“Tina Barry’s Beautiful Raft provides a gorgeously rendered glimpse into the enigmatic lives of UK artist Jean McNeil and her mother, Virginia Haggard. These poems and interludes examine not only the deep complexities of a family but also the interplay between art and society. Beyond Barry’s probing portrayal is an examination of the concept of artistic mastery and what it takes to both create and be seen in the world.”    

~ Jen Knox, Resolutions 

Beautiful Raft by Tina Barry

  • “Tina Barry’s Beautiful Raft floats effortlessly on a lucid opalescent stream. Barry, a trained visual artist, has found worthy collaborators in the personas of artists Marc Chagall, his lover Virginia Haggard, and Haggard’s five-year-old daughter Jean McNeil, who once lived in her own High Falls, New York backyard. Precision of language leads to insight; compassion to clairvoyance, resulting in characters so astutely observed we can practically see the paint caked beneath their nails. The authority with which the characters are drawn adds a scholarly underpinning to this sensuous work of historical fiction in verse.”  

    ~ Lissa Kiernan, Glass Needles and Goose Quills, and Two Faint Lines in the Violet  

    “What I love so much about Tina Barry’s Beautiful Raft is how her curiosity turned into a fury-fueled exploration of how and why the partners of famous men are often ignored. With her imagination on fire, Barry searches for answers by allowing both Haggard and her young daughter to tell their stories. And what voices she gives them. What odd, intimate and arresting voices. Barry is a writer of exceptional talent.”   

    ~ Robert Vaughan, Funhouse, Addicts and Basements, and Rift (with Kathy Fish) 

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