"FOR ALLEN—WITH ALL LOVE": PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION COPY OF PIECES, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY ROBERT CREELEY TO ALLEN GINSBURG, WITH ALLEN GINSBERG'S OWNER SIGNATURE
(GINSBERG, Allen) CREELEY, Robert. Pieces. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, (1969). Octavo, original yellow cloth, original dust jacket. $4200.
Second edition, presentation copy, warmly inscribed by Robert Creeley to Allen Ginsberg: "for Allen—with all love. Bob," and with Allen Ginsberg's dated owner signature.
Among the Beat poets, Robert Creeley was known for his in-depth understanding of poetic meter and his taste for innovation. "His third book of poetry, Pieces (1969), took another radical turn by exploring the language of everydayness in a more playful manner" (ANB). Stephanie Burt in the London Review of Books noted that Pieces was the first of Creeley's works to "recall drug culture, more important to the arts in those years than to poetry in English before or since," but also praised Creeley's ability to capture the conventional in unconventional ways, memorably and minimalistically. "At the time of his death in 2005, Robert Creeley was widely recognized as one of the most important and influential American poets of the 20th century" (Poetry Foundation). Published the year prior by Black Sparrow Press in an edition of only 426 copies, with most of the edition signed and numbered (approximately 276 copies). This copy is inscribed by Creeley to Allen Ginsberg and bears Ginsberg's dated owner signature. Robert Creeley was already an accomplished poet and author when he met Allen Ginsberg. During the early 1950s, he had even been a professor at Black Mountain College. However, the closure of the college led him to set out for San Francisco "where he felt an instant affinity with the Beat writers Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac" (ANB). When Creeley left to teach in Buffalo, he maintained his relationship with Ginsberg, even forging a lengthy correspondence with him that began with letters and continued through the fax and email eras. In an interview, Ginsberg mentioned his friend, remarking, "Creeley. Each syllable is a thought. That's a good way of [describing it], actually. That's an aphorism for Creeley—'One thought per syllable' (in the sense that each syllable seems to be like a new thought)—opposite from my kind of writing… [A] painter works with pigment, his particular pigment, [Creeley's] particular pigment is a syllable, whereas mine would be phrasing or cadence." When asked about each other, the men had only good things to say. According to Ginsberg, "Robert Creeley has created a noble life body of poetry that extends the work of his predecessors Pound, Williams, Zukofsky and Olson and provides like them a method for his successors in exploring our new American poetic consciousness." Creeley was just as complimentary to Ginsberg, stating, "The heroism of Allen Ginsberg in the 'fifties cannot be overemphasized."