Redux: Henry Miller, Ottessa Moshfegh, Denise Levertov



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

This week, we bring you Henry Miller’s Art of Fiction interview from our Summer–Fall 1962 issue, Ottessa Moshfegh’s short story “A Dark and Winding Road,” and Denise Levertov’s poem “Sound of the Axe.”

If you like what you read, you can also listen to two of these pieces—plus Eudora Welty’s recollection of meeting Henry Miller in Jackson, Mississippi—in the seventh episode of our podcast, “The Listening Forest”; and if you like what you hear, why not give us a boost in the charts and subscribe on iTunes. While you’re there, tell us in the comments how much you love the show. 

Henry Miller, The Art of Fiction No. 28
Issue no. 28 (Summer–Fall 1962)

I never do any correcting or revising while in the process of writing. Let’s say I write a thing out any old way, and then, after it’s cooled off—I let it rest for a while, a month or two maybe—I see it with a fresh eye. Then I have a wonderful time of it. I just go to work on it with the ax. But not always. Sometimes it comes out almost like I wanted it.

“A Dark and Winding Road,” by Ottessa Moshfegh
Issue no. 207 (Winter 2013)

My brother was younger than me by just three years, but those three years seemed to stretch to a wide chasm of estrangement the older we got. Sometimes I wondered if my mother had strayed, we were that different. It wouldn’t be fair to call me a snob and my brother trash, but it wouldn’t be far from accurate. He called himself MJ, and I went by Charles. As a child I played clarinet, chess. Our parents bought MJ a drum set, but he wasn’t interested. He played video games, made messes. At recess I’d watch him throw fake punches at the smaller kids and wipe his snot on his sleeve.

“Sound of the Axe,” by Denise Levertov
Issue no. 79 (Spring 1981) 

Once a woman went into the woods.
The birds were silent. Why? she said.
Thunder, they told her,
thunder is coming.
She walked on, and the trees were dark
and rustled their leaves. Why? she said.
The great storm, they told her,
the great storm is coming …

If you like what you read, why not become a subscriber? You’ll get instant access to our entire sixty-four-year archive, not to mention four issues of new interviews, poetry, and fiction.