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Sparrow: Four Hardcover Anthologies: (1973-1978)

Sparrow: Four Hardcover Anthologies: (1973-1978)

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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based on new books being published, at least in Bukowski’s case, because all four Sparrows dedicated to his poems would not be published until 1979’s “Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit.” That was one year after the last issue Bukowski would appear in.

Also published by Black Sparrow Press, these hardcover books are collections of Sparrow magazine bound into boards. Although copies of Sparrow were somewhat bland and academic looking, Barbara Martin added her great talents as a designer to these volumes. 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.

There were usually first and second printings of Sparrow. The covers of the first printings were printed in red on white, while the second editions were black and white.

There were six hardcover volumes produced, of which four contained a Sparrow issue dedicated to Bukowski. This listing is for the four hardcover volumes that contained an-all Bukowski issue of Sparrow.

Each individual Sparrow issue had a title. Below are each of the issues of Sparrow Bukowski appeared in and included in a hardcover volume. The title of each issue and the poems collected are below:

Sparrow 5, February 1973
"While the Music Played"

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

Sparrow No. 30, March 1975
“Africa, Paris, Greece”

  • Blue Moon, Oh Bleweeww Mooooon How I Adore You!
  • Face Of A Political Candidate On A Street Billboard
  • Interviews
  • Nothing Is As Effective As Defeat
  • Solid State Marty
  • Success
  • Yankee Doodle

Sparrow 54, March 1977
“Maybe Tomorrow”

  • Claws Of Paradise
  • Hot Month
  • Maybe Tomorrow
  • The Drunk Tank Judge
  • The Happy Life Of The Tired
  • The Loner
  • The Proud Thin Dying
  • The Sandwich
  • Under

Sparrow 72, September 1978
“We'll Take Them”

  • 59 Cents A Pound
  • 8 Rooms
  • Close Encounters Of Another Kind
  • Horse And Fist
  • Hug The Dark
  • I Liked Him
  • Junk
  • Mermaid
  • Metamorphosis
  • Promenade
  • The Killer Smiles
  • We'll Take Them

Hardcover Information for Hardcover versions:

Sparrow 1 – 12 (1973)
While the Music Played"

, "While the Music Played"

Contributors include Robert Kelly, Clayton Eshleman, Diane Wakoski, David Bromige, Charles Bukowski, Robert Creeley, Richard Grossinger, David Antin, Sherril Jaffe, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Palmer, and Fielding Dawson

Sparrow 25-36 (1975)
Sparrow No. 30, “Africa, Paris, Greece”

Contributors include: Charles Bukowski, Diane Wakoski, Cid Corman, Gerard Malanga, Clayton Eshleman, Nathaniel Tarn, Michael Watterlond, Theodore Enslin, Tom Clark, Fielding Dawson, David Bromige, and Stephen Stepanchev

Sparrow 49-60 (1977)
Sparrow 54, “Maybe Tomorrow”

Contributors include Charles Reznikoff, Paul Goodman, Fielding Dawson, Diane Wakoski, Cid Corman, Carl Rakosi, Charles Bukowski, Robert Kelly, Theodore Enslin, Clayton Eshleman, and Wanda Coleman.

Sparrow 61-72 (1978)
Sparrow 72, “We'll Take Them”

Contributors include Charles Bukowski, Michael Davidson, Eve Shelnutt, William Everson, Edouard Roditi, Clayton Eshleman, José Rubia Barcia, Gerard Malanga, Nathaniel Tarn, Robert Kelly, Tom Clark, Stephen Stepanchev, and Diane Wakoski.

Each volume is in Near Fine condition, thanks to the mylar covers. The fabric covers can attract dust because of the fabrics used, especially Sparrow 49-60, which is covered with a corduroy fabric.

PLEASE NOTE: Sparrow 1-12 has a second printing of Sparrow 5 (black and white cover). Several issues in this volume are also black and white. I suspect that the bound hardcover volumes were not initially conceived by John Martin and he didn’t take that into account when the first printing of Sparrows were produced.

These volumes books are truly beautiful examples of Barbara Martin’s work.

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