The iconic navy blue “It’s here in Big Sur where I learned to say ‘Amen’” HMML shirts are back in stock!

jesse copyGood news! The iconic navy blue “It’s here in Big Sur where I learned to say ‘Amen’” HMML shirts are back in stock!

Why, there’s Jesse  (left) in his men’s crew neck. It’s as if he’s become one with the redwood!

Order via our online store – and you don’t even need a Paypal account to do it; just a credit card!

Click here!

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Henry the Elder Stateman falls for Japanese singer and pianist Hoki Tokuda….

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).

She was twenty-seven years old.

Click here to read some of Henry’s letters to Hoki!

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Support the Library, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit arts center by signing up for our monthly digest!

Support the Library, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit arts center by signing up for our monthly digest!

The digest, which we’ll send to supporters who give over $2 a month in recurring donations or a one-time $25 donation, includes “early-bird specials” for select events, updates on our renovations and capital improvements, rare video and photos from the archives, special deals on store items, and more!

Here’s what you missed from this most recent edition!0d9ae4871041acf6576782bc_124x186

1. Update on the HML Becoming Legal: Twice!

2. Kerouac Lets Miller’s Dinner Get Gold

3. Remembering James Laughlin, Founder of New Directions, Poet, and Miller’s Trusted Publisher

4. Henry Miller helps to deliver Siddartha.

5. Man Ray photograph?

6. Big Sur Land Use Plan – forgotten?

7. What’s With the HML/Swedish Thing? Exclusive Photos From Little Dragon Show

8. Hippie Sven stars in “Are You Experienced?”

9. Emil White’s Copy of Tropic of Cancer.

Click here to sign up!

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The deadline to register for the March 6-8 Big Sur Writing Workshop for picture books, early reader, middle grade and & YA is MONDAY FEBRUARY 9th!

The deadline to register for the March 6-8 Big Sur Writing Workshop for picture books, early reader, middle grade and & YA is MONDAY FEBRUARY 9th!
The workshop, which is courtesy of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and the Henry Miller Library, will be held at the world-famous Big Sur Lodge (left). Make friends, improve your manuscript, meet agents, and more!

Click here to register or simply call 831-667-2574 with a credit card handy!

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The 10th Annual Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series now accepting submissions!!


Here is an invitation to all film-makers, distributors and producers of short film to submit film(s) for consideration in the 10th Annual Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series.

BSISFSSTransplogo_250Held from June to August, 2015, at the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur the series has, in nine short years, become one of the most exciting and unique film screening series in the world. Perhaps it’s because of our world-class jury of Oscar winners, producers, and artists. Or it could be our ideal location, situated practically half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Or maybe it’s because films are screened under the stars beneath towering redwoods in a natural outdoor amphitheater, steps from the Pacific Ocean..
Previous years’ Winners are:

2006        BINTA y la Gran Idea by Javier Fesser,
2007        For Interieur by Patrick Poubel,
2008        The Danish Poet by Torill Kove
2009        Auf der Strecke by Reto Caffi
2010        BEAST by Lars P Arendt
2011        Chienne d’Histoire by Serge Avedikan.
2012        Luminaris by Zaramella & Cornillin
2013        Les Lézards by Vincent Mariette
2014        Zela Trovke by Asier Altuna (pictured, below right)

In the past we have selected circa 50 films to screen over the twelve weeks of our summer series. We will announce to the public the films selected for this year’s lineup at the end of May.
The Henry Miller Library is dedicated to the arts and to championing the works and cultural contributions of the late author and artist Henry Miller.We love short film and the fact that we get to show films here at this amazing place and we hope to see you and your film in Big Sur this summer!The easiest way to submit is by sending an e-mail. Or visit

Please include a URL and p/word. Thanks!
Magnus Torén
Series Director
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Don’t forget the HMML “Mass Transit Discount” for visitors!

A friendly reminder: if you take mass transit to the HML or carpool (three or more per car — honors system!), you’re entitled a 25% discount on book purchases!

Check out your mass transit options below.  And in the meantime, “Read, Ride, and Relax!” (Catchy, isn’t it?)

From SF / East Bay

* BART to the Milbrae station.

* Take Caltrain to Diridon Station in San Jose.

* Take Monterey-Salinas Transit Bus #55 (Monterey-San Jose Express) to Monterey Transit Plaza.

* Take Monterey-Salinas Transit it Bus #22 (Big Sur) to the Nepenthe stop, which is 1/4 mile north of the Library.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The #22 Big Sur bus only runs on weekends from Labor Day to Memorial Day. However, beginning Memorial Day, May 25th, until Labor Day, September 7th, it runs seven days a week from Monterey to Big Sur. Check out the schedule here.


From the south

* This is a bit more challenging. From the Amtrak station in Salinas, take the #56 Salinas-Monterey bus to Monterey Transit Plaza.

* Pick up the Big Sur Bus (Line #22) when available – see Important Note above.



The 55 Salinas-Monterey and 48 Salinas (Amtrak station) bus lines also stop at the Monterey Regional Airport, which has multiple rental car options.

Other Ridesharing Options

Don’t forget sites like Zimride, CraigsList, and to leave a message on our Facebook account!

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Kerouac Lets Miller’s Dinner Get Cold

Henry’s influence on the Beats is well-documented.

As our pal James Decker notes in “Henry Miller and the Narrative Form: Constructing the Self, Rejecting Modernity,”

“[Jack] Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among others, admired Miller greatly, no doubt recognizing in spiral form’s figure-like flights like jazzy improvisation that marked their own compositions.”

Jack Kerouac was no exception. kerouac-ginsberg-2

As our the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company vividly illustrates, the two writers began to gravitate towards each other in 1958 with the publication of Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums.

Miller loved it.

He went so far so to write its publisher and express how he was “intoxicated” “from the moment I began reading.” “No man can write with that delicious freedom and abandonment who has not practiced severe discipline …. Kerouac could and probably will exert tremendous influence upon our contemporary writers young and old … we’re had all kinds of bums heretofore but never a Dharma bum, like this Kerouac.”

Jack was stoked, calling Miller’s letter “a real breakthrough for us,” in a letter to Allen Ginsberg (above).

henry-miller-e1369889280786Soon after Miller wrote the introduction to Kerouac’s The Subterraneans, noting:

“Let the poets speak. They may be ‘beat,’ but they’re not riding the atom-powered Juggernaut. Believe me, there’s nothing clean, nothing healthy, nothing promising about this age of wonders—except the telling. And the Kerouacs will probably have the last word.”

Jack and Henry also exchanged letters during this period.

Kerouac arrived in Big Sur in 1960 with plans to detox at Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s cabin. And so the stage was set for a great, historic sit-down, with Ferlinghetti sitting in as well.

“Miller was going to drive up the coast from where he lived on Partington Ridge, to Carmel Highlands, to the house of a friend named Effron Doner. We were going to drive down the coast and meet there for supper,” remembers Ferlinghetti. But Kerouac snuck into San Francisco without first notifying his sponor, and was found in the early-afternoon drinking next door to City Lights Books at Versuvio’s bar.

CTC takes it from there:

51XNA5oKR5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“As time passed, and Kerouac drank and socialized with “old buddies,” Ferlinghetti did the math and realized they had to leave for the three-hour drive if they were going to make it in time for dinner. Kerouac kept putting off the departure, beginning a series of courtesy phone calls to Miller with apologies and assurances like, ‘‘I’ll tell you what, we’re leaving now, we’ll be there by eight o’clock, for sure.’

[H]is voice on the phone just like on his records,” wrote Kerouac of Miller in Big Sur, “nasal, Brooklyn, goodguy voice.” At 10 PM, Kerouac made his final appeal to Henry, of which he would write, “we’re all drunk at ten calling long distance and poor Henry just said, ‘Well I’m sorry I dont get to meet you Jack but I’m an old man and at ten o’clock it’s time for me to go to bed, you’d never make it here until after midnight now.”

Ferlinghetti “gave up on the whole scene” and drove back home without Kerouac, to his cabin at Bixby Canyon in Big Sur. Kerouac would later feel “awful guilt” about standing Miller up, “because he’s gone to the trouble of writing the preface to one of my books.”

Lawrence, Jack, and Lawrence

Lawrence, Jack, and Lawrence

But, he admits that what he was really thinking at the time was, “Ah the hell with it he was only getting in on the act like all these guys write prefaces so that you dont even get to read the author first,” a perspective of thought that Kerouac defines as a “remorseful paranoia” and “an example of how really psychotically suspicious and loco I was getting.”

Kerouac remained at the bar until late, took a taxi into Big Sur, stumbled through the Pacific darkness with a lantern to find Ferlinghetti’s cabin, and was found sleeping in a nearby meadow the next morning.

In 1961, Kerouac wrote of plans to return to the coast and “See Henry Miller this time” but, as far as anyone knows, a meeting between the two writers never happened.

(Once again, a massive hat-tip to the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company.)



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Why are we obsessed with The Great American Novel?

The New York Times asks, “Why are we obsessed with ‘The Great American Novel?’”

Cherly Strayed says, “Our obsession with the Great American Novel is perhaps evidence of the even greater truth that it’s impossible for one to exist.”51C5VP4VZTL

Adam Kirsch says, “The more deeply a novel lays bare the darkness in American society and the American soul, the more likely it is to become a classic.”

We say it’s a moot point. The Great American Novel was published in 1964: Ken Kesey’s “Sometimes a Great Notion.”


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Check out this brilliant review of Ping Pong, the Henry Miller Library’s literary and arts journal!

It’s always nice when someone “gets it.”

ping-pong-2014The most recent issue of Ping Pong, the HML’s literary and arts journal deals with themes of censorship, echoing the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that made Henry Miller’s classic Tropic of Cancer legal to read and sell in the United States.

As Editor-in-Chief Maria Garcia Teutsch notes in her opening letter, “speech is not free, someone has paid the tab for you.” And so the journal contains a variety of poems, artwork, short stories, and more — a cohesive appreciation of those who paid the tab and paved the way.

The online magazine New Pages read Ping Pong, and they “get it.” They understood Ping Pong’s goal of subtly merging the serious with the sublime, the “obscene” with the beautiful, all within the overarching framework of censorship and free speech.

Read the whole thing here; in the meantime, this following money quote elegantly capture’s Teutsch’s (below right) editorial and curatorial approach:yourwoman

The issue is not all heavy-handed. Quite the contrary. There are many pieces that are not only thought-provoking, but artfully elicit smiles and laughter, both bitter and mirthful, as well. Yet even these lighter pieces explore themes of censorship and material that might be condemned if not for our forefathers of free speech.

Jeanine Deibel’s poem “A-Team: Swinging the Lead” is a delightful trip through the possibilities of alliteration. Some favorite lines: “My power animal is an antelope / I worship Angus idols / I curse in my alphabet soup.”

Even this—to curse in alphabet soup—is that not a subversion of a comfortable classic? Is such subversion necessary, imperative, even just plausible, to bolster artistic freedom? Throughout Ping•Pong, even moments of levity harbor serious and thought-provoking undercurrents.

Ping Pong can be purchased for $15 here or by calling the Library at 831-667-2574.




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Check out BBC interview with Okey Ndibe, who’ll be leading the first-ever Big Sur Storytelling Workshop Feb 20-22!

Did you know that the inaugural Big Sur STORYTELLING workshop at the Big Sur Lodge is fast approaching (Feb 20-22)?

okeyThe location is reason enough to attend, but it gets much, much better.

The workshop will be led by acclaimed Nigerian author Okey Ndibe, whose work includes, among other things, the critically-lauded Foreign Gods Inc.!

The UK Guardian calls the novel, which depicts a New York taxi driver named Ike heading home to Nigeria to steal a god, a “morality tale for our time,” noting:

It is to Ndibe’s credit that he makes it clear that Ike is not a victim; these are the choices he makes. Here is an antihero who, whatever the circumstances that made him, is dissolute, weak-willed and entirely selfish. There should be no redemption for this man.

Yet, with subtle hints at moral turmoil, a gift for dark humour, and characterisation that is perceptive and neatly observed, Ndibe manages to persuade the reader to root for Ike, even as his haphazard plans begin to unravel.

Click below hear an illuminating interview with Okey on the BBC discussing the novel.


And visit the Big Sur Storytelling Workshop home page here for more information and to register!

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