Last Night of The Earth Poems (signed copy)

Back in the early 90's, I went to Baroque Books on Las Palmas in Hollywood. The place was filled with Bukowski books, many of them hardbacks which Buk had done some paintings within the inside covers. These were going for $$$ at the time, so I couldn't afford them. Speaking at length with the proprieter Red Stodolski, then picking up Last Night of The Earth to buy, he says "I've got something better." He goes in the back and brings out a copy that Buk had signed on the inside cover and had made the little drawing of a man holding a bottle of booze. Very lucky to have that. I'm wondering how many of them were signed and does anyone else here own one of those?
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
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In those days Bukowski would visit with Red from time to time and sign various items for him, so there is no telling how many signed copies of a particular title Red may have had pass through his store.
 

mjp

Founding member
If you want to know how many were "officially" signed, here are the numbers.

There's no way to know how many Bukowski signed outside of those signed editions, but he signed a lot of books for a lot of people.

I think it would be safe to double the numbers of the signed editions to get a ballpark figure for how many signed books are out there. Though that would probably be a low ballpark figure.


Or - what hank solo said...
 
The day I was there at the bookstore, Red said "Yeah, Hank was just in here a couple of days ago with his wife Linda. My wife and I went to see a movie with them that night. He hated it." Thanks MJP for the signing stats. My copy is a paperback with a plastic cover which the signing/illustration stats don't include.

Red and Baroque...

 
Red and Baroque...
Brings back memories...thanks for sharing this!

There's no way to know how many Bukowski signed outside of those signed editions, but he signed a lot of books for a lot of people.

I think it would be safe to double the numbers of the signed editions to get a ballpark figure for how many signed books are out there. Though that would probably be a low ballpark figure.
A very good point, MJP. He generously signed for virtually anyone who asked, including, of course, my old friend Red. And Red never made a secret of that fact, at least not when dealing with me. On visits when I lacked the funds for the "official" signed edition, he would often bring out one of the trade copies that Buk had signed for him, and give it to me for the price of the trade edition.
 
Baroque was one of those fuckin' HIP bookstores in Hollywood... and fewer of them exist now. I was honored to meet Red and spend some time there with him and all of that literature. I was amazed at all of the rare, hardback Buk books, including his large picture-book wedding album documenting his Linda wedding ceremony. Great stuff. Great times.
 
I have a first wraps copy of Ham on Rye that's signed by Buk on the title page that apparently came from Red's shop. It sure beats trying to buy a called-for signed copy which will cost you a mortgage check. I know he signed a fairly large number of these for Red and at readings, but I'd tend to doubt that these numbers are equal to the called-for signed. Just my opinion; if you add up all the signed pages Buk did that eventually got bound into the called-for signed editions, he must have spent a fair bit of time doing them. To spend that much more time in a "social setting" signing actual books seems to cut against his approach to life, at least as I understand it.

That said, the not-called-for signed books don't do as well in the market in comparison to the called-for signed books. It strikes me as odd; I have a green-thread sewn If We Take-- (1970 NYG) that was signed on the title page by Buk in the mid-'80s w/ little man/bottle that I really dig. The red-thread sewn, called-for signed versions seem to go for at least $100 more, but I'd rather have mine.
 

mjp

Founding member
The red-thread sewn, called-for signed versions seem to go for at least $100 more, but I'd rather have mine.
Because you're smart and most collectors are not.

I just received the signed You Get So Alone from the recent PBA auction, and it's signed and illustrated on the title page too, and to me that is far more desirable than a signature on a numbered page in the back of the book. I have those too, but they seem a little less personal to me. Of course on something like a late 60s/early 70s book you're less likely to find one signed outside of the signed edition.
I know he signed a fairly large number of these for Red and at readings, but I'd tend to doubt that these numbers are equal to the called-for signed.
A lot of people also sent him books through the mail to sign. Enough that he complained about it in letters. I was basing my "double" estimation on the number of title page and cover signatures we've seen over the years.
 
Baroque was decidedly UN-hip. Nor was it ironic or cutting-edge. It was however, antiquarian. That chain was put up in the last year of Red's life. It's all gone now, of course. I guess you "hipsters" can flock to Aldine' s now. Which actually was a great bookstore in its original location.
 
HIP because it was what it was. A real bookstore with real books and a crusty proprietor... and tons of Buk books. That's hip enough for me.
 

mjp

Founding member
I know he signed a fairly large number of these for Red and at readings, but I'd tend to doubt that these numbers are equal to the called-for signed.
You're right. It's unlikely that he signed 14,000 books that were handed to him or sent to him:
That got me to wondering how many total signed copies there are, based on the counts above. It's a lot: 13,222. And that doesn't count the presentation copies, publisher's copies, etc. All total, there must be almost 14,000 "officially signed" copies.
And that count doesn't include the signed one-offs and "limited editions," New Years Greetings, etc.

So I think the official number is; a shitload.
 
I have a bunch of signed and collectible stuff like most everyone does, but If I could really only keep one thing I own, it's an unsigned paperback first of Factotum, my favorite novel.
 
Since I missed Buk by just a couple of days when I visited Baroque Books, I told Red "I'd really like to meet him some day." Red replied "Maybe you'll meet him here. Just bring a bottle of something for him and you'll be in." :cool:
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
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I have a bunch of signed and collectible stuff like most everyone does, but If I could really only keep one thing I own, it's an unsigned paperback first of Factotum, my favorite novel.
Typical hipster response...
 
that's some bookstore, having half of the shelves protected by a chain and a sign, friendly saying: "Keep Out!"
Yeah, but if one really KNEW Red, that sign and all the gruffness meant nothing at all.
Baroque was decidedly UN-hip. Nor was it ironic or cutting-edge. It was however, antiquarian. That chain was put up in the last year of Red's life. It's all gone now, of course. I guess you "hipsters" can flock to Aldine' s now. Which actually was a great bookstore in its original location.
I respectfully disagree about Red and his store. And I ain't no "hipster" in the current sense of that word. As for as Aldine, I remember Al in his original location. I used to go upstairs and hang out with him. Al was another fellow that COULD be testy and/or standoff-ish at times. But once he was convinced of one's genuineness, every door was open. At least that was my experience.
 

mjp

Founding member
I just found one of the called for signed hardcovers here that I didn't know I had. I need to make a list or something...
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
Well, when it comes to Martin re-sell, we at least know it's legit. But I agree that it's far more exciting to know Buk signed an actual book as opposed to a piece of paper. It would have been nice to see and hear that happen in person at least once. But it's ok...
 
I just found one of the called for signed hardcovers here that I didn't know I had. I need to make a list or something...
White binding (no print) or orange (w/ print)? I own the trade HC, signed/no print, and signed w/ print. All three look as if they were made rather poorly (the trade being the best, unfortunately), which is rare for BSP. The bindings aren't as tight as on other titles (hence the bindings are "thicker" than the open edge), and these books don't look to have been overly read or worn; it really looks as if the craftsmanship was weak on this title. Is yours like this?
 

mjp

Founding member
Yes it is. White spine cloth and wider on the bound edge.

Overall it's a rather shoddy thing, but then most of the later hardcovers were not exactly fine examples of craftsmanship.
 

mjp

Founding member
I don't have an issue with any of the other or later hardcovers, they just aren't fine bookmaking by any stretch of the imagination. Every Black Sparrow hardcover I have is sloppy and prone to sagging (I shelve most of them upside down to counteract the sag), it's just worse in the later (post-letterpress cover) titles.

Hardcover boards are typically covered in cloth for a reason. Titles like Last Night of the Earth that have boards wrapped in paper are prone to deterioration and magnets for grubbiness, that's all.

They don't suck, they just occupy a weird space somewhere between a proper hardcover and a paperback. I've never liked them.
 
Do you know where the cut-off is regarding cloth vs. paper-wrapped? Now I need to go check for sag. I just turned 50 and I didn't expect my bookshelf to be the next place I'd be looking. :eek:
 

mjp

Founding member
Now I need to go check for sag. I just turned 50 and I didn't expect my bookshelf to be the next place I'd be looking.
What are you talking about? 50 is where it starts getting fun.

I'm not sure there was a cut off, I think all the BSP hardcovers are paper wrapped. But when they started offset printing the covers, that printing was done on thinner paper. That might be the root of the grubby/prone-to-deteriorate cover problem.

Look at the bottom edges of a title where the print wraps all the way around the board, like Last Night of the Earth Poems. It would be next to impossible to keep the gray ink on the bottom of the board from wearing off, unless you wrapped the brand new book in a blanket and put it in a closet somewhere.

The sag (as I've seen it) is mainly in the later titles, because they had more pages so the text blocks are thicker. But I have 300 year old books with just as many pages that haven't sagged as much as some 25 year old BSP titles. Just saying.
 

Ponder

"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
RIP
I don't have an issue with any of the other or later hardcovers, they just aren't fine bookmaking by any stretch of the imagination. Every Black Sparrow hardcover I have is sloppy and prone to sagging (I shelve most of them upside down to counteract the sag), it's just worse in the later (post-letterpress cover) titles.

Hardcover boards are typically covered in cloth for a reason. Titles like Last Night of the Earth that have boards wrapped in paper are prone to deterioration and magnets for grubbiness, that's all.

They don't suck, they just occupy a weird space somewhere between a proper hardcover and a paperback. I've never liked them.
The truth at last.
 

mjp

Founding member
Well, my truth anyway (does anyone else's matter?). ;)

I never bought the hardcovers when they were on the shelves of every book store in the world because they seemed cheaply made to me, but at a not-cheaply-made price. Then much later when I decided I'd better get them regardless of how I felt about them, I had to overpay (even more) on the used market. But that's another story.
 
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