Divine Madness: a Novel -- THIS EVENT HAS BEEN MOVED TO ZOOM ONLY, cosponsored by The Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning | Mechanics' Institute

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Divine Madness: a Novel -- THIS EVENT HAS BEEN MOVED TO ZOOM ONLY, cosponsored by The Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning
with author Lynne Kaufman in conversation with poets Alison Luterman and David Watts

Cosponsored by The Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning


"Cal . . . wants to move back in with me into our old apartment on 67th Street across from Central Park. It's where we lived for most of the twenty-one years of our marriage until he left me for Caroline. It's where I've lived for the past seven years without Cal." Cal is purportedly Robert Lowell, the sixth Poet Laureate of the United States, and the speaker, "Lizzie," is Elizabeth Hardwick, a writer and critic whose true-life partnership with Lowell was marked by his mental illness and desertion. Yet award-winning playwright Lynne Kaufman's spare, poetic novel is far deeper-and more disturbing-than a harrowing account of a famously unhappy marriage. As the fictional "manuscript" progresses, Lizzie's persona of humiliated, martyred wife gradually dissolves into a rich labyrinth of references-from her friendships with Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt to her memories of the Civil Rights movement and her Southern childhood, from the Holocaust to King Lear-that may (or may not) illuminate the complex dynamics of attachment. In this enigmatic deconstruction of an age-old tragedy, Kaufman has composed an intriguing and intense elegy that marks the shadowlands where fiction, reality, and writerly personas converge.


Lynne Kaufman is the author of twenty full length prize winning plays produced nationally at such venues as The Magic Theatre, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Theatreworks Silicon Valley, The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles and The Abington Theatre in New York City. Most recently she has had three plays produced at The Marsh Theatre: “Acid Test”, “Two Minds” and “Who Killed Sylvia Plath”. Her solo play “Who killed Sylvia Plath”, starring Lorri Holt, had a six week run at both The Marsh SF and The Marsh in Berkeley. It also won first place for Best Show in The Marsh’s International Solo Play Festival. She teaches writing at The Fromm Institute and at OLLI San Francisco Stage.


Alison Luterman's four books of poetry are The Largest Possible Life; See How We Almost Fly; Desire Zoo, and In the Time of Great Fires. Her poems and stories have appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Sun, Rattle, Nimrod, Salon, Prairie Schooner, The Brooklyn Review, The Atlanta Review, Tattoo Highway, and in numerous other journals and anthologies. She has written an e-book of personal essays, half a dozen plays, lyrics for a song cycle We Are Not Afraid of the Dark, and is currently working on two different musical theater projects.

David Watts’ literary credits include seven books of poetry, three collections of short stories, two mystery novels, eight western novels, a Christmas memoir, and some essays on humanism in medicine. He is a physician, a classically trained musician, and a past National Radio/TV personality. He is currently teaching "The Allure of Haiku" at the Fromm Institute where he has taught poetry for 35 years.


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Meet the Author(s)

Members of Mechanics' Institute & Fromm Institute Free
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