D. H. Lawrence in Vence
and New Mexico

During my adult years, I've inadvertently followed D. H. Lawrence to some of the places he lived.  One of the first things I did after moving to New Mexico in 1971 to work on my Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico was to journey north to the ranch (formerly called the Kiowa Ranch) above Taos which Mabel Dodge Luhan gave to Lawrence and which his widow, Frieda, gave to UNM.  There I visited the shrine with his ashes and wrote a poem.  Since then I've returned to the ranch (today called the Lawrence Ranch) many times as I've stayed in Taos as a resident poet and fiction writer at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico.

In 1986, I became a resident poet at the Fondation Karolyi in Vence, France, where Lawrence died of tuberculoses on 2 March 1930, one day after leaving the Ad Astra sanitarium.  Vence is about 20 kilometers northwest of Nice in Provence.  Ad Astra is long gone, but there is a plaque commemorating Lawrence's death in Vence (see below).  Here is a view of part of the village with the Baous mountains in the background and olive trees in the foreground.

View of Vence, France (1986).
Photo by Clifton Snider.

Commemorative plaque in Vence, note the
Phoenix, Lawrence's logo.
Photo by Clifton Snider (1986).

D. H. Lawrence in Vence

A scarecrow in England,
strawman with the alien Earth Mother,

a kangaroo in Australia,
aboriginal archetypes.

New Mexican petroglyphs of the spirit,
Indians slaughtered by the white man,

female sacrifice in old Mexico,
horse triumphant.

Phoenix rising from burning pages,
crude oil on primitive canvas.

He struck his wife in Tuscany,
hurt by the landscape.

Distractions for his soul in France--
flying scarabs, twisting water snakes,

olive trees, cuckoo birds marking time,
a great bleeding mountain of white rock

falling on his imagination
in a southern country, unencumbered,

sensual as a bread stick,
common, normal, obvious,

his failure eating his lungs, documented--
a blurred photograph.

--Clifton Snider.
from Blood & Bones, Applezaba Press © 1988.

The house which Lawrence lived in with Frieda
at the ranch in New Mexico is called
the Homesteader's Cabin.  Here it is
from the back as it looked in July 1998.

Notice the pine tree in front of the cabin
where he often wrote and which was made famous
because Georgia O'Keeffe painted it.

Photo by Clifton Snider (1998)

Here are two views of the interior of the cabin with Lawrence's hat, jacket,
and suitcase, and a rendering of his logo, the phoenix, leaning on the fireplace. 
The typewriter in the photo on the right was used to type Lawrence's manuscripts,
most often by the English painter, Brett, who followed Lawrence
to New Mexico and stayed there the rest of her life.

Photos by Clifton Snider (1998)

Here is a recent view from the ranch of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Photo by Clifton Snider (2004).

And here is a view of the shrine, with the Phoenix on top
and Frieda's grave in front on the left.  The cross on
the wall behind her grave has been removed.*
Photo by Clifton Snider (2004).

Finally, here is a picture of the interior of the shrine,
with Lawrence's initials and, again, the phoenix.
At one time there was a sculpture of a fox,
by Gladys Fisher of Taos, where the phoenix
now stands.  The Taos Indians had called
Lawrence the "Red Fox." Brett helped design the
interior of the shrine, including
the circular window shown here.*

Photo by Clifton Snider (1998)

*Information about the cross, the fox, and Brett's work on the interior of the shrine comes from the National Register of Historic Places.  For more on the Ranch, click here

Visit the web page for the Friends of D. H. Lawrence.

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Page last updated 19 January 2007.

Copyright © by Clifton Snider, 2007.  All rights reserved.