Essay Writer

FORD, Charles Henri

2 ALS to Winston Leyland, Founder of Gay Sunshine Press, Discussing Ford's New Book Om Krishna 1

New York: Cherry Valley Editions, 1979

1p. ALS in original envelope, and 2pp. ALS, rectos only, on loose leaf notepaper, Ford's address label affixed to first page. Book: 8vo, pp. 58, author's chronology bound in at rear. Illustrated stiff paper wrappers. A little design-fault creasing to spine, otherwise a near fine copy.


Om Krishna 1: First edition. One of 1000 copies, 100 of which were handbound and with an original photograph of the author tipped in. Review copy, with publisher's press release, and 2 ALS from Ford laid in.

The press release laid in to this volume reads (in part): 'At the age of 16, Ford began editing the magazine Blues. Gertrude Stein, writing in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, said: "Of all the little magazines that dies to make verse free, the youngest and the freashest was Blues." [...] Edith Sitwell has said of his work: "His poems give me always a shock of delight and of revelation... They are of a strange and real originality and of a great vitality."' Ford was also, with Parker Tyler, co-author of the novel The Young and Evil (Paris: Obelisk Press, 1933), a fragmentary snapshot of the gay New York of the 1920s, modernist in style and, because of its subject matter, not published in Ford's home country until 1975.

Starting life as a West Coast gay newspaper in 1970, the Gay Sunshine imprint began publishing books in 1975. Under its founder, Winston Leyland, Gay Sunshine Press published the work of many of the leading gay writers and poets of the period, Charles Henri Ford among them.

Ford's first letter, is dated 10 October 1979 and was sent from his home in the Dakota Building on West 72nd Street, New York: 'Was my new book of poems sent you for review? Perhaps [illegible name] would do a piece if you ask him. The enclosed MS [not present here] is by an attractive young man who came to see us in Crete last summer. Do with it what you will!.....'.

The second letter, dated 29 November 1979, again asks Leyland about the possibility of a review in Gay Sunshine: 'I suppose the February number is heading towards completion, and I've yet to send you the Secret Haiku -- but hope to dispatch a batch which could appear in issues following the Feb. one -- and could include some of Isamu [Naguchi]'s photos or collages.' (Secret Haiku was published by Red Ozier Press in New York in 1982.)

Keywords: Charles Henri FORD Winston LEYLAND"

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