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The Buk Shop

Signed Drawing, Signed Inscription by Charles Bukowski to Herb Yellin

Signed Drawing, Signed Inscription by Charles Bukowski to Herb Yellin

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Published in 1965 by Literary Times / Cyfoeth Publications, Chicago, Cold Dogs in the Courtyard is considered Bukowski’s 10th book.

This copy is inscribed to Helb Yellin with a period signature by Charles Bukowski. Bukowski has also added four dogs under his name and signed the drawing “Buk”.

These are period signatures.

This copy also comes with a custom clamshell box.

Yellin was an early collector of Bukowski’s work. Around the time this copy was signed, he was a District Manager at Zodys, a local department store in Los Angeles. Interestingly enough, later on he was the Marketing Director at Sega from 1974 to 1977 when it was in the arcade business.

I’m assuming he accumulated enough money from that gig to found Lord John Press, considered to be one of the most influential small presses of the time. The press produced limited editions of 150 and 300 copies and were signed by the author. The contents were brief, such as a short story, an essay, a speech, a poem, or an excerpt. Titles included “The State of the Novel” by Walker Percy (in conjunction with Faust Press); “Ill Seen Ill Said” by Samuel Beckett; “The Literature of Exhaustion and the Literature of Replenishment” by John Barth; “Acrobats in the Park” by Eudora Welty; and “A Collection of Reviews” by Ross Macdonald.

Cold Dogs in the Courtyard was produced by Ron Offen and Jay Robert Nash.

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Ron Offen co-edited Odyssey magazine, which featured Bukowski in Vol. 11, No. 1, in 1959. He was also a co-editor of Midwest magazine, which featured Bukowski in four issues between 1961 and 1964.

Jay Robert Nash published the Literary Times in Chicago, which started publishing Bukowski’s work in 1963.

This is the only book in which Bukowski chose his own poems. Although they were all published in magazines prior to the book, in his intro Bukowski claims the poems were all rejected prior to being published – hence the name, “Cold Dogs in the Courtyard.” He actually goes on to list the editors who rejected them – all publishers of his previous books. But as Bukowski scholar Abel Debritto points out in his book “King of the Underground”, it was a false accusation.

This copy is in Near Fine condition with a few light creases on the covers from the stapled binding, a small bump on the lower right that impacts the interior pages, and some overall slight general wear.

Cold Dogs in the Courtyard brought together 13 poems that first appeared in separate issues of 11 small press magazines. They include:

  • What Seems To Be The Trouble, Gentlemen? - pg. 5 - circa 1962
  • Imbecile Night - pg. 6 - circa 1962
  • To A Lady Who Believes Me Dead - pg. 8 - circa 1962
  • Thank God For Alleys - pg. 9
  • Experience - pg. 10 - circa 1963
  • The Death Of A Roach - pg. 12 - circa 1959
  • It's Nothing To Laugh About - pg. 14 - circa 1960
  • Suicide - pg. 16 - circa 1961
  • Face While Shaving - pg. 17 - circa 1961
  • Existence - pg. 18 - circa 1963
  • I Have Lived In England - pg. 20 - circa 1961
  • 2 Outside, As Bones Break In My Kitchen - pg. 21 - circa 1962
  • Layover - pg. 22 - circa 1956
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