Kaddish and Other Poems (1958-1960). Allen Ginsberg.
Kaddish and Other Poems (1958-1960)
Kaddish and Other Poems (1958-1960)
Kaddish and Other Poems (1958-1960)

Kaddish and Other Poems (1958-1960)

San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1961. First Edition. Softcover. (Dowden Section A, pg. 8-9; Cook No. 14, pg. 42-43; Morgan A4, a1.1). "Kaddish and Other Poems," the esteemed 1961 follow-up to his breakthrough publication, 1956's "Howl and Other Poems" is Ginsberg at his most messianic. From the firing gun of the poem's opening lines, Ginsberg emerges with swaggering stylistic surety, his voice now polished and lending itself masterfully to the "litany" form he carved out in 1956's "Howl and Other Poems. From a collecting perspective, "a fly in the Talmud" (so to speak) exists between the positions of Ginsberg's most authoritative bibliographers, with Ralph Cook & George Dowden on one side, and Bill Morgan on the other. While a first-glance, perfunctory internet search might suggest that consensus among booksellers firmly rests with Dowden & Cook, their bibliographies of Ginsberg predate Morgan’s (Dowden in 1971, and Cook [with his City Lights Pocket Poets Bibliography in 1982, and his City Lights Books bibliography in 1992]). Morgan’s bibliography, “The Works of Allen Ginsberg 1914-1994,” appeared in 1994, and with the endorsement of Allen Ginsberg. Bear with us as we play Tour Guide down the following Talmudic Rabbit Hole, and boldly suggest correcting the record on this time-honored rarity. In Morgan A4, a1.1, he notes that the First Edition, First Printings contain a copyright page that reads: “Copyright © 1961 by Allen Ginsberg | All Rights Reserved | The Pocket Poets Series is published | by City Lights Books, 261 Columbus | Avenue, San Francisco 11, Cali- | fornia, and distributed nationally to | bookstores by the Paper | Editions | Corporation. Overseas distributors: | The Scorpion Press, 11 Rofant Rd., | Northwood, Middlesex, England.’” The key point to notice here is that there is no mention of Villiers Publications LTD., a frequent printing collaborator for all City Lights Pocket Poet publications before Ferlinghetti switched to working with Edwards Brothers printing here in Ann Arbor during the mid-1960s. Morgan further contends that the true First Edition, First Printings were “perfect bound in stiff black paper wrappers,” and rounds out the description under the “First Edition, First Printing (A4, a1.1) heading with the following: “Note: the first issue has been identified based upon an inscription in a copy dated April 29, 1961 and signed in Paris.” All of these points (minus the inscription native to the copy Morgan used to identify a true first issue, of course) mirrors the copy we at Third Mind Books are presently offering, here. This position is refuted by Dowden (Section A, pg. 8-9) and Cook (Number 14, pg. 42-43). In the City Lights Pocket Poets Bibliography, Cook writes: “First published February 1961, at $1.50; 2500 copies, printed at Villiers Publications in London. The first printing may be identified by the 10-line publisher’s statement on the rear cover, and the Villiers Publications notice on the bottom of p. 100. No printing notice.” Cook continues: “A later, perfect-bound, photo-offset edition printed in the United States (printer unknown) is often mistaken for the first printing, due to a 7-line publisher’s statement on the rear cover (“This is the first publication of Allen Ginsberg’s complete KADDISH…”). Dowden, for his part, mirrors Cook’s claims while adding the following: “The first five editions were letterpress printings done at Villiers Publications Ltd., England, the sixth ed. (designated “SIXTH PRINTING” on the outside back cover, where the A.G. statement is retained), was offset-printed in Oct. 1966 by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, as were subsequent eds., from plates photographed from the British-printed eds.” He continues, finally approaching the question at hand: “However, there is one ed. which was printed in the United States, apparently between the Villiers and Edwards Brothers eds., the printer of which has not been determined (publisher’s records incomplete), an ed. which contains no information as to edition, or printing, anywhere in it, which has black inside front and back covers unlike the white of any other eds., and which does not have the A.G. statement on the outside back cover, but rather, a publisher’s statement which is shorter and different than the publisher’s statement on the first, British-printed [as in: "Printed by Villiers"] ed. British-printed eds. are thread sewn, American are “perfect bound” (glued).” Our theory is that Lawrence Ferlinghetti, celebrated founder of City Lights Books, attempted to work with another printer stateside for Kaddish, and didn’t like the results—subsequently (and quickly) reinstating the relationship with Villiers for the 1st-through-5th Villiers printings before ending the relationship with Villiers for the Sixth Printing of 1966. This would explain the “lack of publisher’s records,” mentioned in Dowden, and also the existence of a copy signed on April 29, 1961 in Paris—something that would be historically impossible if, as Dowden claims, the “perfect bound” copy “…which has black inside front and back covers unlike the white of any other editions,” was truly printed “…between the Villiers and Edwards Brothers…” copies (a Fifth-and-a-Half Printing, by Dowden’s apparently incorrect calculus). Book in Very Good condition with moderate-to-pronounced shelf-wear to fine-edges of front, back covers, text block & spine; small, scattered staining/smudging/soiling to same; bump to bottom right-hand corner of front cover; tiny bump to top right-hand corner of same; a few tiny, barely-visible nicks to same. Very Good. [Item #4728]

Price: $100.00