New York: Privately Printed, 1942. First edition. 8vo, 72pp; original cloth-backed boards, stamped in gilt on front cover. Spine slightly faded; tips and extremities showing some wear, with an especially heavy abrasion to upper rear corner; library label affixed to upper corner of front cover, and with two small bookplates on front pastedown, discreet perforated stamps on title page; rubberstamps on copyright page and small blindstamp on page 68. Housed in a handsome custom clamshell box. Item #204787
The poet's first book, which his father had printed as a surprise for the then sixteen-year old poet. This copy was deposited at the Library of Congress to secure copyright, later deaccessioned as a "surplus duplicate"; the various labels and stamps record this provenance. Loosely inserted is a small card sent by Merrill to a noted rare book dealer in which he explains that his father had it done as a surprise: ". . . I wish I could be sure how many copies -- 500? 300? I have never tried to suppress it - it gives me no pleasure, on the other hand, & I'd just as soon it went unread -- stuff written when I was 15-16, you understand. . ." Further, Merrill has written a personal inscription on the title page for a collector who acquired the book later, in the 1980s. While the number of copies is not known, it has remained one of more notable rarities in modern poetry. Hagstrom & Bixby A1.