Item #CNAP083 The Structure of Rime. Robert Duncan, Frank Lobdell, Artist.

The Structure of Rime

San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2008. Frank Lobdell. The edition of the book is limited to 275 numbered copies for sale and 26 lettered copies for complimentary distribution. The format is 11-1/4 by 7-1/2 inches, 96 pages. The type is Perpetua, designed by Eric Gill, composed by hand and on the Monotype. The paper is German mouldmade Zerkall Book Laid. The printing is by letterpress, except for one page bearing two photographs of the poet, printed by offset lithography. The binding is handsewn over tapes, full Japanese cloth over boards, in slipcase. Two black and white etchings by Lobdell are inset into windows on the front and back covers of the book. The prints, variations on similar elements, measure 5-5/16 by 4-1/16 inches, and have been printed by Robert Townsend, at R. E. Townsend, Inc., in Georgetown, Massachusetts. In addition, each copy comes with a separate black-and-white etching with aquatint, signed and numbered by the artist, presented in a folder. The accompanying print with each book comes from various editions of forty small etchings with aquatint made by Frank Lobdell from 1987 to 2000. The paper is mostly 11-1/2 by 12-1/2 inches, a few are 8-3/4 by 10-1/8 inches. Plate sizes vary, typically 4 by 6 inches but ranging from 1-3/4 by 3-1/16 to 8-7/8 by 7 inches. The editions are mainly 20, a few are 35, and one is 50, plus artist’s proofs and printer’s proofs. The prints and books have been randomly paired. New. Item #CNAP083

Robert Duncan (1919-1988) was one of the most influential American poets of the second half of the twentieth century. Two of his major works were large serial poems entitled "Structure of Rime" and "Passages". He numbered each sequence, publishing them in magazines as they were written, and then inserting them into his books of poetry, collections covering distinct chronological periods.

A collected edition of "The Structure of Rime" never appeared, probably because Duncan did not want to close off the possibility that he might compose more poems in that series and preferred to keep them in the train of his poetry as a whole. "The Structure of Rime" is an extended discussion and demonstration of Duncan’s poetics, his principles of prosody, his belief in the open form, and in content unconstrained.

Twenty years after Duncan’s death, the Arion Press is publishing for the first time together the thirty-one poems of the series that appeared during Duncan’s lifetime, plus one published posthumously in the year of his death, and six first published now. Poet Michael Palmer, a friend of Duncan’s from the early 1970s, has written an introductory essay for this book. Palmer writes that Duncan "challenged the myth of originality that had become deeply ingrained in the poets of his generation, while simultaneously, if paradoxically, asserting a particular originality of his own." Palmer guides readers into the poems with an open mind to experience what cannot be explained.

The book is accompanied by Frank Lobdell’s abstract etchings with aquatint. Lobdell is one of America's premier postwar abstract painters; he is of the same generation as Duncan and they traveled in the same artistic milieu of the Bay Area, sharing interests in modernism and surrealism.

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Price: $1,350.00