Henry Miller Revisited

Ahhh,

First comes the book.
Then if you’re lucky the reviews.
Or in some cases, if you’re unlucky.
Or if someone out there has it in for you.
Or worse yet, has it in for the topic of your book.

An example of this last scenario is Frederick Turner’s recent study, in the Icons of America series,
Renegade: Henry Miller and the Making of “Tropic of Cancer.”

No sooner was the book out, than a lady novelist with a pseudo-feminist axe to grind named Jeanette Winterson came along and tried her damnedest to bury it. With fangs bared and claws flailing, she vented her envious spleen not so much on the author but rather on the subject of his well-informed and impeccably researched work. And therefore, if only by inference, took Turner to task simply for daring to write laudingly about such an ‘unworthy person’as Henry Miller.

Lest We Forget

Dear Friends,

One year ago today, January 29th 2011, my friend Zahra Bahrami was hanged by the neck until she was dead. Murdered in cold blood, in Tehran’s Evin prison, by the evil regime that is still ruling Iran. And in all likelihood will continue to rule it for some time to come. While if it falls (or is taken out by…oy veh, please not them!), what will replace it? They thought the Shah was bad, now look what we’ve got. Has Libya been ‘liberated’? Well, the militias certainly think so. Or Egypt? Or…? Tja.

George Whitman, bon voyage

Hey…

Anyone who manages to survive as long and wonderfully as George Whitman did, surely deserves more than a mere RIP when they pass on.

George, the iconic proprietor of Paris’ legendary Shakespeare & Co. bookshop, died on December 14th 2011, just two days after celebrating his 98th birthday!

Here’s the Guardian’s obituary

And for those of you who have not yet read it, here is the story I wrote about my experiences with George, as published in the online magazine Parisiana:
A Place to Change Trains

Along with my condolences to his lovely daughter Sylvia, and his very many close friends, there’s nothing else to say other than:
Bon voyage, mon ami.
When the good Lord made thee,
he certainly did break the proverbial mold!

Salute!

EDDIE

Shakespeare & Co. website

The Eddie Woods Archive

Hello All,

As many of you know (hell, some of you are in there!), the Eddie Woods Archive was acquired by Stanford University in the summer of 2003. With another important file added in 2007. Now, at long last, practically the entire collection (except for Special Books & Magazines, which will be ready soon) has been processed and digitally cataloged. You can get to the electronic Finding Guide, as well as the Catalog Record, via the introduction page

Or, if you prefer, go directly to the Finding Guide

Bop around in there under the Table of Contents (right-hand side of the page). And then do name searches, if you like. By selecting Find under Edit on your web browser and typing in what you are looking for.

Filming The Faerie Princess

Hi y’all,

I was initially intending to do this as an email signature only. But then, looking through my mailing list (which is several hundred strong), I realized that many people on it are either themselves filmmakers (though not necessarily animators) or have contacts in the film world. So hey (thought I), why pussyfoot around? Just go for it and send out a mailing. The old tried and true Babe Ruth theory.*

And this is what I have to say:

Wanted: Animators (and producers/directors) for The Faerie Princess
I would like to see The Faerie Princess (my erotic fairly tale in verse) done as an animated film. Using the complete text of the poem, exactly as written (there are 63 quatrains, all of them rhymed). The animated visuals could either be sexually explicit (as per some of the action/activities described in the poem), or softer but nonetheless romantically sensual. The difference between what I believe in Japanese anime is called hentai and ecchi.

Mel Clay RIP

Friends,

There’s not much I can tell you about it. Mel fell ill a some weeks ago and was taken into hospital. The doctors seemed to think it was severe anemia but didn’t know for sure. All the tests were inconclusive. He was apparently unable to make his own blood, so they kept giving him transfusions. Eventually his body stopped accepting the transfusions. There was nothing more they could do. He was discharged and transferred to a hospice. He passed away peacefully at 2:30 a.m. (San Francisco time) on Monday, September 26th. Mel Clay was 79 years old.

Death penalty drugs

Hello All,

I never thought I’d find myself making a point of saying something positive about drug companies. Given that in far too many respects the pharmaceutical industry must certainly rank in the upper echelon of criminal organizations. (I’ve read enough learnéd articles, watched enough in-depth documentaries, spoken with enough ‘insiders’ to know that I’m on fairly solid ground in making this assertion.) Which doesn’t mean these dudes don’t frequently shower us with any number of exceptionally beneficial products. Far from it. Not only do I regularly gulp my fair share of Ibuprofen (you know, like when I’m feeling a trifle tired and still have work to do or places to go); but as someone who managed to get the clap all of eight times, rest assured that I heartily applaud (hah!) the happy existence of antibiotics. And did all the more so after reading how gonorrhea was treated before penicillin came along. (For an especially harrowing description, see Vance Bourjaily’s novel Confessions of a Spent Youth.) So yes, there are plenty of top-notch drugs around, including legal ones -:) Notwithstanding past horrors like Thalidomide, and despite a shameful plethora of harmful to outright deadly drug-industry malpractices that are still rampant today. From making sure the world stays awash with unneeded (and yet highly profitable!) medications to freely using the peoples of so-called third-world countries as guinea pigs for their potential poisons. In between which the list goes on and on, ad infinitum and ad nauseam.

So what then in God’s name could I possibly have good to say about the buggers?!

Panama Rose and The Hashish Cookbook

Dear Friends,

IRA COHEN, who sadly passed away earlier this year, did many wondrous things in his life. (I am borrowing the word ‘wondrous’ from William Levy; he used it with reference to Ira’s works in an essay entitled “The Art of Hate,” which appeared in his book Natural Jewboy, Ins & Outs Press, 1981.) But one of the things Ira definitely did not do was write The Hashish Cookbook. Hence, contrary to popular but terribly misinformed belief, Ira was also not the pseudonymous author Panama Rose. That was instead Ira’s then-girlfriend Rosalind. We’re talking Tangier, Morocco, mid-1960s. Rosalind invented the recipes, Rosalind wrote and designed the book. At Brion Gysin’s suggestion. Meaning that it wasn’t even Ira’s idea. What Ira did do, in New York 1966, was publish the book under his Gnaoua Press imprint and sell it. 10, 000 copies in six weeks. Oh yes, and then over the years usurp authorship credit, by allowing everyone who wasn’t there at the time (and thus knew better) to believe that he was Panama Rose. This ruse, this historical lie, became such a cornerstone of Ira’s personal mythology that practically all the obituaries led with it: in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Independent, as well as a touch more coyly in the Guardian.