Tim Miller To the House of the Sun

ISBN 13: 9780979870743

To the House of the Sun

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9780979870743: To the House of the Sun

To the House of the Sun, a long narrative poem in thirty-three books, culminates with a young man's experience of illumination in the summer of 1865, ascending into the air above California. It begins a few years earlier, on a beach in Savannah, as he broods over the death of his fiancée and the war just beginning to tear the United States apart.

In between, we journey with him through a panorama of America at war: from Georgia through the Deep South, he meets escaped and freed slaves, families facing hardship, and soldiers from the recent battles. In the North, he befriends a weary Walt Whitman, and together they tend to the wounded in Washington, before he leaves the poet and briefly joins the Union Army. After this, he walks West, shedding any identity he may have once had--as an immigrant Irishman, a Catholic, a Southerner, a son--so that what began as an epic of history has slowly become something like a new sutra or gospel, the hagiography of some strange man who appears in the American West teaching, healing, and even raising the dead.

More than a decade in the writing, To the House of the Sun is consciously dependent upon the sacred literature and poetry our own culture is heir to, and following the poem is a generous selection of notes detailing these borrowings, which itself constitutes an anthology of sacred literature and folklore. Built as it is upon the great inherited tradition of history and religion, in the end the entirety of the poem becomes one of those very stories itself, as well as a song of suffering and love, and finally of empathy.

Like all great collections of myth and scripture, To the House of the Sun is both encyclopedic and easily broken down into shorter readings and excerpts, and was written as if it were a compendium taken from disparate sources and from different authors.

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From the Author:



Book 1: Sun & Sea & Morning Star
Invocation - The blockade, Tybee Island, & the ghost - The walk back to Savannah - Charles & Screven's - On the docks - Amy & the retreat home 

Book 2: Over the Mountains & the Ocean
Walking & talking with Thomas - Alone amid the newspaper readers - In the church of St. John the Baptist

Book 3: This Old Lover of Storms
The funeral, & Miha - Farewell to Mother -  Farewell to Miha - Farewell to the girls - Farewell to the street; prayers - Farewell with the new recruits at the train station; the presence of Death

Book 4: Shines in His Agony
The soldiers on the train to Macon - Walking Macon with Alice, & the dying    soldier in the hospital - Alice goes her own way - The lonely night, the Vision, & on to Atlanta

Book 5: In Poor Company
The dining room of journalists in Atlanta - Preliminary stories - The Andrews Raid - Emily's death is told - Alone in his furnished room - The Dream of the ocean & the sun

Book 6: A High Mountain Apart
The early morning train to Chattanooga - The suffering citizens & soldiers of the city - The walk to Lookout Mountain, & the Vision & prayers to Mother & Emily

Book 7: The Sun! The Sun!
The train to Corinth, & Shiloh is recounted - The Confederate camp, the first nights & mornings & days, & all the stories - Conrad tells his own stories, from the great Cattle Raid

Book 8: We Never Sleep! & We Are Soon to Die
The drunken night among the soldiers & whores, & the murdered free slave

Book 9: Like Everything Else in Tennessee
The kindness of the sister - The journey with Jacob into Tennessee, & his lecture - Abandoning all for the woods

Book 10: Woods & River & Food Out of Paradise
The endless ride, & the Fisherman on the lake - The Fisherman's home, & daughter; the meal with the twins, & Conrad's question - The Dream, the interpretation, & back to civilization

Book 11: & This is the South
The train to Richmond summed up - The absurd, depraved, & sentimental - The newspapers, the kidnapped Southerners, the cemetery - The lament of the wife & mother - On the border between North & South; fire on the river, educated proclamations, & Lincoln to blame for all - The haymakers in the Andes, & the unasked questions - Arrival in Richmond, & walking North; the Vision of the tracks, & the abandoned children of the South
Book 12: Closer to Ghosts
The pile of limbs, & Walt Whitman - In camp among the wounded, & recollections - The wounded inside Lacy Mansion, & the air balloon - More ghosts, & the departure for Washington

Book 13: The Far Future
Finding a few rooms in Washington - Work at the paymasters; the soldiers - Hospital visits, & the many dying & dead - Wandering the capitol at night

Book 14: If Only We Could All Die Tomorrow
The wounded Irish boy, & Ireland memories - The burial of the nurse, the music, & Walt's writing - Lincoln, St. Francis & Alexander the Great - The Southern deserters & prisoners, & the war seen from the future - The recent wounded brought in under rain - Walt & his love, & Conrad's stories

Book 15: Write Down This Tale (1)
The many stories of the whole

Book 16: Write Down This Tale (2)
The many stories of the whole, continued

Book 17: These Words & These Men & Their God
Among the Irish Brigade, & Father Corby - The soldier-thieves, punished & expelled - Corby's recollections, Confessions, & prayers - The soldiers at night, & the night mass - An execution commuted - Among the Fenian Brotherhood, & joining the Irish Brigade

Book 18: In These Woods & Along These Roads
The march to Chancellorsville, & the Irish Brigade waits - Mass on a Sunday, the battle, the fire in the woods, & the retreat - The slogging return to Falmouth, & the ghosts of the new dead

Book 19: He is No Saint
The Miserable Soldier - General Meagher retires - The execution - The miracle of the poor family, & the friendship with Welsh

Book 20: Soul & Tree, River & Star
The long march to Gettysburg - Welsh's wife & Conrad's Emily - Rain & the old battlefield - The meal by the river, & the floating bowl

Book 21: Wheatfield & Father & Confession
The blessing before battle, the Wheatfield & hill of stones, the retreat & the fallen flag, & Father - The Confession to Corby, desertion, the long evening through town & out, & the train to Washington

Book 22: Riot & Prayer
The train to Manhattan, Brooklyn Ferry, & early memories - The night walk with Walt, & their agreement; the Draft Riots, & going among the dead, & another agreement, & parting - At Old St. Patrick's, & the long prayer
PART THREE: THE WESTBook 23: & It Was Beautiful
The Vision of Emily; Old Sutter - Travelling on foot, & the arrogance of those on horseback - The green man & the brown men, & the encounter & commentary of the hermit - To Lawrence, Kansas, & family in the corn

Book 24: Humble & So Humble
The meditation over bodily decay - Winter in the city, & the many fires - The cripple, & dejection - The Vision of the transformations in the field - Spring, & the pillar of fire

Book 25: Flood & Resurrection
Arrival in Denver; The mother & her special child, run out of town - The flood & resurrection, & hiding in the tree - The mother & son, & the Vision of the universe in the boy

Book 26: We Are Only Words
The lessons of the mother & son - The senses - The flowers above, upon, & beneath the water - The bird tied to a post, the man kidnapped & blindfolded - The light of truth, the great tree, the story of salt in water, of seeds - The thirst - Do not do what you hate - We are only words - Simplicity - Give, sympathize, control among the rain

Book 27: Whoever Does Not Dance Does Not Know What Happens
The lessons taken to the city - The healings - The dazzle of the new, what God does not demand, & the story of the ungenerous man - God, & atrocity; no justice or safety; life as a genuflection - The dance, the chant, the prayer, the fire

Book 28: No Longer See Any Familiar Thing
The catalogue of many places - The speech to the people, how their city will be destroyed - The speech to the people, to not destroy their another's city

Book 29: As Starved & Frozen As You
At Donner Lake, & the ghosts recount their journey to their arrival

Book 30: Snow & Fire, Renewal & Descent
At Donner Lake, & the ghosts recount being snowbound - Conrad's exasperation, his starving body becoming full, & his descent 

Book 31: Three Bridges & Underworld
The small man & his jar, the dead man carried away; the first bridge, the lines of the dead, & the many gifts; in the boat with Emily, & the second bridge; the slow dance of the dead; the next morning, the small man & the last bridge

Book 32: Sea & Island & Mountain
On the boat, on the sea, to the stream & island - Emily leads him among the trees, & the many ways of ascent & practice - The mountain & final tree, & her dismissal

Book 33: Ascent & All Directions
The ascent up the mountain - The house by the sea, & the seventy-two; the beach & Emily & their bowed heads - Down the mountain & the road to the Pacific; the ascent & the senses; the descent in compassion to the first witness

About the Author:

Tim Miller writes about religion, poetry and history at wordandsilence.com. His fiction and short poetry appeared sporadically in the decade during which he wrote To the House of the Sun. He began the poem in 2002, while working as a caretaker for the elderly in Northeast Ohio, and since then has lived in Georgia, Southern California, Brooklyn, and elsewhere. Delving for twelve years into the world's great trove of religious literature, folklore, and history was his Harvard, his MFA.

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