"VIBRANT AND STIMULATING" FIRST EDITION OF AWARD-WINNING NOVELIST JOHN WILLIAMS' FIRST BOOK OF POETRY, THE BROKEN LANDSCAPE, 1949, INSCRIBED BY HIM
WILLIAMS, John. The Broken Landscape. Denver: Alan Swallow, 1949. Small octavo (5 by 7-1/4 inches), original blue-gray paper boards, original blue-gray dust jacket. $1800.
First edition of Williams' first book of poetry, one of only 500 copies published the year after his first novel, inscribed by him, "For Leslie, with affectionate regards, John Williams, Feb. 12, 1954, Columbia, MO."
Broken Landscape, the first book of poetry by the Booker Award-winning writer, was issued in an edition of only 500 copies and published the year after Williams' first novel, Nothing but the Night. In this inaugural collection of 19 poems, "Williams sets out to make clear the slipperiness between word, intention and meaning that is critical to his belief in the power of poetry." In Burning Glass, for example, Williams' conceit of a "metaphorically powerful burning glass" transforms the moon "into a measure of the lovers' disconnectedness." Similarly, in The Lovers, his imagery explores a "solipsistic vision of love," and in poems such as The Land and Lines, he "widens his scope to attack the romantic notion" of poetry's ability to harmonize perception (Asquith, Reading the Novels, 28-30). On publication, critic Jay Apt praised Williams, calling the poems in Broken Landscape "vibrant and stimulating" (Philadelphia Daily News). First edition, "published as part of Alan Swallow's new poetry venture": The New Poetry Series: 1949 (Asquith, 34). Containing the first publication in book form of select poems earlier appearing in journals such as Yale Poetry Review, American Scholar and Journal of Modern Culture.
Book fine; faint soiling, light toning to spine of near-fine dust jacket.