Openspaces Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Spring 1973). Elizabeth Brown.
Openspaces Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Spring 1973)
Openspaces Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Spring 1973)
Openspaces Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Spring 1973)
Openspaces Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Spring 1973)
Openspaces Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Spring 1973)

Openspaces Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Spring 1973)

Los Angeles, CA: The Laurel Press, 1973. Limited First Printing. Softcover in Sewn Wrappers. "Openspaces," -- not to be confused with the similarly-titled "Open Space," the unofficial outlet of San Francisco poets who took Jack Spicer as Mentor-&-Inspiration--was published by Bob & Elizabeth Brown, proprietors of the Los Angeles-based Laurel Press in 1973. As the few booksellers who've encountered this scarce title over the years are known to note, "Openspaces 1" is especially collectible because of an early appearance by the award-winning poet, Larry Levis (1946-1996). Levis, the California-born protégé of poet Philip Levine, met the legendary, Detroit-born poet-of-the-downtrodden at Fresno State College in 1968. Levine, then a professor at Fresno State, offered classes and poetry workshops that the aspiring young Levis eagerly-&-enthusiastically attended. Levine immediately recognized Levis' as an emergent talent, and Larry so sufficiently gained the respect of his mentor that Levine began to consider him a contemporary. Their lifelong friendship, it is written, left "...an indelible mark on their writing and on their art. Both of them continued to exchange poems for critique and consultation, either by mail or in person, for the rest of Levis' life." When Levis suffered a David Ruffin-esque end in 1996--the victim of cardiac arrest triggered by a cocaine overdose--Levine left an editorial rose on the grave of his onetime apprentice by editing his last (posthumously-published) 1997 volume, "Elegy." Interesting poetry by other presumably unheard-of poets additionally populates the first issue of "Openspaces." Other contributors to the issue include Jarold Ramsey, John Leax, Dudley Laufman, Carol Selkin, Geoffrey Green, and poet-publisher-printer-Editors Don & Elizabeth Brown. A veritable small press production, as the following quoted language from the colophon reveals: "Openspaces 1 was handset in Stymie type / and handprinted on a proof / press using Kilmory Text / and handbound at / The Laurel Press / by Elizabeth Brown and / Sandra Lucas / with Assistance from David Turkey." The colophon continues on the right-facing page that follows: "This edition is limited / to 450 copies. / This is copy 199." Stringbound, letterpress-printed softcover in sewn wrappers; the numbered, Limited First Printing of Openspaces' collector-evasive inaugural issue. From the collection of Erin Black Matson, the artist-poet who, along with her then-husband the acclaimed poet & educator Clive Matson, was a member of the Beat Generation as it morphed into the hippie counterculture during the 1960s. The Matsons were protégés & colleagues (in lifestyle as well as literature) of Herbert Huncke, Bonnie & Ray Bremser, Diane di Prima et al. This copy is additionally signed by Co-Editor & Publisher-Contributor, Elizabeth Brown, to Erin. Elizabeth Brown signature-&-inscription, in graphite pencil on title page, reads: "Finally! / Through hell onward, / survival is all. / love, / Liz." As intimated above, the condition of this copy reflects its long ownership & use by Erin, who was a tried-&-true Beat-Bohemian to the end. In near fine condition with moderate-to-pronounced shelf-wear, bumps, intermittent creasing to fine-edges of front, back cover & spine; moderate-to-significant rubbing, spotting, browning, scattered scuffs-nicks & age-typical toning to same; a few minor (& predominantly since-flattened) bump-creases at corners. Near Fine. [Item #4869]

Price: $30.00