San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2008. Lobdell, Frank. Limited Edition. Hardcover. No. 68 of 275, quarto size, 96 pp., signed by Frank Lobdell, with prospectus and etching signed by Lobdell. Fine. Item #CNJL155
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. Twenty years after Duncan's death, the Arion Press published for the first time together the thirty-one poems of the series that appeared during Duncan's lifetime, plus seven poems identified as "Structure of Rime" in his notebooks that he had not published, one published posthumously in a literary magazine in the year of his death, six first published in this volume (n. b., info from the book's prospectus).
Illustrating this volume is Frank Lobdell (1921-2013), one of America's premier postwar abstract painters; he "maintains a spiritual engagement with his work, reinventing and recycling the ideas behind his imagery" (from prospectus), and in 1998, he was elected to the National Academy of Design. The author and artist were friends, each greatly admiring the other's work; this volume, bringing together their poetry and art, is a wonderful testimonial to them both in a striking work by the inimitable Arion Press.
This volume comes with an etching signed by the artist in a separate paper folder, this copy the single ATP (Artist's Trial Proof) out of 25 prints (20 + ATP + 2 AP + 2 PP) of this etching.
___DESCRIPTION: Full rust-coloured Japanese cloth, grey paper spine label with black lettering, inset into the front and back boards are two black-and-white Lobdell etchings with aquatint, fore- and bottom edges uncut, two black-and-white photographs of the poet bound in; type handset Perpetua, printed on German mouldmade Zerkall Book Laid paper, quarto size (almost 11.25" tall), pagination:  2-95 [1 colophon], one of 275 copies, this number 68. The matching publisher's slipcase is covered in the same rust Japanese cloth with grey paper sides, grey paper spine label with black lettering. The accompanying print comes from various editions of forty small etchings with aquatint made by Frank Lobdell from 1987-2000; this print is "Untitled, 8.29.90", and is the single ATP from an edition of 25 for this print, image size 6" by 3.75", paper size 12.5" by 11.5", SIGNED AND NUMBERED BY THE ARTIST, with a tissue guard, enclosed in a heavy grey paper folder with dark grey lettering on the front.
Accompanying the book are two items, the first being the prospectus, sixteen pages long, with information about how the book came to be printed, photographs of both the author and artist, and reproductions of the artist's work both in black and white and in colour; the second item being an invitation card to the publication party being held in San Francisco, at the Arion Press, on November 19, 2008.
___CONDITION: Volume is fine, as new from the publisher and entirely free of prior owner markings, in a fine slipcase. The signed etching is fine as well, also its protective paper folder, which has been kept in the original publisher's plastic sleeve. The prospectus and invitation to the publication party are fine.
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