[Item #4842] John's Book. Alan Marlowe, Robert Creeley.
John's Book
John's Book

John's Book

New York, NY: Poet's Press, 1969. First Edition. Stapled Wrappers. “There is a sense to him that intrigues me—of an Ancient Person, a curiously insistent Messenger. / … / We were in New York. He had knocked on the door and now entered, wearing a lovely Edwardian suit, a lovely cloth it was, wool. He handed my wife and myself the pipe, and again moments later, we were walking on the street, and into a charming old building where he helped me ascend the pulpit, and I read from the text though the winds about me roared and the waves did lash. It may be that he is the Caretaker—or taker of cares—and shows one the way. I don’t really know, nor perhaps does he. / … / I will not argue his presence. I will respect what he has written here—a text in no need of qualification. What his words say, they say.” (from Introduction by Robert Creeley). The dramatic, viscous syntax of Creeley does what it can to promote the work of Alan Marlowe in Bob’s favor-for-a-friend Introduction. Your Devoted Assistant Curator contends, however, that Marlowe himself does a much better job of advocating for a readership than Creeley’s circuitous non-statements ever could. One such piece—candy for the Beat-historically literate—is Marlowe’s “ON THE OCCASION OF THE THEFT FROM OUR HOUSE BY HERBERT HUNCKE, OF AN HONORED WOOD CARVING OF A SEA GODDESS.” Marlowe begins: “All right Huncke. One more you try our Buddha natures / Force use to lose something we love, to examine our attachment to it, / And let it go. Carried off into the night by your hands. To be presented as a gift / no doubt to some fellow burglar or junkie chick that you dig. I will miss her, / the ancient Island goddess rising from the waves on the back of her dragon. I / will honor the spot on which she stood. And the hands that carved that grace, / we shall seek them out on the island of Ceylon, where her name is remembered / and where I may see her face pass me in the street.” One can’t help but notice the fact that many poems in “John’s Book” are in that great New York/Beat tradition of the intimate address, the mode, more specifically, of Frank O’Hara’s “Personism.” As the front cover photograph (featuring Diane Di Prima in the foreground) might suggest, multiple poems to Diane are tenderly recorded in this here volume. Examples include “FOR DIANE WHO INSTRUCTS ME IN ALL THINGS,” & “FOR DIANE —1 & 2.” The name-dropping (and the outpouring of reverence) doesn’t stop there, as Marlowe’s tellingly-titled poem “The Family” references Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, LeRoi Jones, Blurb-Dealin’ Bob Creeley and arch-poetess Di Prima who complete the list of those “thanked” in the poem’s nine stanzas. While We at TMB delight in providing museum-guide mini-histories to accompany listings like these, maybe Creeley (and Your Devoted Assistant Curator!) should’ve taken a page from the work of Marlowe’s fellow New Yorker, Aram Saroyan, and merely offered: “What his words say, they say.” Chapbook in stapled wrappers; the first and only printing of “John’s Book.” Book in Very Good condition with only moderate-to-pronounced shelf-wear, bumps to fine-edges of front, back covers & spine; similarly-graded rubbing to same; patches of noticeable staining, though mostly contained along/surrounding aforementioned fine-edges of front, back covers & spine; faintest evidence of rusting, bleeding to staples at exterior & minute, evidentiary rusting/bleeding to staples at interior; interior otherwise remarkably well-preserved; pages notably clean & crisp. Near Fine. [Item #4842]

Price: $35.00