Henry Miller's Red Phoenix
Karl Orend’s book, Henry Miller’s Red Phoenix: A Lawrentian Quest (Alyscamps Press, 2006) tells the story of The Phoenix magazine project. At the same time that that tale revolves around the earnest and tragic James Cooney and his suffering young wife, Blanche, it does so within a Henry Miller-shaped frame. Orend has a way of weaving his various narrative threads into a tight cord; even when the narrative is deep into description about James Cooney, Blanche Cooney, the Woodstock artist colony of the 1930s, Anais Nin, and Michael Fraenkel, Henry Miller is always present in some way (as is the subject of D.H. Lawrence, who inspired not only Cooney, but Miller and the entire Villa Seurat circle as well.)
Published biographies often, by their nature, streamline a life for practical purposes. If you’ve read all of the Miller biographies, then you’ll find this refreshing because it allows us to view the Miller you know from another perspective. The 100+ pages allow us time to observe a single chapter in his life as it ebbs and flows, allowing time meet the other players involved, often as asides, as if Miller has left the room yet we are still there to listen in on the gossip; we see, for example, the relationship develop between Cooney and Michael Fraenkel, to the extent where Fraenkel joins Cooney in Woodstock, New York, to work on the small press and attempt to create an artists’ utopia.
Orend, who has been researching and writing on Miller for years (see Nexus: The International Henry Miller Journal, for starters; there’s also a wealth of independently-published works), knows this material inside-out, and shares it with extensive notations. The book also presents significant biographical information about Eduardo Sanchez, cousin to Anais Nin.
The second half of Henry Miller’s Red Phoenix, titled “Henry Miller’s Journey into The World Of Lawrence,” details Miller’s relationship with Lawrence’s work, including the trials of writing World. In the Appendix, Orend has included Conrad Moricand’s horoscope analysis of Henry Miller (which also appears in the latest Nexus journal).
Alyscamps Press doesn’t appear to have a central presence on the internet, but it you’re interested in the book, I can probably put you in touch with the author if you send me an e-mail.
 New York Times announcement, June 13, 1937; as cited by Orend.