Denver Verse
1970. A privately distributed assemblage of the poet's verse from 1967-1970. Brutus, an exiled South African poet-activist, who had spent time in the cell next to Nelson Mandela on Robben Island and was partly responsible for South Africa being banned from the 1964 Olympics -- a sanction that helped create the strategy that eventually defeated apartheid -- was a visiting lecturer in the English Department at the University of Denver in 1970, and he circulated these 25 poems as "something personal to give to the people who have been so kind to me here...But also there is an immediacy about some of my verse...I feel strongly just now that to justify my continuing to write verse, it needs to be doing something." [As quoted in a cover letter to this collection provided by Karen C. Chapman, editor, the previous year, of Dennis Brutus: Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison]. In other words, these poems represent Brutus' attempt, even while in exile, to keep his poetry relevant, and to continue in his role as an activist and agitator. Inscribed by Brutus: "Bob & Elizabeth Richardson. In appreciation, sincerely, Dennis Brutus, March, 1970." Also dated and initialed by Brutus, "5.14 DB." Loose sheets, with the endsheets being stationery with the watermark of the University of Denver. Chapman's cover sheet also provides a biographical sketch of Brutus. Faint sunning to the pages; else fine, and in the original clear acetate folder. We can find no evidence of any other copy of this collection surviving; a virtually unique collection of typescript poetry by a major figure in both world poetry and, in particular, the anti-apartheid movement among South African artists. A literary footnote: Robert Richardson later married Annie Dillard, a relationship engendered by her writing him a fan letter regarding his 1986 book on Henry Thoreau. [#030102] $1,000

All books are first printings of first editions or first American editions unless otherwise noted.