Djuna Barnes is a national treasure. Her work should be better known. She was born in 1892 in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. Her free-love polygamist father arranged for her to be married at age 17 to his lover's brother. After that ended disasterously she moved with her mother and siblings to New York City. There she marched into the office of The Brooklyn Eagle and proclaimed, "I can draw and write and you'd be a fool not to hire me." Those words are now inscribed in the Brooklyn Museum. This began a freelance writing and illustrating career that supported herself and her mother for years. She wrote for almost all of New York's periodicals including Vanity Vair, The New Yorker, and McCalls, which sent her to Paris, where she became a fixture in the expat community. She produced much great poetry, short stories, as well as The Ladies Almanack, Ryder (novel), Nightwood (novel, championed & edited by TS Eliot), and her masterpiece, The Amphion (play).
The artwork that heads each chapter is the work of Djuna Barnes, who was a brilliant artist.
This app walks us through the 8 poems that I set to music in my Barnes song cycle. 8 poems are set in 6 songs.
– William Anderson