As much as I had given this blog early on is as little as I have given to it since. At the heart of it is a self exploration, a blog as diary as developing essay as book idea as......
for myself and whomever might wander in - in the months since I gave this more attention I took my somewhat limited attention to a parallel blog dealing with chapbooks. In that blog I began to examine the book as object but also to explore the history of the author and publisher, and illustrator, and the copy itself as far as I could. That began with a chapbook I still haven't written about published by a shadowy organization called Vigilance Society. The more I learned, the less I knew.
I began to think about the publishers, and additionally, about the copy of the book that I held in my hand. If a book is published in a run of 1500 copies in 1970, for example, where did the individual copy go - what was the journey of that copy? Who originally bought it or received it?
This all led to my own response to a book of poetry by a fellow named Paul Foreman who founded Thorp Springs Press in Berkeley, CA back in 1971. The book was entitled Texas Liveoak. The copy I first found online was a "second printing" of the book. It was inscribed and signed to a couple in Texas where Paul had returned in 1978. I started to research the book and its author and quickly discovered that the University of Texas held the papers of Foreman and Thorp Springs Press in their permanent collection. In the notes on the webpage for the collection on the University of Texas library website, I learned that Foreman had published Len Fulton who went on to become a publisher of some note himself for Dustbooks and his International Directory of Small Presses, etc.
While learning more about Foreman and his press, I looked on Amazon to see how many other copies of Texas Liveoak might be in circulation and saw that someone was selling a collectible copy inscribed and signed to "a small press publisher". I wrote the seller and asked whom that person might be, and he wrote back that it was Len Fulton. I promptly bought this copy of the book. I now had an association copy of the book and more importantly, I had a first edition of the book. The difference between the first and second printings of the book were remarkable. So much so that I believe the second should have been assigned the wording second edition.
The cover images were completely different.
The second "printing" was printed in Mexico. The publishers address was different. The title page was different. The cover image was different. It was a different BOOK, why was it being called "second printing"? Because the poems had not changed? But they changed things inside the book - I was confused. The FIRST edition was published in the US, had a Berkeley, CA address, had a different cover image and an additional image on the back cover. It also had a dedication page, had differently colored cover stock - I mean, how different can one book get?