Item #40014 Lay the Marble Tea. Richard BRAUTIGAN.
Lay the Marble Tea.
Lay the Marble Tea.


Lay the Marble Tea.

SF: Carp Press, 1959. First edition. 8vo. Wrps., stapled. Unpaginated (22pp.). Front cover illustration by Kenn Davis.

Association copy, SIGNED and inscribed by Brautigan on the first preliminary page to Joanne Kyger for her 30th birthday (November 19, 1964): “a Happy 30 to Joanne Love Richard 1964 and Janice 1864”. Brautigan has embellished the inscription with a drawing of three small dogs, and added stick drawings below both his name and that of his new girlfriend, Janice Meissner.

Brautigan and Kyger first met in San Francisco in the spring of 1957, soon after which, as his biographer William Hjortsberg has noted, Brautigan “slyly began a whimsical flirtation” with her, though it came to nothing; she once said “I never felt romantically interested in Richard, although he was always a wonderful friend.” They lost touch afterwards for a period of about six years, but Brautigan and Kyger, recently returned from Japan, spent a lot of time in each other’s company in 1964, and in July Brautigan partly dedicated his new novel, “In Watermelon Sugar”, to her. They remained in contact until 1984, when Brautigan took his own life in Bolinas.

Carp Press was a self-publishing venture by Brautigan and his first wife, Virginia Alder. Brautigan designed the book, arranged the poems, some of them sideways on the page, and oversaw all aspects of its production (the teardrop-shaped fish drawing he made for the colophon would recur throughout his life).

Taking its title from a line by Emily Dickinson, the collection of twenty-four poems was Brautigan’s first published collection of poetry and his second regularly published book (it’s preceded by “The Galilee Hitch-Hiker [1958] and the impossibly rare 2pp. pamphlet poem, “The Return of the Rivers” [1957]). In early May 1959 he sent copies out on consignment to City Lights and other bookshops in San Francisco, and occasionally hawked copies in front of the Coffee Gallery on Grant Street in North Beach.

Wrappers lightly foxed, with a little rust to staples, o/w Near Fine. 500 copies printed.