Saturday, August 13, 2005

Henry Miller Award

Nerve, which describes itself as "a smart, honest magazine on sex, with cliché-shattering prose and fiction as well as striking photographs of naked people that capture more than their flesh," has been issuing a monthly Henry Miller Award since March 2005. The award is given for the "best literary sex scene in the English language" which helps in (to use the Miller quote Nerve provides) "resuscitating the body and soul." At year end, the monthly winners will be reduced to a single victor for 2005.

I don't know if this competition is altogether successful. Without the context of the full story, the excerpted scenes seem to be cutting in straight for the money shot at the same time they strive to impress with literary style. Sex is funny in a way, so, any isolated scene extracted from a serious work comes off as cheesy.

It's good to see Miller's name continue to maintain exposure like this; yet, I've always seen so much more in Miller than just the sex stuff (significant though it is in much of his work), and worry a bit about this contributing to a narrow Miller pigeon-hole. However, better that it's Nerve awarding "literary" sex scenes, then, say, Penthouse Letters dishing out HM Awards for most hardcore jerk-off story.

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