This rare Bukowski first edition, up for bid on eBay, is a hand-bound volume—one of just 777 copies. According to the listing, this fabulously collectible book is signed and dated "Charles Bukowski 12-17-63" in silver ink on a purple page, with a whimsical hand-drawn yellow flower above the signature.
It Catches My Heart In Its Hands: New & Selected Poems 1955-1963 by Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was published by Loujon Press, New Orleans, La. (1963, 106 pages). Introduction by John William Corrington. Gypsy Lou Series No. 1: a Loujon Press Award Book.
According to the listing, the book is bound by hand. All 777 copies of this book were printed manually by the editors of Loujon Press, one page at a time, between June and September, 1963, according to an original insert (included) about Gypsy Lou Series #1, signed Jon & Louise Webb. The attached jacket has the very rare cork-lined front cover with turquoise underlay and preliminary leaves of graduated widths and various colors. There also is a most unusual (and unexpected) page of madras tissue bound in between pages 96 and 97. The book's rarity--especially in such pristine condition--makes "It Catches My Heart In Its Hands" much sought after by collectors of fine rare books. In some instances throughout the book, copies of Bukowski's hand-written poems and his accompanying pen-and-ink drawings are printed on the page facing the typeset version of the poem, providing wonderful insight into the author's creative process. The book is printed on Linweave Spectra paper throughout, using 75 lb. for the text, in shades of white, winestone, saffron, bayberry, peacock, ivory, bittersweet, gobelin & tobasco.
Also included with this incredibly beautiful book, says the seller, is a printed copy of a letter written by Bukowski to Jon and Louise Webb upon receipt of the finished book on November 23, 1963. The Webbs were considered by many to be giants of the post-WW II "small press movement." That letter is dated November 23, 1963, the very day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, in which he praises their skills and their magnificent accomplishment.
Plus...The third insert included here is a statement by the publishers about the reaction in publishing circles to the book. They reported: "Praises starting to come in from over the country... [and] indicate strongly this book may be a sleeper...Rare book collectors are telling us the book is a first of its kind in format & that contents are good too!" A hand-written note on the back of this insert, signed Jon (or Jan) Welch, Ed., reads: "Almost hysterical letters of praise are pouring in on this--1st edition selling out--2nd on way... Henry Miller tells us we've put Publisher's Row to shame on format."
As many reader of this blog know, I'm a huge fan of Bukowski. If I could afford to do so, I would purchase this book. It would become a highly prized possession. Hey, Christmas is just around the corner, if you're thinking about sending me a gift. Just saying…