Poets and Poems: Tina Barry and "Beautiful Raft"
"The raft of the title is Haggard herself; she is the means of Chagall sailing on the river. She speaks, she breathes, she argues, she expresses her opinions, she chafes at how she’s generally disregarded by all and sundry, including an art dealer. Barry brings the person of Haggard to life;..."
"Beautiful Raft accomplishes what it sets out to do — take a woman who was marginalized by the culture as the partner of a famous man and discover the person who was there. Barry does it through fiction, but it is fiction grounded in extensive research and a passionate desire to tell Virginia Haggard’s story."
--Glynn Young, December 2021
A Life In Shadow: A Review of Beautiful Raft by Tina Barry
"Each prose poem stands on its own, a credit to Barry’s deft writing skills, and yet, when taken together, creates for the reader a representation of a life lived in shadow. Beautiful Raft is painting through poetry."
"Haggard and Jean take turns narrating the book, both struggling to make room for themselves in their own lives, both failing in their own ways. Jean lives in the in-between: away from her father, not fully embraced by her mother’s new love interest. She writes letters to her father, whom she rarely sees. “Marc is mostly nice to me” Jean tells John in one of her missives."
--Amy Strauss Friedman, August, 2020
Beautiful Raft by Tina Barry
"Readers are carefully guided through each phase in rich voice and emotional depth by Barry’s adroit narrative. Over Beautiful Raft’s pages, the characters come into full view as their relationships evolve...."
"Easily accessed and stunningly executed, Tina Barry’s Beautiful Raft brings to life a world of characters and another time. As much a love story as it is a social commentary, the end result is a triumph: an illustration of personhood that begins a larger conversation on gender roles and being—a conversation that is rarely understood so completely as through the view of the person that lived it."
--Kate Kernan, October 2019