Thousand Times Broken

Thousand Times Broken
Three Books
Introduction by Gillian Conoley
Translated by Gillian Conoley

Times Literary Supplement

"In the mid-1950s the Belgian-born writer and artist Henri Michaux experimented with the hallucinogenic drug mescaline. He continued taking it, on and off, for eleven years and wrote several books about it, describing, as accurately and objectively as possible, his experience of being on the drug, his heightened sense of awareness, but also his loss of selfhood. These themes were already apparent in Michaux's surrealistic, pre-mescaline writings, but mescaline confirmed his view that below our everyday perception a swirling chaos surrounds us at all times, could we but see it. He wanted us to see it, to share in this vision, and he used his considerable talents as an artist and poet to lay bare this hidden reality. Thousand Times Broken brings together three previously untranslated books composed during the period of Michaux’s mescaline experiments; here skillfully translated by the poet Gillian Conoley and presented in a bilingual edition, with illustrations."––Ian Pindar

"Thousand Times Broken: A Conversation with Translator Gillian Conoley"
Dec 18, 2014

Gillian Conoley is interviewed by Peter Biello for the Three Percent blog on translation. Part two of the conversation can be found here 

- Kaija Straumanis, Three Percent

"Talismanic Song: Gillian Conoley & Brian Laidlaw in Conversation"
Nov 18, 2014

Gillian Conoley and Brian Laidlaw in conversation for the Walker Art Center's blog, Field Guide the day before their collaborative event, presented by Rain Taxi. They talk about their collaboration, art, music, and Gillian's new Henri Michaux translations, Thousand Times Broken.

- Eric Lorberer, Walker Art Center's Field Guide

"The 50 Best Independent Fiction and Poetry Books of 2014"
Nov 21, 2014

Thousand Times Broken chosen as one of the 50 best indie fiction/poetry books of the year:
"The Belgian Michaux was a paragon of esotericism in the 20th century. A wildly traveled cultural polymath, Michaux wrote in a wide range of modes. These three books, collected by the legendary City Lights, bring together some of the artist's best mergers of art and poetry."

- Jonathan Sturgeon, Flavorwire

Music & Literature

"Thousand Times Broken is an inventive and aptly hallucinatory collection of texts and images that offers a glimpse into the astonishingly un-minimal oeuvre of one of the twentieth century's mysteriously obscure giants. Published alongside the French original text, Conoley's work is an act of devotion to this looming figure of international art and letters, and captures the uncanny and occasionally violent pilgrimage undertaken by the 'rationalist mystic' artist ... [T]he intensity of Michaux’s desire to truly say something causes Thousand Times Broken to radiate with a fierce and humorous humanity; it is a portrait of a flawed creature, seeking and sometimes hitting upon the edges of the secret that Michaux has spent a lifetime chasing after."––Catie Dolan-Leach

"Thousand Times Broken: Gillian Conoley on the works of Henri Michaux"
Nov 1, 2014

Gillian Conoley talks with poet Andrew Joron on the visionary poetry and art of Henri Michaux and the translation process of Thousand Times Broken.

- Andrew Joron, Poetry Foundation's Harriet Blog

"Henri Michaux, Thirteen Ways"
Oct 28, 2014

Excerpts from Gillian's Conoley’s translation of Henri Michaux’s Thousand Times Broken featured in Little Star Journal, a journal of poetry and prose alongside Denis Johnson and others.

- Ann Kjellberg, Little Star Journal

Psychedelic Press UK

"The reader is asked to switch between seeing and reading, and the effect is to keep the mind alert to the shifting nature without letting any single image become too static … [Gillian] Conoley has done a very important service to English students of literature and the drug-writing tradition by translating these works for the first time. A fantastic effort that, by displaying the original French as well, leaves the text as open as perhaps Michaux always intended his works to be."––Robert Dickens, Psychedelic Press UK


"Henri Michaux's Thousand Times Broken: Three Books may be comprised of writing and art from 1956-1959 centered around his experimentation with mescaline, yet it easily exceeds initial expectations that fact might arouse … Michaux's mescaline use takes a backseat to his greater subject: exploration of opening up the physical and mental confines of human consciousness as exemplified by visual art and written word … Michaux's visual art serves as a guiding principle behind [Gillian] Conoley's organization of Thousand Times Broken … Michaux's work provides a fascinating and unique glimpse of the inner workings of human consciousness yet somehow he himself manages remain at once outside of it. He's not alien, just other."––Patrick James Dunagen, Bookslut

"A Turbulent Infinity at City Lights: Henri Michaux"
Oct 2, 2014

A personal account and review of the Henri Michaux event hosted by City Lights with Gillian Conoley and Garrett Caples.

- Steven Gray, Litseen

"Thousand Times Broken Book Party filmed by and featured on Litseen"
Sep 15, 2014

Complete presentation and reading from the book release party for Thousand Times Broken by Henri Michaux, filmed by Litseen.

- Evan Karp, Litseen

Publisher's Weekly

"Michaux remains difficult to classify––he wrote verse and prose that is alternately Surrealist, essay-like, fantastical, fabulist, and psychedelic ... [Gillian] Conoley turns Michaux's French into alert, fluid English to match the enface French: it’s both a puzzle, and a pleasure, to follow along." ––Publisher's Weekly

"Publisher's Weekly looks forward to Fall Books by Henri Michaux & Lisa Robertson, Among Others"
Jul 21, 2014

The Harriet Blog features Publisher's Weekly’s Fall 2014 picks, which includes the forthcoming Thousand Times Broken by Henri Michaux.

- Harriet Staff, The Poetry Foundation's Harriet Blog

"Thousand Times Broken listed in Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Poetry Books"
Jun 26, 2014

Thousand Times Broken chosen for Publisher's Weekly Fall 2014 Fall Announcements as one of the top 10 new poetry books.

- Publisher's Weekly

On the Seawall

"Henri Michaux's mescaline writings are celebrated for the freedoms they take, and rightly so. But the more one reads Michaux, the more he emerges as a poet who masters his essential difficulties, achieving not only ecstatic dissolutions but stabilities earned against the odds. His work comprises a protective strategy––a wavering sense of self-identity mitigates one’s fear of others. At the same time, he spends himself. His claim on us––and he is not so selfless as to not stake a claim – depends on our doing the same. Despite what we learned in Zoology 101, fight or flight are not the only alternatives. One can also take the drug and lie down before the beast."––Ron Slate