Christal Ann Rice Cooper

Christal Ann Rice Cooper
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera Married 84 Years Ago Today!


Christal Cooper – 857 Words
Facebook @ Christal Ann Rice Cooper


*On August 21, 1929, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera married in what would be a passionate, turbulent, artistic marriage of the 20th century.  The couple divorced ten years later in November 1939, but remarried in December of 1940, and remained married until Frida Kahlo’s death in July 13, 1954.  To celebrate their marriage, that occurred today, eighty four years ago, we are printing the scripted interview of Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, who talks about her most recent book of poetry, The Embrace:  Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.


Next Big Thing for Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda


The Embrace:  Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo,
a book of monologues,
is another testament to his enduring impact on me as a writer.”


1.      What is the title of your book (or story, or project)? 
The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo



2.      Where did the idea come from for the book? 
The first time I saw the paintings of world-renowned artists, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, at El Museo del Barrio in New York City, I knew a book of poems was in the making.   Prominent works, such as Kahlo’s autobiographical Self-Portrait with Bed and Rivera’s classic Calla Lily Vendor—both from The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection—led to journal jottings, which soon transformed themselves into monologues in the voices of the painters themselves.  For the next few years, I researched the lives of these influential Mexican artists and traveled to Mexico City to view Rivera’s monumental murals, Kahlo’s enigmatic self-portraits, and each artist’s home and studio. 



The initial drafts emerged quickly and centered on Rivera’s revolutionary stance and on Kahlo’s difficulties with her husband’s infidelities, her physical disability, and her inability to bear children.  Despite the intricacies of their relationship, the artists remained devoted to improving the plight of the common man—a goal that remains relevant in today’s world of revolutionary uprisings.



3.      What genre does your book fall under? 
         Poetry

4.      Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
In the 2002 film, Frida, Selma Hayek presented such an intense and convincing portrayal of the seductive Kahlo that I’d recast her for the role.  Hayek possesses the inner strength to capture Frida’s passion, to portray her physical disabilities, and her distress over a crumbling marriage.  For Diego’s role, I’d select Academy Award winner Javier Bardem.  To portray figures depicted in Rivera’s murals, I’d cast the talented Penélope Cruz, Benicio Del Toro, Antonio Banderas, and Jennifer Lopez.  These actors could also give voice to inanimate objects, vivified in dual-voice poems.  As opposed to a movie rendition, I’d opt for a theatrical performance of the monologues.









5.      What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book? 
The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo features monologues and dramatic dual-voice poems inspired by the monumental murals and enigmatic self-portraits of renowned Mexican artists, Rivera and Kahlo, recognized for their innovative art and their mutual goal of social justice for all.




6.      Who published this book? 
San Francisco Bay Press (http://sanfranciscobaypress.com)



7.      How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 
I completed the initial draft of the book in approximately five years.  During the research period, I read numerous books about the lives of both artists, and then traveled widely to explore museums to familiarize myself with their painting styles.  Once I started writing, the poems flowed freely.  The revision stage took longer since my habit is to revise exhaustively, carefully weighing the power of each word or phrase, as well as the typographical arrangement of each piece.

8.      Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
As a visual artist, I frequently write ekphrastic, or art-inspired poems.  As noted earlier, during a trip to New York to see the exhibit, “Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Twentieth-Century Mexican Art,” I viewed memorable paintings that inspired me to start working on a book of monologues.

9.      What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?  Both sections of The Embrace contain art-inspired poems that explore the dualities I envisioned in the relationship of this eminent couple and noted in their artwork.  Kahlo, herself, developed dual identities, most likely to cope with the difficulties of Rivera’s infidelities, of her disability, and her inability to bear children.  To capture these dualities, I created two-voice poems—some spoken by Rivera, Kahlo, or an informed narrator.   Other speakers include a doll, a mask, calla lilies, vines, or another symbolic object assuming an imagined life of its own in a vibrant painting.  In each of these poems, the voices—one in standard text, the other italicized—can be read separately down the page.  A third poem emerges when the two voices are read together—i.e., horizontally across the page—with the intent of broadening and enriching the interpretation of a painting.  The dual-voice poems have inspired other poets to try their hand at creating a poem in this form.




Links to poems included in The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo:

“Frida and Wet Nurse”

“Portrait of Luther Burbank,” originally titled “Two Voices: Wizard of Horticulture”

“On the Pedregal: Frida and Vines,” originally titled “Two Voices: Roots”



PHOTO DESCRIPTION AND COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Photo 1.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in 1932.  Public Domain

Photo 2.
Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda.  Copyright by Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

Photo 3.
The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo jacket cover. 

Photo 4.
El Museo del Barrio in Harlem, Manhattan, New York.  Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

Photo 5.
Frida Kahlo’s and Diego Rivera’s home in San Angel, Mexico City, built by Juan Gorman in 1930.  Diego’s house is on the left in red, and Frida’s house is on the right in blue.  The two homes are linked by a narrow bridge that joins the rooftops. 

Photo 6.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in 1932.  Public Domain.

Photo 7.
2002 movie poster to the movie Frida starring Selma Hayek.  Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law.

Photo 8.
Selma Hayek.  Attribution Georges Biard.  Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

Photo 9.
Javier Bardem.  Attribution Angela George.  Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

Photo 10.
Penelope Cruz.  Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 20. Generic

Photo 11.
Benicio Del Toro.  Attribution Gage Skidmore.  Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Upon

Photo 12.
Antonio Banderas.  Attribution Gage Skidmore.  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo 13.
Jennifer Lopez.  Attribution Ana Carolina Kley Vita.  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo 14.
Diego Rivera in 1932.  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo 15.
Frida Kahlo Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.  Nikolas Muray Collection.  Harry Ranson Center at the University of Texas at Austin.  Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law.  

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