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The Totem Protectorates
Hermes Free Press 1972 - [12pp]; sewn in deckled letterpress Tweedweave card covers; 366 x 260 mm folio pamphlet. Anonymous collaboration between Allen Ginsberg & Gary Snyder, beautifully produced by Holbrook Teter at the Cranium Press, "on Bergstrom papers" in the spring of 1972. A 6pp ecological list-poem subtitled, "Being the Assignment of Same to the Honorable Senators, Lawmakers of the United States Government, toward the Preservation of Life and Spirit in these Lands". Subsequently published in PLACE V3 N1 (June 1973) & NOT MAN APART V4 N10/1 (August 1974) -- as described by John Sherlock in his Gary Snyder Bibliography [D287 & D319/20 respectively]; & Bill Morgan in The Works of Allen Ginsberg, 1941-1994: A Descriptive Bibliography [C616 & C678/9 respectively] -- however the poem's first discrete publication appears to have entirely eluded them both. The title-page concludes with, "This Investiture Proclaimed in Grace Cathedral at the Autumnal Equinox, 1971". As Snyder (in Nevada City) revealed in a letter to Ginsberg (in Berkeley), during the "week of September 20-27 I'll be in the Bay Area staying at Greensfelder's in Mill Valley & working with Zach Stewart on enclosed vigil at Grace Cathedral [17 September 1971 -- The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg & Gary Snyder 1956-1991, p135]." Architect Zach Stewart (together with his professional partner Daniel Osborne) had not only helped Snyder build his home on San Juan Ridge, Yuba River, but also did the staging for the legendary Trips Festival (21-3 January 1966), & produced the entirely anonymous 'Four Thousand Years' Sensorium at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (24 January 1969). The original Sensorium, 'America Needs Indians', staged at Longshoreman's Hall by Stewart Brand & Zach Stewart as the opening act of the Trips Festival (21 January 1966), established a paradigm for future multi-media productions, which soon morphed into Brand's 'Mother of All Demos' (December 1968) before ultimately graduating to the hallowed confines of Grace Cathedral. Ginsberg joined Snyder & Stewart at the vigil, Thursday 23 September 1971, adding a chant accompaniment to the reading (which also involved Keith Lampe, Mahina Drees & Betsy Flack). Enlisted by Stewart (16.xii.71), Teter set the piece in Centaur & Cloister types, producing at least enough copies to send to every sitting senator. WorldCat locates 3 copies (San Diego; Utah State; & another in Australia), omitting the one cited in the Robert Creeley Archive at Stanford. Apart from John Sherlock (Snyder bibliographer) & Bill Morgan (Ginsberg bibliographer), both Gary Lepper (compiler of 75 Modern American Authors) & George Dowden (the earlier Ginsberg bibliographer) were also remarkably unaware of its existence. Presumably a copy of the pamphlet is included in the Archive of Holbrook Teter now at the University of Delaware, though I've been unable to trace it. Described by Alastair Johnston in his Zephyrus Image Bibliography (2003: Poltroon Press) as the "first major work" of the press (p26), the only indication of the size of the edition is Teter's estimate of costs ($750, which he absorbed), & the number of sitting senators (100). Johnston goes on to speculate that, in the absence of records, Zephyrus Image editions were likely limited to between 100 & 200 copies (p173). Both its folio size & anonymity have likely accelerated the attrition of this little-known guerrilla imprint (compounded by the transient period & spontaneous mode of its initial circulation). Not only rare in the sense that it remains extremely difficult to supply, but that it has largely eluded bibliographical authorities. And not merely significant as the first major work of one of the most infectious outsider presses of the day, but also as a prescient broadside of the developing 70s ecological offensive. A nice copy with a tiny bump at lower tip & very light fading about perimeter of covers. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: Letters Bookshop]
Last Found On: 2018-03-05           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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