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Leave the Word Alone by  Edward Marshall - First printing - 1979 - from Passages Bookshop (SKU: 4117)

Leave the Word Alone

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Leave the Word Alone

by Marshall, Edward

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About This Item

New York: Pequod Press, 1979. First printing. 15) pp., 5.75 x 8.5 inches. Stapled into printed card covers. Introduction by Allen Ginsberg, and illustration by James Kearns. “Handset in Lydian Medium 10 point by R’lene Howell Dahlberg at the Pequod Press, November 1979.” Covers toned at the edges from age, but otherwise as new.

“Leave the Word Alone” was Edward Marshall’s sole contribution to Donald Allen’s landmark 1960 anthology The New American Poetry, and was the longest poem in the book. A few years before, Marshall had sent the poem — his first significant effort in poetry — to Charles Olson at Black Mountain, at the urging of John Wieners; Olson was excited by the work, writing to Marshall with high praise, and according to Robert Duncan it was the poem that everyone at Black Mountain was reading that summer. Through Olson’s agency the poem was added to the contents of Black Mountain Review 7 (the last issue), and then picked by Donald Allen from there. Allen Ginsberg had encountered the poem at some point in the late 1950s, and credited it with directly influencing his own poem “Kaddish.”

Marshall published two slender books in the 1960s, but a planned larger collection never materialized, despite the efforts of first Irving Rosenthal, and then R’lene Dahlberg — though the latter did bring out this first separate edition of his best-known poem, years later. She asked Allen Ginsberg to write an introduction, ultimately using for that purpose about a third of the long essay that he wrote (“Marshall’s Service”).

Right around the time that this pamphlet appeared, Marshall gave a reading with Michael Rumaker at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in New York, one of the last traces of his literary life. At some point in the next decade he left the City, moving to North Carolina (very close to Black Mountain), where he died in 2005.

This uncirculated copy of Leave the Word Alone was among the remaining inventory of the press after Dahlberg’s death. The edition size is unknown; there were also 100 numbered copies signed by Marshall and Kearns, with an original signed print of the illustration as frontispiece.


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Passages Bookshop US (US)
Bookseller’s Inventory #
Leave the Word Alone
Marshall, Edward
Book condition
Quantity available
First printing
Pequod Press
Place of Publication
New York
Date Published
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All books are first editions in very good or better condition unless otherwise noted. Dustjackets are noted when present. Books will be held for one week unless other arrangements are made, and all purchases are returnable for any reason with advance notification. Institutional billing is available with standard terms.

About the Seller

Passages Bookshop

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2008
Portland, Oregon
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About Passages Bookshop

Passages Bookshop stocks fine, rare, and unusual books and graphic art, with a concentration on modern and contemporary literature and art (particularly poetry and the avant-garde), artist's books, fine printing, and the book arts. The successor to New York City's Bridge Bookshop (late 1980s), Passages opened in Albuquerque in 1994 and relocated to Portland, Oregon, in 1997. In November of 2015 we moved to a new retail shop and gallery centrally located in Portland's east side, two blocks north of the convention center, where we are typically open Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 to 6:00 pm, as well as by appointment or chance. Proprietor: David Abel,


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