I just sent out the fall edition of the Lax Newsletter with this photograph in it of Robert Lax playing the bongo drums when he was quite young. I don’t know where or when the photograph was taken, or by whom, but it is one of my favorites of him. I think it shows his true inner spirit at an early age.
The photograph came to me from Jeffrey Weinberg, who used a version of it on the cover of his 2014 letterpress publication Dear Jack: Heart Not Head. The limited-edition book features an intimate letter Lax sent to Jack Kerouac when they were good friends in the 1950s. You can purchase a copy, with an introduction by Lax archivist Paul Spaeth, from Jeffrey’s Water Row Books eBay page.
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Price alert: The Kindle version of PURE ACT: THE UNCOMMON LIFE OF ROBERT LAX has been temporarily reduced to $2.99 on Amazon again. Last time this happened, it lasted only a short time. The usual price is $11.99. Click below!
Sprachichter Verlag has just released the first German translation of one of the best collections of Robert lax poems, 33 Poems (33 Gedichte). This first edition is limited to 100 hardcover copies. Sprachlichter will publish a second edition in 2022.
To read more about the book (in German) or purchase a copy, click here.
Note from MNM: I’m pleased to be listed as a contributing editor for the book. My German isn’t terribly good but I speak fluent Lax and was able to help improve the translations.
Lax’s majestic poetry cycle The Circus of the Sunis now available in Italian for the first time. This finely crafted and illustrated book is published by Il Ponte del Sale, a cultural association for both Italian and international poetry.
Il Circo del Sole, with text in both English and Italian, was edited by Giampaolo De Pietro and Graziano Krätli (with translations by Krätli himself and Renata Morresi, an afterword by Andrea Raos, and drawings by Francesco Balsamo. You can see one of Balsamo’s illustrations here.) The book is 126 pp. and costs 20 euros + shipping.
Franciscan Institute Publications at St. Bonaventure University (in collaboration with one island books of the Robert Lax Literary Trust) has just published a lovely little chapbook reprinting two of Lax’s best-loved poems, “21 pages” and “psalm.” The book includes a “prelude” and “interlude” preparing the reader for the main texts and connecting the poems to each other. It also offers a short afterword on each work (one each by the book’s co-editors, Paul J. Spaeth and Joshua Benson) and a brief note about the origins and publishing history of the texts.
One of the book’s most pleasing aspects is how it looks. Featuring an all-black cover with only the names of the two poems and the author in white on the front, it echoes the cover Emil Antonucci designed for Lax’s second book, New Poems, published in 1962.
This is the first in a planned series of Lax re-releases.
This is the price sheet for several handmade books being offered by a German press called Edition Schwarze Seite. I took this picture at Passages Bookshop in Portland, Oregon, where Lax friend and editor John Beer and I gave a presentation on Lax a few days ago. Also speaking that evening was Eckhard Froeschlin, who runs the press. The images below are from those Lax books you can buy for $1,500 each. Lax loved that artists and bookmakers wanted to use his poetry. What would he say to these prices? I think he’d just smile.
And here’s a picture of Froeschlin displaying one of the Lax books (to give you a feeling for the size). Those are more Lax pages behind him.
Notes for the Next Robert Laxis a selection of previously unpublished Lax poems about “writing practice, religion and poetic process as well as reflecting on home.” It’s a 40-page limited edition printed on Mohawk Superfine and section sewn, with Colorplan endpapers and a Gmund Bier cover. And it’s yours for just 8 British pounds. Click on the title above to order.