San Francisco: The Auerhahn Press, 1959. Berman, Wallace. Limited Edition. Original wraps. One of 750 copies (unnumbered), octavo size, 20 pp. Very good +. Item #21022501
The Auerhahn Press was founded by Dave Haselwood, who relates its beginnings in the opening pages of the "Auerhahn Press Bibliography" thus: "During the Summer of 1958 I drifted around San Francisco talking endlessly with painters such as Robert LaVigne and Jesse Sharpe & poets Lamantia, McClure, Wieners and reading all the live poetry & prose I could get my hands on. It was at this time that it occurred to me that the press could mean a great many things, some personal, some in a larger context: - I had reached the point where complete physical involvement in something important to me was absolutely necessary. The press could fill that requirement" (pp. 5-6).
The first book published by the Press would be "The Hotel Wentley, Poems" in 1958; this work, their fifth publication, would follow shortly thereafter, in 1959. "Lamantia's 'Narcotica' gave the press its first opportunity to come up against the authorities & the prejudices of the public. The pamphlet's attack on narcotic laws, law enforcement agencies and the general stupipity [sic] of the American public is explosive and the language in it is too hot for any dictionary. The press was prepared to have the book confiscated by the police, but, surprisingly, nothing was ever done about it" (Ibid, p. 15).
With reproductions of photographs by Wallace Berman on the front wrap which, in 1959, would have been highly provocative, as they show Lamantia shooting up in two of the five images.
___DESCRIPTION: In a stapled binding with cardstock wraps, the front with red lettering and the five images mentioned above in black and white, the rear wrap lettered in red, title and colophon pages in red cardstock with black lettering, small black scorpion ornament divides Lamantia's poems; Garamond type on "Saturn Book, Utopian, or a similar inexpensive letterpress paper" (per the bibliography, p. 71), octavo size (8.5" by 6"), unpaginated with ten leaves (including the red cardstock leaves).
___CONDITION: Better than very good, the stapled binding strong with the staples showing only modest rust, the white cardstock wrap mostly clean with a few light areas of soil and a few light spots of old damp at the top joint, a few light creases and the corners just barely rubbed, the interior pages clean with minial toning at the edges; there is a light, partially erased old price of 75 cents written in pencil at the top fore-edge corner of the wrap, otherwise free of prior owner markings.
___CITATION: A Bibliography of the Auerhahn Press no. 5.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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