Story. Bernadette Mayer. 0 to 9 Books. 1968.


0 to 9 Books, 1968. Item #1116

Side-stapled wrappers.  Inscribed to poet / publisher Bill Corbett and Beverly Corbett by Mayer. 

The poet’s very rare first book published (when she was 23) by 0 to 9, the press and magazine she edited with Vito Acconci. The cover is rubber-stamped in red ink “STORY.”

In “A Lecture at the Naropa Institute, 1989,” Poetics Journal (1990), Mayer remembers:

“The way it came into being was I wrote a story that was about falling down, tripping and falling down. It was nicely written, experimentally so, but it seemed dull. So I tried to figure out what to do with it; and being a twenty-year-old person at the time, I went overboard and made a structure that is like a diamond shape where I accumulated other texts. I was very interested in American Indian myths at that time so I included a Kwakiutl myth about hats and about smoking; their description of a hoop and arrow game; and then an Italian folk tale about fourteen men who went to hell … then I accumulated some lists from the dictionary of other words for beginning, middle and end. There’s a recipe for true sponge cake, there’s a 19th-century letter about etiquette, a couple of quotes from Edgar Allan Poe, and an article by the biologist Louis Agassiz about coral reefs … I decided to interrupt the text at random moments with all the words I could think of that would mean story … The confluences were amazing. All of a sudden it would say detective story, and the section that was randomly chosen to be a detective story really became one. Or could become one in the reader’s mind. Probably more so than in my mind.” (From a Secret Location website).

 A bump to lower right corner and upper left corner of front cover. A band of fading along spine (1 1/2 in.) and top (1 in.) of back cover. Overall, a very near fine copy of a notoriously scarce item.

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