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Poster for Exhibition of Art Work by Henry Miller-Tadanori Yokoo [24 Apr 2014|07:34am]

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Poster for Exhibition of Art Work by Henry Miller-Tadanori Yokoo

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to write out of the center of who he truly was [03 Mar 2012|04:34pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Something I read the other night in the book "Renegade: Henry Miller And The Making Of "Tropic of Cancer"" by Frederick Turner has been on my mind and I want to share it with my beloved readers---

"How he finally learned to do this is simple enough to state: he learned to write as he talked in those transports that sometimes would come upon him like a fit. This could have been the result of having been told often enough that this is what he ought to do, so finally it sank in. Anecdotal evidence has Emil Schnellock telling him this back in New York when Miller was occasionally lighting up the studio with his brilliant bursts. Miller himself has June giving him substantially the same advice when she told him he'd be better off writing like himself instead of trying to ape his literary heroes. And then here in Paris we have the Lithuanian-born philosopher Michael Fraenkel repeating it when he heard Miller talking in the summer of 1931. The cumulative advice ought to have sounded good to Miller because he was a man who loved talk, his own and that of others: those tough-talking sports on the street corners of the Fourteenth Ward and those famous stem-winders Emma Goldman, Big Bill Haywood, and others whose cultural image went back to rural monologists and the heroically profane boatmen of the national folklore. Surely, these things went into his learning. But the alchemical process through which advice and example and cultural heritage must pass before these can become personal and therefore precious is rarely direct. Let us grant the importance of these factors and then add one more: his failure. For it was his solitary, heroic confrontation with this that proved decisive in the transformation of the man who called himself "The Failure" into the brilliant success he became with "Tropic of Cancer", the most startling, scabrous passage of which is adumbrated in this March 10th letter to Emil.

For Miller had not come to Paris to find artistic freedom and rub elbows with his fellow artists. That had been the story of the expatriates of the 1920's. He has been exiled here as a failure, a failure as a writer and as a man. The longer he wandered the city's streets and haunted its poor quarters with their stinking bars and gurgling pissoirs, the longer he continued to slash at his manuscripts in this cafe and that, the more absolute his failure came to seem. Writing those rambling letters had a cumulative effect of objectifying this for him, forcing him to see how utterly false "Moloch" and "Crazy Cock" were to the man he was, how misguided his literary aspirations had been from the beginning. He had yearned to be a writer and an intellectual in the Old World mode, someone who would be respected anywhere. He was not, he had been furiously insisting for years, your average Joe from Brooklyn. But over these months in Paris, writing with an increasingly naked candor about his life, he came to see that in many ways that was in fact just what he was and that this was a good thing. For if he could capitalize on this, find a way to write out of the center of who he truly was instead of who he thought he ought to be, this would be the way forward for him. The letters helped him see this, for just as the personal letter can form the bridge between autobiographical experience and literature, so Miller's letters also served as a bridge between his past and his future, which would be the eternal now, this moment that he was living in a city that was anything but a City of Light, that was instead a City of Darkness, of ancient crime and despair and death. And yet, he hadn't gone under here. Instead, he had acquired a strange buoyancy, like one of those India rubber dolls that always pop back up no matter how hard you hit it." pg. 154-156 Frederick Turner

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Tropic of Cancer quotes [28 Nov 2008|10:55pm]

Tropic of Cancer
by Henry Miller

with introduction by Karl Shapiro

and preface by Anais Nin (but supposidly actually written by Henry Miller himself)


"it is poetry only because it rises above literature and because it sometimes ends up in bibles"

"Let's assemble a bible from his work, I said, and put one in every hotel room in America, after removing the Gideon Bibles and placing them in the laundry chutes"

"We can call Miller the greatest living Patagonian."

"The fact is that there isn't any subject and Miller is its poet."

"I have often thought that the Germans make the best Americans, though they certainly make the worst Germans."

"Morally I regard Miller as a holy man, as most of his adherents do---Ghandi with a penis."

"he is screamingly funny without making fun of sex"

"There is only one aim in life and that is to live it. In America it has become impossible, except for a few lucky or wise people, to live one's life; consequently the poets and artists tend to move to the fringes of society."

""The world problem is the individual problem; if the individual is at peace, has happiness, has great tolerance, and an intense desire to help, then the world problem as such ceases to exist. You consider the world problem before you have considered your own problem. Before you have established peace and understanding in your own hearts and in your own minds you desire to establish peace and tranquility in the minds of others, in your nations and in your states; whereas peace and understanding only come when there is understanding; certainy and strength in yourselves (Krishnamurti (Miller?))""

""We create our fate," says Miller. And better still: "Forget, forgive, renounce, abdicate." And "scrap the past instantly." Live the good life instantly; it's now or never, and always has been."

""How can one know the splendor and fullness of youth if one's energies are consumed in combating the errors and falsities of parents and ancestors? Is youth to waste its strength unlocking the grip of death? Is youth's only mission on earth to rebel, to destroy, to assassinate? Is youth only to be offered up as a sacrifice? What of the dreams of youth? Are they always to be regarded as follies? Are they to be populated only with chimeras? ...Stifle or deform youth's dreams and you destroy the creator (Miller).""


"The book is sustained on its own axis by the pure flux and roation of events. Just as there is no central point, so also there is no question of heroism or of strugle since there is no question of will, but only as obedience to flow."

"The humilations and defeats, given with a primitive honesty, end not in frustration, despair, or futility, but in hunger, an ecstatic, devouring hunger---for more life"

"If there is here revealed the capacity to shock, to startle the lifeless ones from their profound slumber, let us congratulate ourselves; for the tragedy of our world is precisely that nothing any longer is capable of rousing it from its lethargy. No more violent dreams, no refreshment, no awakening. In the anaesthesai produced by self-knowledge, life is passing, art is passing, slipping from us: we are drifting with time and our fight is with shadows. We need a blood transfusion."

Tropic of Cancer

"We are are allone here and we are dead (1)."

"The weather will continue bad, he says. There will be more calamities, more death, more despair. Not the slightest indication of a change anywhere. The cancer of time is eating us away. Our heroes have killed themselves, or are killing themselves. The hero, then, is not Time, but Timelessness. We must get in step, a lock steop, toward the prison of death. There is no escape. The weather will not change (1)."

"I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive (1)."

"This then? This is not a book. This is a libel, sladner, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this ia prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty...what you will. I am going to sing for you, a little off key perhaps, but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse....

To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing (2)"

"There are intervals, but they are between dreams, and there is no consciousness of them left. The world around me is dissolving, leaving here and there spots of time. The world is a cancer eating itself away...I am thinking that when the great silence descends upon all and everywhere musicl will at last triumph. When into the womb of time everything is again withdrawn chaos will be restored and chaos is the score upon which reality is written (2)."

"...your womb turned inside out (5)."

"ovaries incandescent (5)."

"I am a sentient being stabbed by the miracle of these waters that reflect a forgotten world (6)."

"I am suffocated by it. No one to whom I can communicate evern a fraction of my feelings... (6)."

"She used candles, Roman candles, and door knobs (7)."

"We have so many points in common that it is like loking at myself in a cracked mirror (9)."

"I recall distrinctly how I enjoyed my suffering. It was like taking a cub to bed with you. Once in a while he clawed you---and then you really were frightened. Ordinarily you had no fear---you could always turn him loose, or chop his head off (9)."

"It seems whenever I go there is drama. People are like lice---they get uner your skin and bury themselves there. You scratch and scratch until the blood comes, but you can't get permanently deloused. Everywhere I go people are making a mess of their lives. Everyone has his private tragedy. It's in the blood now---misfortune, ennui, grief, suicide. The atmosphere is saturated with disaster, frustration, futility. Scratch and scratch---until there's no skin left. However, the effect upon me is exhilarating. Instaed of being discouraged, or depressed, I enjoy it. I am crying for more and more disasters, for bigger calamities, for grander failures. I want the whole world to be out of whack, I want everyone to scratch himself to death (12)."

"...about the women who look so attractive from behind, and when they turned round---wow, syphilis! (23)."

""Great God! what have I turned into? What right have you people to clutter up my life, steal my time, probe my soul, suckle my thoughts, have me for your companion, confidant, and information bureau?" (65)"

""I am a free man---and I need my freedom. I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company" (66)"

"In that monent I lost completely the illusion of time and space: the world unfurled its drama simultaneously along a meridian which had no axis. In this sort of hair-trigger eternity I felt that everything was justified, supremely justified; I felt the wars inside me that had left behind this pulp and wrack; I felt the crimes that were seething here to emerge tomorrow in blatant screamers; I felt the misery that was grinding itself out with pestle and mortar, the long dull misery that dribbles away in dirty handkerchiefs. On the meridian of time there is no injustice: there is only the poetry of motion creating the illusion of truth and drama (96)"

"For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduece himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideoousness of reality. Everything is endured---disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui---in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable (96)"

"It seemed to me that the great calamity had already manifested itself, that I could be no more truly alone thatn at this very moment (98)"

"At this very moment, in the quiet dawn of a new day, was not the earth giddy with crime and distress? (98)"

"I have found God, but he is insufficent. I an only spiritually dead. Physically I am alive. Morally I am free. That world which I have departed is a menagerie. The dawn is breaking on a new world, a jungle world in which the lean spirits roam with sharp claws. If I am a hyena I am lean and hungry one: I go forth to fatten myself (99)"

""She wanted to moven in here. Imagine that! Asking me if I loved her. I didn't even know her name. I never know their names...I don't want to" (102)"

""I'm actually beginning to hate cunt!" (102)"

""All I ask of life," he says, "is a bunch of books, a bunch of dreams, and a bunch of cunt." (103)"

""The trouble is, you see, I can't fall in love. I'm too much of egoist. Women only help me to dream, that's all. It's a vice, like drink or opium. I've got to have a new one every day; if I don't I get morbid. I think too much. Sometimes I'm amazed at myself, how quick I pull it off---and how little it really means." (103)"

""There's something depraved about screwing a woman who doesn't give a fuck about it." (105)"

""Sometimes I lie in bed dreaming about the past and it's so vivid to me that I have to shake myself in order to realize where I am." (129)"

""A good lay isn't enough for me apparently...they want your soul too..." (129)"

""I get so goddamned mad at myself that I could kill myself...and in a way, that's what I do every time I have an orgasm. For one second I like to obliterate myself." (130)"

""The less you notice them the more they chase after you. There's something perverse about women...they're all masochists at heart." (130)"

"As long as that spark of passion is missing there is no human significance in the performance (144)"

"if you don't get to bed before the birds begin to screech it's useless to go to bed at all (161)"

"As soon as the baby is born and handd over to the authorities she will go back to her trade, she says. She makes hats (162)"

"...there is the trembling glitter of a world which demands only the presense of the female to crystallize the most fugitive aspirations (166)"

"When I realize that she is gone, perhaps gone forever, a great void opens up and I feel that I am falling, falling, falling into the deep, black space. And this is worse than tears, deper than regret or pain or sorrow; it is the abyss in which Satan was plunged. There is no climbing back, no ray of light, no sound of human voice or human touch of hand (178)"

"My world of human beings had perished; I was utterly alone in the world and for friends I had the streets, and the streets spoke to me in that sad, bitter lanuage compounded of human misery, yearning, regret, failure, wasted effort (184)"

"...a mask that is twisted by a vacant smile (184)"

""Defendez-vous contre le syphilis!" (185)"

"It has eaten into our souls and we are nothing but a dead think like the moon (185)"

"It's best ot keep America just like that, always in the background, a sort of picture post card which you look at in a wak moment. LIke that, you imagine it's always there waiting for you, unchanged, unspoiled, a big patriotic open space with cowas and sheep and tenderhearted men ready to bugger everything in sight, man, woman or best. It doesn't exist, America. It's a name you given to an abstract idea... (208)"

"Paris is like a whore. From a distance she seems ravishing, youc an't wait until you have her in your arms. And five minutes later you feel empty, disgusted with yourself. You feel tricked (209)"

""So you see why once in a while I must let myself be sucked by a Lesbian..." (238)"

"Just as the people protect themselves against the invasion of their privacy, by their high walls, their bolts and shutters, their growling, evil-tongued, slatternly concierges, so they have learned to protect themselves against the cold and heat of a bracing, vigorous climate. They have fortified themselves: protection is the keyword. Protection and security. In order that they may rot in comfort (240)"

"At the bottom of every frozen heart there is a drop or two of love---just enough to feed the birds (242)"

"Are these men and women, I ask myself, or are these shadows, shadows of puppets dangled by invisible strings? They move in freedom apparently, but they have nowhere to go. In one realm only are they free and there they may roam at will---but they have not yet learned how to take wing. So far there have been no dreams that have taken wing. Not one man has been born light enough, gay enough, to leave the earth! The eagles who flapped their mighty pinions for a while came crashing heavily to earth. They made us dizzy with the flap and whir of their wings. Stay on earth, you eagles of the future! The heavens have been explored and they are empty. And what lies under the earth is empty too, filled with bones and shadows. Stay on the earth and swim another few hundred thousand years! (245-6)"

"If there were a man who dared to say all that he thought of this world there would not be left him a square foot of ground to stand on. When a man appears the world bears down on him and breaks his back. There are always too many rotten pilars left standing, too much festering humanity for man to bloom. The superstructure is a lie and the foundation is a huge quaking fear. If at intervals of centuries there does appear a man with a desperate, hungry lok in his eye, a man who would turn the world upside down in order to create a new race, the love that he brings to the world is turned to bile and he becomes a scourge (248)"

"If any man ever dared to translate all that is in his heart, to put down what is really his experience, what is truly his truth, I think then the world would go to smash, that it would be blown to smithereens and no god, no accident, no will could ever assemble the pieces, the atoms, the indestructible elements that have gone to make up the world (249)"

"Love and hate, despair, pity, rage, disgust---what are these amidst the fornications of the planets? What is war, disease, cruelty, terror, when ight presents the ecstasy of myriad blazing suns? What is this chaff we chew in our sleep if it is not the remembrance of fang-whorl and star cluster (250)"

"If I am inhuman it is because my world has slopped over its human bounds, because to be human seems like a poor, sorry, miserable affair, limited by the senses, restricted by moralities and codes, defined by platitudes and isms. I am pouring the juice of the grape down my gullet and I find my wisdom in it, but my wisdom is not born of the grape, my intoxication owes nothing to wine... (256)"

"I believe that today more than ever book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it: we must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and soul (257)"

"...the world seems to be falling to pieces. It's a smile thrown across an abyss. The whole stinking civilized world lies like a quagmire at the bottom of the pit, and over it, like a mirage, hovers this wavering smile (283-4)"

Notable Words

crepuscular melange
madrepore fructifying
vermouth cassis
epicene caterwauling
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Plexus quotes [28 Nov 2008|10:53pm]

I go through Miller's books and highlight things and I thought I'd share with you all everything I highlighted:

"From childhood on that had been my dream, to sit still and make music. It was just dawning on me that to make music one had to first make himself into an exquisite, sensitive instrument. One had to stop leaving and breathe. One had to take off the roller skates. Oh had to unhitch all connections with the world outside. One had to speak privately, with God as his witness." (42)

"Recalling the feel of my foot slipping into the toe-clip, I re-experienced the most delicious sensations. Riding now along the gravel path under the archway of trees that runs Prospect Park to Coney Island, my rhythm one with the machine, my brain thoroughly emptied, only the sensation of rushing through space, fast or slow, according to the dictates of the chronometer inside me. The landscape to either side falling away like the leaves of a calendar. No thoughts, no sensations even. Just everlasting movement forward into space, one with the machine...." (47)

"If to take a walk, "to explore," as I put it---it was for the deliberate purpose of the transforming myself into an enormous eye. Seeing the common, everyday thing in this new light I was often transfixed. The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnified world in itself." (53)

"I accepted and cherished out of the past only what I could convert to creative ends...." (83)

"But a madman in the proper sense of the word. All flame and spirit, he overflows with creative energy. He is the cup which runneth over. And he is alone." (84)

"We deplore the spirit of violence which is prevalet, but to burst the bonds of death the spirit of man must be driven. The most dazzling possibilities enfold us. WE are infused and invested with powers and energies heretofore undreamed of. We are about to live again as human beings, in the full majesty which the world human implies. The heroic work of our forerunners seems now like the work of sacrificial victims. It is not necessary for us to repeat their sacrifices. It is for us to enjoy the fruits. The past lies in ruins, the future yawns invitingly. Take this everyday world and embrace it! Cease laboring altogether and create! For creation is play, and play is divine." (87)

"We weep crocodile tears over his lementable end, forgetting the burst of splendor which preceeded it. Do we weep when the sun sinks into the ocean? The full magnificence of the sun is revealed to us only in the few moments preceding and following its disappearance. If will appear again at dawn, another magnificence, another sun perhaps. All during the day it nourishes and sustains us, but we scarcely give heed to it. We know it is there, we count on it, but we ofer not thanks, no devotion." (87)

"With our instruments we now detect worlds of whose existense ancient man had not the slightest inkling. We are able to plot realms of worlds beyond our present ken, because our minds are already recepetive to the light which emanates from them. At the same time we are also able to visualize our own wholesale distruction. But are we frozen in our tracks? No. Our faith is greater than we dare to admit. WE sense the magnificence of that life eternal which is man's and which we have ever denied. Despite al our pride and vanity, we behave as if we were nothihg of our true heritage. We protest that we are only human, all too human. But if we were truly human we would be capable of all things, ready for all exigencies, know all conditions of being. We ought to reminds ourselves daily, repeat it like a litany, that in our being lies concealed the whole gamut of existence. We should cease worshiping and inspire worship. Above all, we should cease postponing the acting of becoming what in fact and essence we are." (88-89)

""Then what's the crying for---the moon?"" (138)

"The days passed as in a dream, and the nights were the continuation of some other dream." (166)

"...but she didn't see much difference between imaginary bites and real ones, especially if they left marks on one's skin." (166)

"It was the first time I had met any American for whom the word artist suggested magic." (187)

"These powwows, when the three of us got together, were always rambling, hectic, diffuse. Mona, who was never able to concentrate on anythihg for long, had a way of listening which would drive any many crazy. Always, just when you had reached the most interesting part of your story, she was suddenly reminded of something, and it had to be communicated at once. It made no difference wheether we were talking of Cimabue, Sigmund Freud or the Fratellini brothers: the things she thought so important to tell us were as remote as the asteroids." (199)

""You're not cruel, you're honest."" (204)

"It was the same paradise which millions of souls have fabricated in the darkness of despair." (206)

""I'm going to become a magician!"" (212)

"She danced as little as possible. The important thing was to make the victims drink as much as possible." (224)

"I had learned by this time how almost microscopic is that world of mortals of whom one can say: "He's a man you can count on."" (230)

""We are now inexorably united in brotherhood. The end is the same as the beginning. Observe strict etiquette."" (262)

"Fratres Semper!" (264)

"Had he not said once, George Marshall, that the sun rose and set in her ass?" (270)

"...stimulating the convulsive movements of the orgasm." (272)

""Heroism and obscenity appear no more important in the life of the universe that the fighting or mating of a pair of insects in the woods. Everything is on the same plan." (274)

""Man will change nothing of his final destiny, which is to return sooner or later to the unconscious and the formless."" (275)

"I knew it was the end." (278)

""How can a man learn humility when his back is already broken?"" (283)

"The war was over for him---he was one of its relics." (308)

"The fringe of the societal world." (316)

"There are balmy days in childhood when, perhaps because of the great retardation of the time, one steps outdoors into a world which is dozing. It is not the world of humans, nor is it the world of nature which is drowsing---it is the inanimate world of stones, minerals, objects. The inanimate world in bud.... With the slow-motion eyes of childhood one watches breathlessly as this latent realm of life slowly reveals its pulse beat. One becomes aware of the existence of those invisible rays which emanate perpetually from the most remote parts of the cosmos and which radiate from the microcosm as well as from the marcrocosm. "As above, so below." In the twinkle of an eye one is divorced from the illusory world of material reality; which every step one places himself anew at the carrefour of these concentric radiations which are the true substance of an all-encompassing and all-pervading reality. Death has no meaning. All is change, vibration, creation, and re-creation. The song of the world, registered in every particle of that specious substance called matter, issues forth in an inequable harmony which filters through the angelic being lying dormant in the shell of the physical creature called man. Once the angle assumes dominion, the phyiscal being flowers. Throughout all realms a quiet, persistence blossoming takes place." (317)

"Why is it that angles, whom we foolishly associate with the vast interstellar spaces, love everything which is mignon?" (317)

"The microscopic eye of the angle sees the infinite parts which compose devine whole; the telescopic eye of the angle sees nothing but totality, which is perfect. In the wake of the angel there are only universes to behold---size means nothing." (317)

"To eat is wonderful, but to be eaten is a treat beyond description." (320)

"No matter what she was doing she radiated warmth; her ringing laugh dissolved all problems, assured one of her confidence, trust, benevolence. She was postive through and through, yet never arrogant or aggressive." (352)

"Only the superior being can arouse in us the hunger which is justifiable, the hunger to surpass ourselves by becoming what we truly are. In the presence of the superior being we recognize our own majestic powers; we do not long to e that person, we merely thirst to demonstrate to ourselves that we are indeed of that same pith and substance. We rusth foward to greet our brothers and sisters, knowing beyond all doubt that we are al kin...." (355)

"Suspended three stories above the earth, I had the illusion of floating in space. The lawns and shrubs on which my gaze was riveted would vanish. I saw only what I was dreaming of, a perpetual shifting panorama of evanscent as mist. Sometimes queer figures, garbed in the costumes of the period, floated before my eyes---incredible personages such as Samuel Johnson, Dean Swift, Thomas Carlyle, Izaak Walton. Sometimes it was as if the smoke of battle suddenly folled away and min in armor, chargers sumptuously caparisoned, stood lost and bewildered amidst the slain of the battlefield. Birds and animals also played their part in these still visions, particularly the mthological monsters, with all of whom I seemed to be on familiar terms. There was nothing too outlandish, nothing too unexpected about these apparitions to rout me out of my nothingness. I wandered with motionless feet through the vast halls of memory, a sort of living cinemtograph. Now and then I relived an experience which I had had as a child: a moment, for instance, when one sees or hears something for the first time. In such instances I was both the child experiencing this wonder and the nameless individual ovbserving the child. Sometimes I enjoyed that rare experience of synchroniziing my throught and being with the tenuous fragment of a dream long, long forgotten, and, rather than puruse it, rather than fix it objectively in image and sensation, I would toy with the fringes of it, bathe in its aura, so to say, grateful merely that I had caught up with it, that I had scented its immortal presence.

To this period belongs a night dream which I recorded with scrupulous accuracy. I feel it's worth transcribing....

"It opened with a nightmarish vertigo which sent me hurtling from a dizzy precipice into the warm water of the Caribbean. Down, down I swirled, in the great spiral curves which had no begining and promised to end in eternity. During this ceaseless descent a bewildering and enchanting paanorama of marine life unroooled before my eyes. Enormous sea dragons wriggled and shimmered in the powdered sunlight, which filtered through the green waters; huge cactus plants with hideous roots floated by, followed by spongelike coral growths of curious hues, some sullen as oxblood, some with brillian vermilion or soft lavender. Out of this teeming aquatic life poured myriads of animalcules, resembling gnomes and pixies; they bubbled up like gorgeous flux of stardust in the tail-sweep of a comet......................."" (368-372)

""Shucks," I said, "it's only another way of weeping." (377)

"An not only mature but bursting with sex. Everyone knew that they were just a pair of sults. Tina, who was really audacious, was like onf of Degas' women; Henrietta was bigger, juicier, already a wench. They were always whispering smutty stories under their breath, to the amusement of the class. Now and then they drew their dresss up above their knees---to give us a look. Or sometimes Tina woulod grab Henrietta by the eat and squeeze it playflly---all this in class, behind the teacher's back of course." (379)

"In there I dream away whole passages of destiny and causality." (404)

""You see stars where other see only warts or blackheads."" (404)

"When man ate of the Tree of Knowldge he elected to find a short cut to goodhood, He attempted to rob the Creator of the divine secret, which to him spelled power. What has been the result? Sin, disease, death. Eternal warfare, eternal nrest. The little we know we use for our own destruction. We known ont how to scape that tyranny of the convenient monsters we have created. We delude ourselves into believing that, by means of them, we shall one day enjoy leisure and bliss, but all we accomplish, to be truthful, is to create more work for ourselves, more distress, more enmity, more sickness, more death. By our ingenious inventions and discoveries we are gradually altering the face of the earth---until ti becomes unrecognizable in its ugliness." (413)

"With all the stars in the heavens lavishing their radiant powers on us, with the aid of the sun, the moon and all the planets, how is it that we continue to remain in darkness and frustration?" (413)

"We wither and fade away, we perish, beause the desire to live is extinguished. And why does this most potent flame die out? For lack of faith. From the time we are born we are told that we are mortal. From the time we are able to understand words we are taught that we must kill in order to survive. In season and out we are reminded that, no matter how intelligently, reasonably or wisely we life, we shall become sick and die. We are inoculated with the idea of death almost from birth. Is it any wonder that we die?" (413)

"Has the entire world ever stopped to listen in unison to words of wisdom?" (417)

"If such being exist, and I have every reason to believe they do, then the only possible barrier is consciousness. Degrees of consciousness, to be more exact. When we reach to deeper levels of thought and being they will be there, so to speak. We are still unready, unwilling, to mingle with the gods. The men of olden times knew the gods: they saw them face to face. Man was not removed in consciousness, from either the higher or lower orders of creation." (417-8)

"I never realized that women could be so utterly logical. It wouldn't matter what you were discussin---odors, vegetation, diseases or sunspots. Hers is always the last word, no matter what the subject." (420)

"She can with her eyes closed, believe it or not." (420)

"...back to the stret of early sorrows." (504)

"(In the sout the heat explains almost anything, except lynching.)" (537)

"Sie ist wie eine Blume." (539)

"I am telling you that it is your own fear and ignorance which keep you in slavery. There is only one kind of education, that which leads you to assert and mainatin your own freedom." (563)

""Age means nothing," he interrupated. "It isn't age which makes us wise. Nor even experience, as people pretend. It's the quickness of the spirit. The quick and the dead.... You, of all people, should know what I mean. There are only two classes in this world---and in every world---the quick and the dead. For those who cultivate the spirit nothing is impossible. For the others, everything is impossible, or incredible, or futile. When you live day after day with the impossible you begin to wonder what the world means. Or ather, how it ever came to mean what it does. There's a world of light, in whcih everything is clear and manifest, and ther's a world of confusion, where all is murky and obscure. The two worlds are really one. Those in the world of darkness give a glimpse now and then of the realm of light, but those in the world of light know nothing of darkness. The men of light cast no shadow. Evil is unknown to them. NOr do they harbor resentment. They move without chains or fetters. Until I returned to thise country I associated only with such men, Ih some ways my life is stranger than you think. Why did I go among the Navajos? 'To find peace and understanding. If I had been born in another time I might have been a Christ or Buddha. Here I'm a bit of a freak. Even you have difficulty not to think that way about me."" (571)

"The secret, however, lies in not caring whether anyone, not even the Almighty, has confidence in you. You must come to realize, and you will undoubtedly, that you need no protection. Nor should you hunger afer salvation, for salvation is only a myth. What is there to be saved? Ask yourselve that! And if saved, saved from what? Have you thought of these things? Do! There is no need for redemption vecause what men call sin and guilt have no ultimate meaning. The quick and the dead!---just remember that! When you reach to the quick of things you will find neither acceleration nor retardation, neither brith nor dearth. There is and you are---that's it in a nutshell. Don't break your skull over it, because to the mind it makes no sense. Accept it and forget it---or it will drive you mad..." (573)

"Who made the stars, the sun, the raindrops?" (578)

"It isn't necessary for me to tune in: I've been in tune since the dawn of time. Utter clarity is what marks my performance. I am of the order whose purpose is not to teach the world a lesson but to explain that school is over." (610)

"Suddenly we are asked to look into the depths of the tomb with the same zeal and jow with which we first greeted life." (622)

"Alles Vergangliche ist nur ein Gliechnis." (622)

"What really signifies is not that an individual or a people is 'in condition,' well-nourished and fruitful, but for what he or it is so.... It is only with the coming of Civilization, when the whole form-world begins to ebb, that mere life-preserving beings to outline itself, nakedly and insistently---thisis the time when the banal assertion that 'hunger and love' are the driving forces of live ceases to be ashamed of itself; when life comes ot mean, not a waxing in strength for that task, but a matter of 'happiness of the greatest number,' of comfort and ease, of 'panem et circenses'; and when, in the plae of grand politics, we have economic politics as an end of itself..." (627-8)

"If the solution to life is the living of it, then let us live, live more abundantly!" (631)

"I look at those around me I see only the profiles averted faces. They are trying not to look at life---it is too terrible or too horrible, to this or too that. They see only the awesome dragon of life, and they are impotent before the monster. If only they had the courage to look straight into the dragon's jaws!" (632)

"Open eyes wide and the stir must die down. And when the stir dies down then commences the music." (633)

"Gazing at a star outside my window, I could magnify it ten thousand times; I could roam from star to star, like an angle, endeavoring all the while to graps the universe in these supertelescopic proprtions. I would then return to my chair, look at my fingernail, or rather at an almost invisible spot on the nail, and see into the universe which the physicist endeavors to create out of the atomic web of nothingness. That man could ever conceive of "nothingness" always astounded me." (634)

"On lonely nights, pondering the problem---only one ever!---I could see so very cleary the world as it is, see what it is and why it is the way it is. I could reconcile grace with evile, divine order with rampant ugliness, imperishable creation with utter sterility. I could make myself so finely attuned that a mere zephyr wold blow me to dust. Instant annihilation or enduring life---it was one and the same to me. I was at balance, both sides so evenly poised that a molecule of air would tip the scales." (635)

""My life was one long rosy crusifixion."" (640)

"Perhaps in opening the wound, my own wound, I closed other wounds, other people's wounds. Something dies, something blossoms. To suffer in ignorance is horrible. To suffer deliberately, in order to understand the nature of suffering and abolish it forever, is quite another matter." (640)

"Suffering is unnecessary. But one has to suffer before he is able to realize that this is so. It is only then, moreover, that the true significance of human suffering becomes clear. At the last desperate moment---when one can suffer no more!---something happens which is in the nature of a miracle. The great open wound which was draining the blood of life closes up, the organism blossoms like a rose. One is "free" at least, and not "with a yearning for Russia," but with a yearning for ever more freedom, ever more bliss. The tree of life is kept alive not by tears but by knowledge that freedom is real and everlasting." (640)

Great Words:

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Photo [28 Nov 2008|07:17pm]

My greetings to you all!
I have a request: I need a hi-quality picture of Miller - does anybody have one? My girlfrienf is fond of him and I'd like to make her a small present...
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[13 Mar 2008|01:47pm]

Having seen the excellent movie Henry & June, one scene has always puzzled me. After Henry finished his draft of Tropic of Cancer, he signs it as "Anonymous."

In Issue 5 of Nexus, there's a brief snippet in the article titled "Sex Dreams, Cancer & Nightmares -- Joseph Millard Osman, Anonymous Friends, The Tribune Crowd, & Henry Miller's Unknown Book" by the wonderful Karl Orend. Here is an excerpt that finally solves my mystery:

"Among Joesph Millard Osman's neighbors (at 16 rue Denfert Rochereau) were the poet Walter Lowenfels and his wife Lillian, who had briefly met Henry and June at a party at Ossip Zadkine's atelier, back in 1928. They had not seen each other since. In the meantime, Lowenfels had received important recognition for his writing. He had followed up his early book Episodes and Epistles (1925) with The Richard Aldington Award for American Poets, shared with e. e. cummings (1930), Elegy for Apollinaire (published by Nancy Cunard's The Hours Press, 1930), and a manifesto called Anonymous, which called for an anonymous movement in the arts--books to be published without the author's name appended, so that the work would stand alone--not be judged by existing reputation, or allegiance to literary coteries. Lowenfels would become a friend, and sometimes collaborator, of Miller, especially during the period 1931-34. He is the model for Jabberwhorl Cronstadt in Black Spring. Tropic of Cancer was first scheduled to appear anonymously, in line with Lowenfels' manifesto."

Of course, something can be said for Miller's fears of being censored and jailed--but still, I'm always incredibly amazed at how much research was put into the movie,as there are references to Henry and June's life in New York that don't appear simply in Nin's diaries/novel of the same name.
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[22 Jan 2008|10:08pm]
Hi, I am another fan of Henry Miller.  Really glad to have found this lovely place!  My first book of the Master was "Sexus".  But it was many years ago, I have a sudden appetite to reread it, and to read other things, too.  By the way, I wonder if anyone knows about some HM works online.  Thanks.
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new! [16 Jan 2008|04:56pm]

i just discovered this community and then decided that i had to join!
i just got 2 of henry miller's books (colossus and tropic of capricorn) and i cant wait to read them! this summer i read "stand still like the hummingbird." it is so amazingg.
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Under the Roofs of Paris ~ a tribute to Henry Miller [11 Dec 2007|03:13pm]

[ mood | crazy ]

I wanted to share my latest tryst, a recent acquisition of a print I bought called "Under the Roofs of Paris ~ a tribute to Henry Miller" !

Under the Roofs of Paris ~ a tribute to Henry Miller

artist/ luke charchuk

It reminds me of the book I have, called "Crazy Cock" by H.M., ribald and full of sarciastic satyrs, written in 1927, it is one of his few novels to feature a character other than Henry Miller in the role of protagonist. Tony Bring is depicted as a struggling writer with a bourgeois background who gets enmeshed in human flesh of an unusual love triangle when his wife's female lover Vanya comes to live in their cramped Greenwich Village apartment, things get too close for comfort, but not too close for pleasure...

The other book I like was an immovable feast by Ernest Hemingway, memoirs about his years in Paris as part of the American expatriate circle of writers in the 1920's. Apparently the Feast was quite Movable...

"I love hearing it straight from the author's gift horse in the mouth, and Paris has always fascinated by me with his Eiffel tower, even though he kidnapped Helen. Maybe he should have used a Trojan horse? -- Neigh! I say!" ~ psp

crazy cock,

"Henry Miller says, 'Paint what you like and die happy' " ~ Anthony Hopkins

Miller Primitiva

Henry Miller, Arthur Recital , 1943 Watercolor on paper ,10" x 1 4"

Right-click link to open page in new window:
The Writer's Brush ~ How Writers Paint the World, Anita Shopolsky Gallery

These are interesting works of art to me by other writers. . .
E.E. Cummings, Performer . . . . . . . . . . . Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Freud

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A great quote by my patron saint [25 Oct 2007|05:44pm]

”I see this other race of individuals ransacking the universe, turning everything upside down, their feet always moving in blood and tears, their hands always empty, always clutching and grasping for the beyond, for the god out of reach: slaying everything within reach in order to quiet the monster that gnaws at their vitals. I see that when they tear their hair with the effort to comprehend, to seize this forever unattainable, I see that when they bellow like crazed beasts and rip and gore, I see that this is right, that there is no other path to pursue. A man who belongs to this race must stand up on the high place with gibberish in his mouth and rip out his entrails. It is right and just, because he must! And anything that falls short of this frightening spectacle, anything less shuddering, less terrifying, less mad, less intoxicated, less contaminating, is not art. The rest is counterfeit. The rest is human. The rest belongs to life and lifelessness.”

Henry Miller

I am new here. But I would really like to connect with other Henry Miller devotees. I really hope that this community will survive. Anyway, hit me up and let’s talk.
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new here; [26 Oct 2007|02:40am]


I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it: we must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and soul. It may be that we are doomed, that there is no hope for us, any of us, but if that is so then let us set up a last agonizing, bloodcurdling howl, a screech of defiance, a war whoop! Away with lamentation! Away with elegies and dirges! Away with biographies and histories, and libraries and museums! Let the dead eat the dead. Let us living ones dance about the rim of the crater, a last expiring dance. But a dance!

Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer, 1934

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Miller essay [28 Jul 2007|05:03pm]

I'm hoping people can read and comment on this essay I've written comparing the characters in "Colossus" and "Big Sur."


Any criticism is welcome. If you feel more comfortable you can e-mail me at gjtorikian at gmail.com.
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why "Tropic of..." [05 Jun 2007|11:10am]
I'm hoping someone can tell me *why* Henry Miller gave his books the titles of "Tropic of Cancer" and "Tropic of Capricorn"
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[05 May 2007|05:41pm]

How has this community fallen in interaction? I refuse to allow this to happen. At least once a week I am going to try to post a new item to bolster support of the man that is Henry Miller.

We'll start slow: http://www.cosmotc.blogspot.com/ is a Henry Miller resource blog with more content than you probably ever thought existed.

The difficulty in receiving Miller is that he is both slandered for his "sexual politics" (which are non-existent) and obscured by the fact that his writings were banned and obscured by out-of-print small literary magazines. There's not a lot of material out there on him, but the small community is a fierce one.
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Henry & June [25 Mar 2007|11:37am]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Did anyone like Fred Ward's portrayal of Miller in the film??

I found it a bit excrutiating, to tell the truth.

Opinions welcome. :)

"No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore to us the belief in our own guidance."
-Henry Miller

.....how timeless he is.....

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This came as news to me [20 Oct 2006|01:00am]


In April (1934), when Nin was in London trying to hunt up a publisher for Tropic of Cancer, Miller wrote her that he had been revising the manuscript again and now liked it better. It gave the impression, he wrote, of having been written at twenty-five different addresses—which it had been. When Nin returned with no offers, Miller began to despair. Kahane was claiming to be nearly bankrupt, and Miller had broken with Bradley, denouncing him as an old man who got sadistic pleasure out of critiquing younger men. Then, in June, Kahane agreed to publish the book if Nin would pay printing costs; she agreed to advance him 5,000 francs (about $300).

By July, Miller and Nin were reading proofs. The book needed a preface Kahane thought, because the material was so inflammatory. He offered to provide one, but Miller declined. Instead, he wrote the essay himself and had Nin sign it (she no doubt had something to do with its composition as well). It was a rare opportunity; he could "explain" the book, and point out its importance—under someone else's name. Kahane accepted it, and publication was scheduled for September.

--Mary V. Dearborn
*The Happiest Man Alive: a biography of Henry Miller*

Tropic of Cancer's PrefaceCollapse )
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Letters by Henry Miller to Hoki Tokuda Miller [27 Sep 2006|01:16am]


In 1966, Henry Miller was calling The Pacific Palisades home. On Wednesday nights, he'd go into Beverly Hills to visit his doctor and friend, Lee Siegel. He never brought along any "intellectuals," as he was "sick of hearing people discuss art and literature in [his] home;" it was a chance for him to have some fun.

On one of these nights, in Beverly Hills, Miller met a new love. Her name was Hoki Tokuda, and she was in the United States working at the—now extinct--Imperial Gardens. She was, by all accounts, an accomplished jazz singer and pianist. She was on a work visa. She'd also been in two films, by then. Japanese films, they were titled Nippon Paradise(1964) and Chinkoro Amakko (1965). (Those are IMDb links you're looking at, incidentally, and neither offers much to look at.)

She was twenty-seven years old.

Dated February 22nd, this is the first note from Miller to his newfound love in the collection of their correspondence, edited by Joyce Howard:

Dear Hoki
I hope to see you one evening this week at the Imperial Gardens. Maybe I will bring my friend Joe Gray along. He wants to meet nice Japanese girl.

Henry Miller

(This needs to be viewed at full-screen. Please let me know if there are any problems viewing this. Thanks, in advance!)
And there began a most unusual correspondence.Collapse )
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[08 Aug 2006|09:23pm]

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Ponder. [02 Jul 2006|08:02pm]

New to the community, but certainly not new to Miller. I've been studying him for the last 10 years and am working on a Master's thesis exclusively exploring the Parisian underbelly of the Modern-Post Modern void.

Many people who encounter Miller read him for pleasure; he is not often introduced to students in the liberal arts and sciences because of controversy and mere exclusion from literary canons.

I, often, have more background in his life, work, and circle of friends than my literature professors. Miller is scoffed at, pushed aside, and not accepted purely because of his juvenile rambling, hyper-sexuality and expatriation. Even in specialized studies, Miller is slighted against the larger figures of Modernism or Beat writers. Last Spring I presented an essay featuring Miller and Bukowski, and the Beat Literature scholars were near appalled that I mention Miller as such a strong influence on that era.

As a reader of Miller, you have incredible potential to see into the power of art, as well as the oppression of the larger organizations that control it.

What do you think of his absence in educational institutions/studies? What have you encountered? Why such opposition?

My professors have either no knowledge, think he was married to Marilyn Monroe, or are ashamed to give him credit. The only educator who ever credited him was my 9th grade art teacher who noted him as being "intense and deep."

What gives?
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