(l to r) Donna Ippolito, Moira Collins and Judith Citrin, Chicago, at the time of the audio tapes below. These tapes were re-rendered from reel to reels for the Thinking of Anaïs Nin site with the help of Steve Rashid of Woodside Ave Music. Writer and poet, Steven Reigns has generously summarized the content of each audio.
Donna was Ms. Nin’s editor at Swallow Press. Moira Collins appears under her married name Griffin in Anaïs’s last diary* as a two liner! and treasures her many letters from Anaïs. Chicago artist Judith Citrin was a friend of Anaïs who worked in TV. She donated the reel to reels these files were taken from, to the Anaïs Nin web site Thinking of Anaïs Nin, after Nin’s second husband, Rupert Pole died in 2006. All three women became friends through Anaïs.
Just listened to the Cromie interview:
It was so magical to hear her voice. Thank you so much for retrieving this and for sending me a copy.
As I’ve told you, I was there that day. In fact, I was the one that set up all those interviews at the time. I was this little child doing all that stuff, driving her around and arranging the lectures and the radio/TV interviews. I can’t imagine now that I had such an opportunity. One thing I remember from the interview was that when they were setting up, Anaïs was concerned about which profile or angle the camera would take. She gave that little laugh and said, “I’m not twenty-five.” Of course everyone thought she was beautiful and all the men were in love with her. We’re probably now the age she was then….. ”
Donna Ippolito, Anaïs Nin’s Fiction Editor at Swallow Press
Anaïs Nin Audios
I’m so pleased to help with this project for the site. I quoted Nin as much as possible. I didn’t want to review the work as much as I wanted to summarize it. My desire was to create a guide for scholars and fans. If one wants to hear about her feelings on Vidal, they can quickly skim the summaries to determine which recording would be of interest.
After listening to the audio several times, I had a feeling that I had read what she was saying. I went to A Woman Speaks to discover Hinz used several of the recordings in her collection. I did spot an inconsistency with the date of the Cromie interview, and I added the specific day to the Women & Writing lecture.
Since these were all recorded around the same time, Nin repeated herself often. I’ve tried to highlight the non-repetitive comments.
Steven Reigns is a poet, artist, and educator living in Los Angeles. A collector of Nin memorabilia and a latent Nin scholar, he has been interested in Nin since 1991.
A Woman Speaks lists this interview on January 22, 1972.
Nin talks about the diary and its origins as a letter to her father, stating even that it should really be called a “journal” and not a “diary.” She describes the difficulty of publishing the Diaries and the reasons for editing people out of the published version. She explores her connection to the young, calling Gore “arrogant” and talks of how he had changed from when she first met him. She loves the young and “what they might become.” The conversation moves into war, politics, and her involvement in the feminist movement. Nin converses about converting her “anger into action” and how she self-published her books on her own press, the first book edition of 300, and her mistake of dividing the word “love.” Gonzales is not mentioned but there is talk of Edmund Wilson and her relationship with him. She also discusses the evolution of her friendship with Henry Miller. Nin reports about Maya Deren’s direction and how she now has a greater understanding of Deren’s going against actor’s safety and wishes, “The film was more important than ourselves.” Nin states how she doesn’t drink and how it might have interfered with her relationships with American authors who bonded over drinking. She reflects, “I’m in harmony with my life now.” Cromie is a kind and skilled interviewer who is clearly familiar with Nin’s work. This interview was after the publication of Diary 4.
Studs Terkel Interview
January 1972, Northwestern University
A musical intro is interrupted with Nin reading from her fourth Diary. This passage could have been written today as she talks about technology and how it has a potential to create greater distances, not bridge them.
“We have reached a hastier and superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the allusions which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing right next to us. It is a dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephone, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater, and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”
Terkel talks about the young’s attraction to her work. Nin talks about her relationship with them, about Edmund Wilson not remaining open as he aged and how all of her other artist friends have remained open. Nin talks about Under a Glass Bell “This book which seems to be all fantasy and actually every one of those stories is based on a real persons, on a real situation, they begin in reality and take their roots in reality….then I embroider on that.” They discuss Nin’s houseboat, the story and themes of displacement. They discuss DH Lawrence and his relationship with feminism. Nin quotes him and says how she is not as harsh on Lawrence as others. Terkel prompts Nin to read a passage about woman and her conflicts to find her own language and discover her own feelings. Nin mentions her personal issue from growing up, “I had a sense of guilt about creating and being successful before my brothers were.” Nin is pleased the diary gives her a way to examine her own growth, “The mystery of growth was always terribly interesting to me as a child.”
Nin remains steadfast in her appreciate of men and what they had given her, “I used man’s knowledge and that is why I am grateful for him, whether it was psychology…I took what was useful and left the rest. I learned from them, I learned freedom from Miller and converted it into feminine terms. I don’t think we need to let certain things stand in the way, we need to convert them.” Nin then discusses her feelings on analysis, “analysis is only for when we get troubled.” They talk about the press and Nin reads a passage about Gonzalo. Terkel is familiar with Nin’s work and seems charmed with her. He is highly familiar with her writings and prompts her numerous times to read passages. His analysis of the work is astute and Nin even comments on his reading of her work, “You seem compassionate in your reading of these characters.” One of Nin’s final comments, “I do not like dogma and will not wage war on man.” The end the interview discussing how the conversation could easily continue and they discuss the origins and pronunciation of her name.
Women & Writing
January 24, 1972-Northwestern University
This lecture opens up with Nin describing a Furrawn, “a kind of talk that leads to intimacy.” She reads a well known passage about her, Miller, and Durrell in Paris and how at the moment described she knew she had to go another way, “the woman’s way.” Nin then reports about the importance of relating and intimacy, logic and the nature of emotions. Nin discusses the first diary, Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book. The lecure continues about the public’s unwillingness to accept the same quality in women’s writings that they accept from men. Nin states “The personal world of women, to some extent, saved her from this plague of alienation.” Nin lectures about women’s books that have come “too soon” and how the public was not ready for such books. She gives the names of authors and explains the books they have written. She tells of how DH Lawrence read his girlfriend’s diary to know her better and to discover the language of women’s feelings, emotions, and intuition. Nin expresses the need of language for women and how the diary shows the more she wrote the clearer she thought. “That finally by writing, I taught myself how to talk with others.” Nin stays focused on the topic of women and writing but also uses her speech to encourage women to write their inner lives. She relays a story about Zelda Fitzgerald and how Zelda relinquished the publication of her own diary after F. Scott stated he needed her diary for his writing material. Nin sees Zelda as giving up something (writing) that could have saved her. She asks the audience if they would like to ask questions now, to approach her afterward, or for her to read another passage. She ends by reading a passage about Cities of the Interior and the evolution of women finding her own language.
The Creative Woman in America Today
November 5, 1972-University of Chicago (A Woman Speaks lists this as being published in Hyde Parker)
After a long welcoming applause, Nin beings by explaining that she is not using her “authentic” voice, that she has had laryngitis and “did not want to fail” the audience by canceling. Nin lectures of how fame helps one connect with a wider world, her awareness of others isolation and the necessity of support and sustenance. She converses about Carl Jung’s “second birth” and of her struggles, “What I learned as a woman in the progression of the diary was that trap, in which I was caught, which was living in a traditional marriage in the suburb of Paris—which is just like a suburb of Chicago…this struggle to find yourself and your path is more difficult for women and sometimes more tragic.” There are comments on “human handicaps” and how for women, “The arts have given us a source of strength and solace.” Nin speaks about her inner journey leading her to others. How her involvement in causes did not consume all of her, that she reserved time and energy for her inner work. Nin then takes audience questions. Nin’s reputation for being the darling of the lecture circuit in the early 70s is easily understandable when listening to her interact with the students. Her responses are respectful, thoughtful, and even humorous. “Most people gave the impression that when you start introspection, you’re going to stay there and never come out again. I wanted to prove that introspection lead somewhere, it lead outward.” She answers a question about the parallels between the women’s liberation and black people in America. Her response is refreshingly open for 1972, especially for a woman at age 69. She relates her own experience as a foreigner. She then fields a question about women’s eroticism in literature and her own past of writing erotica. The questioner says that she would like Nin to publish the erotic writings. Nin responds “Well, I’m thinking about that. I wrote about a thousand pages at the time. I’m still working on editing the diaries and I haven’t been able to think about much else.” These writings were later published to become Delta of Venus, Little Birds, and White Stains. The talk then moves to relationships and the male/female dynamic, “The romantic thinks we can find the perfect relationship at first sight, but I found that a permanent relationship requited as much care and creation as others. I think somehow man, because of the cultural demands put on him and the stress put on him, has looked at the development of woman more as a threat and as a rivalry than as an enrichment to his own life.” She talks about exclusion and the concept of too much introspection, “we don’t need to be impersonal to create.” She ends with discussing the illusion of connection due to media, her feelings on America, and how her writing has allowed her a center of strength.
Anaïs Nin & Y Yevtushenko, KQED
May 25, 1972
The sound quality is not high on this recording and the interviewer asks the generalist of questions. It is a joint interview with Nin and post-Stalin Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. It is unclear who is giving the interview and Lawrence Ferlinghetti is thanked at the end.
Nin talks about growth, hers and the growth of women. She reads excerpts selected by John Pierson about personal relationships and intimacy. Nin is then asked to defend her position on political action. she states that we need to “work on the quality of the human being first, and that will effect the system.” She says that inner lives are not a luxury. Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko fields questions about his beliefs of poetry. Nin interjects and gives what she believes is the “women’s perspective.” Yevtushenko jovially replies, “I almost agree with you.” The remaining interview is primarily focused on the poet. An interpreter helps Yevtushenko explain the connection between poet and woman. Nin later states how there are conflicts between being a women and a writer. The interviewers are less generous with Nin and seem slightly aggressive in their questions with both writhers. Nin ends with talking about her process of diary writing and why she continues to write in it, “There is a truth you get from the instantaneous impression that memory does change. So, you can come a bit close to what you felt on that day, in that moment.”
Anaïs Nin in Maya Derren’s Ritual In Transfigured Time