The Alphabet Work. Kenward Elmslie.
The Alphabet Work
The Alphabet Work
The Alphabet Work

The Alphabet Work

Washington D.C. Titanic Books, 1977. Author's Copy / Limited First Edition w/Original Artwork by Author. Stapled Wrappers. Signed (Twice) & Inscribed by Kenward Elmslie to Ken & Ann Mikolowski, close friends of Elmslie's & founders of Detroit's "Alternative Press," publishers of many Beat/New York School/Black Mountain-related authors. (1/26 Signed & Lettered Copies [This Copy Unlettered]). This typically-lettered limited edition of "The Alphabet Work," an unheralded 1977 underground classic from Kenward Elmslie, a poet often associated with Frank O'Hara and the "New York School" of poets, is unique among all other copies in that it contains almost all the points required to define it as the lettered edition of 26 (Signed by Author w/Original Collage Work on Recto of Verso Wrapper), but it is NOT lettered. Given the close friendship of Kenward Elmslie & Joe Brainard with Ken & Ann Mikolowski of Detroit's Alternative Press (the former owners of this book), we believe that this is an author's copy Elmslie did not need to formally sign for his publisher, and that Elmslie personally gave the book to Ken & Ann on one of their many cherished visits with Elmslie & Brainard. Given this consideration, this specific edition is among the rarest procurable titles in the Elmslie oeuvre. "The Alphabet Work" is an experimental collection of prose poems written in the explorative, Joycean vein, with an ear for musicality & a marked originality seldom found. Elmslie, a poet often overshadowed by his immortalized contemporaries Frank O'Hara & John Ashbery, is a criminally-underrated 20th century master. The 1970s were an extraordinary and prolific decade for Elmslie, marked by multifarious publications of paramount excellence and well-deserved awards. This work, as the title infers, has each of its twenty-six entries begin with one letter of the alphabet and proceed therefrom into vibrant blasts of inventive, exuberant language and are as adventurous and audacious as they are entrancing. Signed & inscribed on the title page to Ken & Ann Mikolowski. Inscription in blue pen ink reads: "for (block letters w/lines running through them) K + A (resumes common handwriting) "Knack for skittering past difficulties" / Love, / Kenward / July 3, '92 / Calais, Vt." Under his printed name on the title page, Elmslie has also hand-signed the book. Signature also in blue pen ink and reads: "Kenward Elmslie." Original Collage Artwork by Kenward Elmslie attached at recto of verso wrapper and is virtually mint and signed "Kenward Elmslie" in thin black felt pen ink at bottom right corner below collage. Book in very fine condition with only slightest rubbing to front, back covers; minute shelf-wear; slightest bumps to top right, bottom right, top left corners of front cover; similar tiny bumps to top left, bottom left, top right corners of back cover. Very Fine. [Item #2833]

Price: $225.00

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