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The Buk Shop

The Outsider 4/5 -- Near Fine Softcover Version (1968)

The Outsider 4/5 -- Near Fine Softcover Version (1968)

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This is the more uncommon softcover version of The Outsider Vol.2, No. 4/5. Although it was called a softcover, the covers are made of a stiff material with a paper jacket overlaid.

Published in Winter 1968-1969, this was the final issue of one of the most important literary magazines of the 60's. The Outsider #3 had been published way back in 1963. Between the two issues, Jon Edgar Webb and wife Louise had published two Bukowski books and one Henry Miller book, consuming their time and whatever funds they had available. By this time, they had moved their press, two dogs, and their belongings to Tucson, Arizona, where the final issue was published.

When The Outsider # 3 was going to press, Jon Webb announced that the format for the next issue would change to a book format, which came to be true in The Outsider 4/5. But the format was not the only thing to change. Unlike the previous issues, the Webbs constructed this issue like one of their amazing books, using a variety of paper (color, size, texture, etc). And while the cover and most pages retained the classic format and style of the first three issues, many of the drawings in the issue had a much hippier feel to them, reflecting the times.

The issue features a photograph of Kenneth Patchen and there is a special a 46- page section titled ‘homage to kenneth patchen”. Part of the reason behind the issue’s delay was a frustrating back-and-forth with Patchen and his wife Miriam about what content would be published, with the couple pulling out multiple times before Webb finally got approval.

Patchen was an American poet and novelist who incorporated painting, drawing, and jazz music into his works, which were compared with those of William Blake and Walt Whitman. He was a central influence on the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beat Generation, but Bukowski liked his work none-the-less.

Patchen had a permanent spinal injury 1937 that plaqued him for the rest of his life. The condition required multiple surgeries. One surgery in 1959 left him with a slipped disc that disabled him for the remainder of his life. While the front cover photo at first glance looks like the writer is enjoying himself at poolside, he’s actually in his bedroom confined to his bed. He would pass away in 1972.

This issue featured four Bukowski poems, one of which has not been collected in any Bukowski books to date:

Like A Flyswatter
The Last Round
Kaakaa And Other Immolations
Beef Tongue

Kaakaa And Other Immolations would appear in The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills (1969).

Beef Tongue would later appear in The People Look Like Flowers At Last (2007).

Like A Flyswatter would later appear in Storm for the Living and the Dead (2017).

The Last Round would appear in the April 1973 issue of Invisible City, but would never be collected in any books.

Contributors to the Patchen homage include William Everson (as Brother Antoninus), Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, Harold Norse, Bern Porter, Kenneth Rexroth, and others.

Other contributors include Russell Edson, Robert Kelly, Jackson MacLow, Thomas Merton, Charles Plymell, and others.

It’s rare to find a softcover version of this issue in such great condition. Most softcover copies have some degree of foxing (and possible mold) on the covers. This is partly due to the white paper used for the book jacket, which was also quite thin. But another contributing factor may be the flash that hit the Webb’s home in Tucson, which according to Jon wiped out a significant number of copies. In many of the copies he sent out, Webb tipped in an article by a local newspaper about the flooding of the press.

The cover on this copy is bright and clean, and the interior pages look almostlike new. It is in Near-Fine condition with very slight wear.

Box 25

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