Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins. Billy Collins.
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins
Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins

Pokerface, the U.S. Poet Laureate's first book, copy #178, signed by Collins

Los Angeles: Kenmore Press, 1977. First, limited, and numbered. Paperback. This is a signed copy of the former U.S. Poet Laureate’s first published book of poetry. Pokerface was produced by a small press in a limited edition of 400 copies, each of which was hand-numbered, though unsigned. This copy – numbered “178” – is also signed by Collins directly below the limitation. The edition is both unusual and striking, in an oblong binding measuring 6.25 x 9.5 inches, bound by Steven and Meryl Chayt’s Kenmore Press in gray card wraps printed in black, pink, and green, the front cover featuring a silk-screened image of Collins's eyes and nose derived from an original photograph by Judy Lane. The wraps are affixed to the contents with a Japanese stab binding featuring exposed, black thread. The contents are equally striking, with titles printed vertically along the fore edge of the pages bearing each poem. Of the edition, Collins reportedly said: "Pokerface was a livre de luxe put together by a husband and wife who ran a hand letterpress out of their home in Los Angeles. I remember dropping in on them one morning to find the two of them busy at their labor of love. The husband was cranking out individual pages of my little book on an enormous, Dickensian-looking press while his wife sat on the floor, hippie-style, hand-stitching the covers on with a needle and thick black thread." The fragility of the edition, the then-obscurity of the poet, and Collins's later deprecation of his early work have rendered it scarce - particularly thus, signed. This copy is in very good condition. The card covers are fully intact, if mildly age-toned at the edges with slight softening of the corners. The striking pink and green front cover print remains vibrant and the sewn binding remains tight. The contents are free of markings save the limitation number and author’s signature. Mild spotting is confined to the page edges. This copy was signed by Billy Collins in San Diego on 8 February 2018. The book is housed in a custom gray cloth clamshell case with pink morocco spine label stamped in black. Billy Collins (1941-) is a quintessentially American poet. His work is marked with an accessibility often described as folksy. Collins himself has said that his poetry is “suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.” An easy manner and sometimes mundane subject matter belie the often profound and unsettling observations framed with superficially accessible wit and humor. This skillful tension between the light and the serious has brought Collins both critical acclaim and commercial success – a combination that eludes nearly all living poets. Perhaps crowning his ever-growing list of recognition, Collins was appointed United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003. As a poet, Collins has enjoyed something even more rare than literary acclaim - commercial success, with more than a dozen published collections of poetry, several of which have been New York Times bestsellers, as well as sold out readings, and even tours with rock stars (Aimee Mann and Paul Simon). Of Collins, it has been said that “No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal.” This success and acclaim was still far distant when Pokerface was published. Though the poems therein perhaps fell short of the sophisticated maturity of his later work, the evolving strength of Collins’s humor, wit, and evoking perspective are found throughout. Item #004631

Price: $1,950.00

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