Letters: Poems 1953-56

Letters: Poems 1953-56
Robert Duncan
Flood Editions

"First published by the Jargon Society in 1958, Letters announces the major phase of Robert Duncan’s writing. Though long unavailable, it stands as a foundational book of postmodern poetry, setting “self-creation and self-consciousness in constant interplay” (in the author’s own words). Edited by Robert J. Bertholf, the present edition includes an afterword as well as a series of memos from Duncan to the typesetter Claude Fredericks."

“The composition of Letters begins with ‘Letter to Denise Levertov’ and moves out over almost three years’ work to complete a book presided over by an alphabet primary to world creation. These angelic letters then those powers hidden or discovered are substance of our speech. A naming of my peers, and an exclamation of joy: Denise Levertov, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, James Broughton, Mike McClure, Helen Adam--it is the presence of companions, named and unnamed, that inspires Letters. A book of primaries, a book of companions. A book of praise. I have stored here, as best I know how, the songs of all I live by. For I adhere to form as the bee obeys the geometry of the hive.”—Robert Duncan

With illustrations by the author