsh poet, playwright, and librettist. His book is co-published by Cross-Cultural Communications and The Seventh Quarry Press. The launch was a grand success, with the combination of Peter’s introduction and his readings from the Bio, and Carolyn’s spontaneous, original, and inspiring responses to Magnus’ questioning. The audience was captivated, and a joyful time under the sunny skies was had by all.

Arthur Williamson, Ph.D., author, retired professor, and historian wrote 〝It is no small matter to write the development of a poet, artist, and thinker of Carolyn Kleefeld’s stature, yet Peter Thabit Jones’ 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.

Publisher Stanley Barkan further writes, 〝 … [a) detailed, fascinating, and page-turner biography… The Fathomless Tides of the Heart takes readers on a saga of [Kleefeld’s] amazing life.. many notable acquaintances, romantic loves, philosophical exploration, and creativity in image and word, that has touched so many worldwide…

The book includes iconic figures of the literary world, Hollywood, and the 60s counterculture, including Anaïs Nin, Allen Ginsberg, Jacques Cousteau, Ted Turner, Rod Steiger, Laura Huxley, Dr. Timothy Leary, and Leonard Cohen.

Both Carolyn and Peter were present at the launch for an introduction by Peter, readings from the book, a discussion with Magnus, the director of the Library, Carolyn, and Peter, as well as a book signing.

Carolyn Mary Kleefeld – CAJA Ukrainian Support Fund
Left to Right: Carolyn and Peter Thabit Jones; The Fathomless Tides of the Heart on display; Attendees at the Henry Miller Library

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