Lynne Kaufmann with Phil Cousineau - Divine Madness (Corte Madera Store)

Lynne Kaufmann
in conversation with Phil Cousineau

Divine Madness

Corte Madera Store

Sat., June 4, 2022 • 4:00pm PT

This event will be hosted in-person at Book Passage's Corte Madera Store. Please contact with questions regarding events.

"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 three novels (Slow Hands, Wild Women’s Weekend, and Taking Flight). She is also an award-winning playwright whose works have been produced across the country. Lynne's play "Divine Madness," which ran at the Marsh last year, gained national recognition (see coverage in the SF Chronicle). She transposed the play into a poetic novel that traces the turbulent marriage and divorce of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick in Hardwick's fictional diary. 

Phil Cousineau is the author of The Lost Notebooks of Sisyphus an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer, storyteller, and TV host. With more than 35 books translated into more than ten languages and 15 scriptwriting credits to his name, Cousineau has also appeared alongside mentors Joseph Campbell and Huston Smith. Host and co-writer of Global Spirit on PBS-TV, he has also appeared on CNN, the Discovery Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, and has been interviewed for stories in TimeNewsweek, and The New York Times. Cousineau lives with his family in North Beach in San Francisco, California, and leads one or two small group travel programs or writing retreats each year. Learn more about his work at


Lynne Kaufman photo courtesy of the author; Phil Cousineau photo courtesy of the author



51 Tama Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Divine Madness Cover Image
ISBN: 9798985312409
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tailwinds Press Enterprises LLC - May 15th, 2022