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The Buk Shop

Sparrow 49 – 60 (Hardcover)

Sparrow 49 – 60 (Hardcover)

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John Martin started publishing Sparrow Magazine back in 1973.  It featured softcover issues dedicated to a single poet that Black Sparrow Press had under contract. It doesn’t appear to have had a regular publishing schedule, so I’m not sure what the occasion was for putting out an issue. It wasn’t based on new books being published, at least in Bukowski’s case, because all four Sparrows dedicated to his poems would not be published until 1979’s “Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit.”

Also published by Black Sparrow Press, this is one of four hardcover volumes that contain a Sparrow issue dedicated to Bukowski’s poems. In this case, Sparrow 5, "which features “While the Music Played", published in February, 1977.

The poems include:

2347 Duane
5 Dollars
A Radio With Guts
I'm In Love
The Apple
The Egg
The Knifer
The Ladies Of Summer
The Night I Was Going To Die
The Violin Player

Each of these poems would be later be collected in 1979’s “Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit”.

Although copies of Sparrow are somewhat bland and academic looking, Barbara Martin added her great talents as a designer to these volumes, of which there were six (Bukowski appeared in four). Each hardcover volume has a very distinctive fabric cover over the boards. There were also signed editions, produced in limitations of 50, that used different fabrics and colors.

This copy, Sparrow 49-60, often collects dust because of a corduroy fabric used to cover the boards. But this copy has little dust and is in Near Fine condition. It does lack the mylar protector, but it was well taken care of.

A truly beautiful example of Barbara Martin’s design work.

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