THE BLACK SWAN AND OTHER POEMS. ATHENS: ICAROS, 1946
4to (8 1/2 x 6 3/4 in.; 216 x 172 mm). Title-page vignette by Ghika. Original wrappers printed in red and black, repeating the Ghika vignette. Original glassine jacket; chipped at spine, lower glassine cover torn with paper loss. Beige burckram clamshell case, black morocco gilt lettering pieces.
Coley Newman (presentation inscription)
Hammer pp. 287, 290, 310; Hagstrom/Morgan A2
First edition, copy 10 of 100 copies. Presentation copy, inscribed by Merrill to Amherst friend Coley Newman, "For Coley who knows. J. M." With one-word autograph correction to "Embarkation Sonnet I."
This chapbook was published privately by Kimon Friar, one of Merrill's teachers at Amherst and the dedicatee of this collection. As biographer Langdon Hammer relates, "Merrill met Kimon Friar over lunch in Amherst's suitably named Valentine Hall on September 9, 1945. Friar was a temporary instructor in the college's program for veterans …. It wasan't only poetry, but love, that Friar was teaching him … Friar was Merrill's first lover and an older man with experience — including experience with a younger poet." The book came about when "Friar took with him to Greece copies of twelve poems that Merrill had written over the past year … and ordered these in a thirty-page chapbook … it was printed in Athens in October 1946 in an edition of one humdred copies 'not for sale.'"
Condition as described in catalogue entry.
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