AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

October 28, 2014

The Muse of Tennessee Williams, Ms Mia Phoebus – Coming Soon!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 11:58 am

One of the wonderful things about living in Los Angeles (I have to say something

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

nice from time to time, don’t I?) is the rare and wonderful people one stumbles over, lots of times by accident. Sometimes there’s an instant, delightful connection. This sums up my meeting with Mia Phoebus; poet, mezzo soprano, stentorian speaker, philosopher, and back in the summer of 1940, the muse and housemate of Tennesee Williams. He called her his “womb girl” (back then she as known as Ethel Elkovsky) and the Provincetown Tennesee Williams Theater Festival verified that she was, ” the basis for the character of Miriam in TW’s The Parade.” The New York Times also wrote about their relationship. But there’s never been a complete chronicling of the story and that’s about to change…

Elaine & Mia,  Los Angeles, 2014

Elaine & Mia,
Los Angeles, 2014

Here in Los Angeles, Melody Jackson, CEO of Smart Girls Productions planned the lunch outing (more on how this came about later) and if it weren’t for her, I’d have never met Mia. What a conversation it was! What a time 1940s Provincetown was!

(She’s still, at 93, a magnificent raconteur and speaker, sharp as a tack and can even read the menu without glasses.) There’s so much to say, so much to remember… Coming soon…


If you would like to hear her story, PLEASE leave a comment or question for Mia, or just say hello. It will mean a lot to her and I will make sure she gets every one.


  1. Neil Wright, a barrister from the UK tweets: “Keep on keepin’ on Mia. You sound very interesting.”

    Comment by ashedit — October 28, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

  2. I love Mia, a fascinating woman on many counts, and I’m happy to have finally met her in person after hearing of her for decades from her brother, whom I knew very well, and from one of her devoted students. Over the years, her brother told me great stories of Mia’s amazing, operatic voice, of her poetry book “Reminders of an I Not Left Behind,” and of her spell-binding lectures, as well as her brilliant mind and ability to coalesce an idea, drawing from many different disciplines and schools of thought.

    After spending just a few hours with her the other day, I was already taken by her vast knowledge of the humanities across so many disciplines — from art and literature to philosophy, music, psychology, and history. She is a treasure, and I am happy to know that others will be learning more of her… and be introduced to her poetry, in particular.

    Melody Jackson, Ph.D.
    Smart Girls Productions

    Comment by Melody Jackson — October 28, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

  3. Mia, what a wonderful life you’ve had! Was Tennessee Williams working on anything when you lived with him? Did he inspire you in your writing?

    Comment by Dianne Emley — October 28, 2014 @ 6:31 pm

  4. Always a wonder and a joy to learn from this universal community of writers. Thank you Elaine – and welcome to Los Angeles, Mia!

    Comment by Andrew Jetarski — October 28, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

  5. Then there’s a connection with us down here in New Orleans, seeing as Tennessee spent quite a bit of time in our neck of the woods.

    Comment by charlesgramlich — October 29, 2014 @ 4:35 am

  6. Dan Kelly of Studio City emailed to say he has ordered REMINDERS OF AN I NOT LEFT BEHIND from the Los Angeles Library.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 29, 2014 @ 5:27 am

  7. Dear Mia, What a pleasure to meet you here on the pages of the internet! We look forward to hearing your memories of demons and angels from the past, and about your adventures now in progress. Cent’Anni!

    Comment by Carol — October 29, 2014 @ 8:44 am

  8. Mia writes:
    Neil Wright, words like that inspire me. Thank you!

    Dear Dianne Emley, At that time, Tennessee was fixated by meeting the love of his life, but he did begin THE PARADE a little after I left, and then he started writing THE GLASS MENAGERIE in 1946. Thank you for asking. Yes, Tennessee did inspire my writing, since we talked about writing when we shared a house and I’ve written several poems in tribute to him, that will be published in my upcoming COLLECTABLES IN A GLASS JAR.

    Dear Dr. Gramlich, I think Tennessee realized his future during the time he spent in New Orleans and the place gave him inspiration, color and atmosphere to make his first amazing burst onto the theatrical scene.

    Dear Dan Kelly: I’m thrilled beyond words to think my work will be read. Please write again and tell me what you think.
    Gratefully, Mia Phoebus

    Comment by ashedit — November 2, 2014 @ 4:54 am

  9. Thanks for your response, Mia. I look forward to your upcoming book!

    Comment by Dianne Emley — November 2, 2014 @ 6:54 am

  10. Hey, Mia, maybe we can get them to order a few more of your titles. Looking forward to it, DAN

    Comment by Dan — November 2, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

  11. Wow, what an amazing story. Elaine, you’re right. Sometimes there are marvelous things about L.A. and this lady is one of them!

    Comment by thrillerwriterrebecca — November 2, 2014 @ 11:15 pm

  12. Dear Carol, thank you for writing. I left the demons and angels behind in Europe after the Second World War. Now I live in expectancy of my stories being brought to light. You may find the mirror you are seeking in my poetry. Bless you, sweet girl, for writing. –Mia

    Comment by ashedit — November 9, 2014 @ 5:45 am

  13. Dear Carol,
    This is a personal request. My father was Walter Hollander, who appears in several photographs from 1940, on the beach with Tennessee Williams, Joe Hazan and Mia (Ethel). If you could show her a photograph (like this one and see if she remembers anything about him, I would very much appreciate it!!
    Best regards,
    James Hollander.

    Comment by James Hollander — March 30, 2015 @ 12:55 am

  14. Reblogged this on Writing For Writers and commented:
    Any Tennessee Williams fans out there? Want to know more about the man behind the legend? IF so, this is one to watch for. Coming soon to a site and store near you!

    Comment by Lisa Ciarfella — June 2, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

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