Kenward Elmslie; illustrated by Joe Brainard.
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1968. Small quarto. Perfect-bound brown paper wraps, lightly edgeworn on the spine folds, frayed with a small tear at the crown of the spine and a small chip missing from the bottom of the verso. 66 pages. First edition, one of 750 trade copies, signed by the author (with short poetic inscription) and the illustrator on the title page. Good.
An important New York School collaboration. The pair were lovers from the early sixties till Brainard's death in 1994. Collaborative work elevated Brainard, as evidenced by the books crafted with Elmslie at their farmhouse in Vermont. The Champ fuses a long Elmslie poem with illustrations by Brainard at his best: weird, kitschy, resourceful, tender, sublime. He haunted antique shops, on the lookout for children's books he could raid for material. It shows. Rare and beautiful early Black Sparrow.
"It's hard to kill
and lonely trees"