Black Messiah | A tribute to Henry Miller

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Editor — John Bennett. ISBN (cloth): 0-912824-25-5 ISBN (paper): 0-912824-26-3 © 1981 by John Bennett

Acknowledgments: Black Messiah gratefully acknowledges the following for their part in making this publication possible: Quality Typesetting, Ashland, Oregon; Record Printing, Ellensburg, Washington; McNaughton & Ounn Lithographers, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Colorhouse, Minneapolis Minnesota; Emil White, Big Sur, California; and Doug Martensen, Ellensburg, Washington.

A very special thanks to Noel Young of Capra Press for his generosity in providing us with invaluable information, advice and material for this special Henry Miller issue.

Patrons: Patrons are welcome and very necessary. We do not take NBA, CCLM or state arts council money. If you like what we’re doing, lend a helping hand by sending any amount you can afford in excess of the price of a normal subscription. $100 or over makes you a lifetime patron. Patrons to date: Justino Balderrama, Harriet Dolphin, Frank T. Evans, John D. McCall and Paul Swetlik.

Subscriptions: Black Messiah will be published on an irregular basis, approximately three issues a year. Subscriptions are $12 for three consecutive issues. Single copies are $4.50. Available from VAGABOND, 1610 N. Water St., Ellensburg, WA., 98926.

Photo Credits: Front Cover: Henry Miller watercolor, photo by Gail Mezey, courtesy Capra Press. Back Cover: Henry Miller in the doorway of his study at his home on Partington Ridge, Big Sur, September 1951. Photo Copyright 1977 by Robert Young, Jr. Courtesy Capra Press. Page 1: Black & white reproduction of a 1968 Miller watercolor of an anonymous friend, titled “The Third Eye.” Courtesy of Capra Press. Page 2: 1942 photo of Miller. Courtesy of Val Miller/Capra Press. Page 9: Caricature by Brassai, 1931. Courtesy Capra Press. Page 17: Photo by Jaime Snyder. Courtesy Capra Press. Page 19: Newspaper clipping photo. Page 24: Photo by Emil White. Courtesy Capra Press. Page 29: Photo by Robert Sheldon. Courtesy Capra Press.


Fear, hydra-headed fear, which is rampant in all of us, is a hang-over from lower forms of life. We are straddling two worlds, the one from which we have emerged and the one towards which we are heading. That is the deepest meaning of the word human, that we are a link, a bridge, a promise. It is in us that the life process is being carried to fulfillment. We have a tremendous responsibility, and it is the gravity of that which awakens our fears. We know that if we do not move forward, if we do not realize our potential being, we shall relapse, sputter out and drag the world down with us. We carry Heaven and Hell within us; we are the cosmogonic builders. We have choice — and all creation is our range. — Henry Miller Sexus (1945)


Remembering Henry Miller – Jack Saunders – page 12 | Henry Miller—Dead? – Alfred Perles – page 14 | An Appreciation of Henry Miller – Norman Mailer – page 17 | The Pajama Man – Curt Johnson – Page 18 | Phoenix Day – John Bennett – page 20 | Speaking Well of Whores and Henry Miller – Charles Campbell – page 24 | Uncle Henry – Noel Young – page 27 | Henry Miller/Thomas Berger Correspondence | Goodbye to Henry-san – Erica Jong – page 34 | poems – Gerda Penfold – page 38 | Chimborazo (a story) – Dennis Lynds – page 44 | Why, We’re Here – Curt Johnson – page 49 | Wide Open (a story) – Jerry Bumpus – page 53 | Donn Pearce (an interview) – Jack Saunders – page 61 | The Charles Manson Dilemma – John Bennett – page 66 | Cooking – John Bennett – page 69 | Rhinestone Cowboy (a story) – John Krich – page 72 | I Coulda Been on the Moon – Jim Orem – page 75 | poems – Gary Allan Kizer – page 80 | Baby Driver (novel excerpt) – Jan Kerouac – page 84 | Quitting – Jack Saunders – page 88 | Henry Miller Chronology – page 94 – Erotic woodcuts by Richard Denner. Photos compliments of Capra Press.


Dictatorial. Black Messiah’s editorial policy is dictatorial. That is to say, creative. Black Messiah is elevating the editor’s place in the scheme of things to a creative level. Which is, as any poet will tell you, a dictatorial level. Poets don’t discuss, they tell. And if they are skill-ful and succeed in getting their message thru, they nail you to the wall. If they don’t succeed, they go into a rage, storm away, sulk. This is as it should be. There are enough people sitting down and reasoning together.

It should not be assumed that because Black Messiah’s editorial policy is dictatorial that it is also narrow. We’re wide open. We’re powered by a vision. We’re not sure what the vision is. Visions are like that. They do a slow strip tease. They play to a rapt audience, half of which is bleary-eyed drunk before the final veil falls away. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. The universe explodes. The universe is like a vision, like a strip tease artist. We exist somewhere in the middle of a cosmic explosion, even science has discovered that much. Don’t unpack the car, Martha, we won’t be staying here that long.

We’ll tell you what we think if you’ll do the same. Anger is not ruled out. Harsh words and even rage are acceptable. Confusion and misunderstandings are unavoidable. Grudges are taboo. Petty spite is a no-no. Think of time as a commodity much rarer than gold and act accordingly. But not myopically. Another no-no. No myopic action in the fast lane. Everyone who sends a photograph of himself or some member of his family demolishing a television set receives a free subscription to Black Messiah. I think that pretty much covers it. — Editor

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