On Henry James

Someone over on LibraryThing shared the poem that follows, which was on The Writer’s Almanac today.  I discovered Henry James for myself only this year, and he’s a writer I will continue reading for certain.

Henry James

“Poor Mr. James,” Virginia Woolf once said:
“He never quite met the right people.”
Poor James. He never quite met the
children of light and so he had to invent them.
Then, when people said: No one is like that.
Your books are not reality, he replied:

So much the worse for reality.

He described himself as “slow to conclude,
orotund, a slow-moving creature, circling his rooms
slowly masticating his food.”

Once, when a nephew asked his advice
on how to live, he searched his mind.
Number One, be kind, he said.
Number Two, be kind and
Number Three, be kind.

“Henry James” by June Beisch, from Fatherless Woman.

Portrait of Henry James by John Singer Sargent, 1913


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