"Near ICY CAPE. ALASKA at the Sign of the Midnight Sun" "Published by the author" July 1956. First Edition. Original stapled mimeographed wraps. 8" x 6.5". Some moderate rusting and staining at staples. Faint rubbing, soil, and toning here and there. Small stray red pencil mark to right edge of front cover. Overall: sound and clean. Very good or better. One of approximately 54 copies, this copy SIGNED twice by Ginsberg: once in his contemporary 1956 hand, and later additionally INSCRIBED by the poet: "This copy circa 1986 belongs to Donald R. Reisfield / Allen Ginsberg / Rutgers March 16 / AH." PROVENANCE: Parke Bernet "Modern and Avant-Garde First Editions" (#3024), 14 April 1970, lot 67; original auction house envelope and lot tag present, with catalogue provided. , 22, . Item #23167
First and only edition of Ginsberg's second book, "[m]imeographed and stapled in an edition of about 50 copies aboard an M.S.T.S. (Military Sea Transport Services, U.S. govt.) freighter, and mailed to friends" (Dowden p. 12). Arguably Ginsberg's first major work ("his best poetry to date" -Morgan p. ), this hallucinatory poem — written in 1954/5 and inspired by his travels in Mexico — in many ways anticipates "Howl." Indeed it is likely no coincidence that of all the works Ginsberg could have self-published after the similarly privately-distributed ditto edition of "Howl" just two months earlier, he chose this Whitmanesque poem ("Returning / armed with New Testament / critic of horse and mule / tanned and bearded / satisfying Whitman") also concerned with "madness" ("'They go mad in the Selva'") and "mysteries / of deathly volition / to be divined." Though "Siesta" would eventually make its way into 1963's REALITY SANDWICHES, this earlier appearance represents (along with the aforementioned ditto "Howl") one of the most difficult of the poet's "A" items to acquire. As best as we can determine, there are only 14 OCLC holdings. (The record for this title is badly corrupted, showing more than a dozen copies in Turkey, all of which appear to be ghosts, as well as several other erroneous locations.) And we trace fewer than a dozen additional copies in trade or auction over the last forty+ years - several of which are undoubtedly ones now among the OCLC holdings. Produced by the poet (he cranked the ship-board mimeo himself) on the cusp of the fame and notoriety that would soon come when City Lights published HOWL AND OTHER POEMS in November of the same year: early, important, and rare. [Morgan A2].