Stroke by Stroke is a pairing of two of Henri Michaux’s most suggestive texts, Par des traits (Stroke by Stroke, 1984) and Saisir (Grasp, 1979), written toward the end of his life. The author’s idiogrammic ink drawings accompany his poetic explorations of animals, humans, and the origins of language. These texts work at the borders of word and image, interior and exterior, sacred and mundane. In a series of verbal/pictorial gestures at once explosive and contemplative, Michaux emerges at his most Zen.
Henri Michaux is hardly a painter, hardly even a writer, but a conscience—the most sensitive substance yet discovered for registering the fluctuating anguish of day-to-day, minute-to-minute living.
— John Ashbery
Michaux travels via his languages: lines, words, colors, silences, rhythms. And he does not hesitate to break the back of a word...In order to arrive: where? At that nowhere that is here, there, and everywhere.
— Octavio Paz
Michaux excels in making us feel the strangeness of natural things and the naturalness of stange things.