Signed first edition of this eccentric series of poetic odes to the 1939 New York World's Fair "World of Tomorrow," including its iconic robot "Elektro."
ROBOTS ON THEIR BATTLEFIELDS
"Watch these mammoths, big and small, / Veterans of many fights, / Battling for progressive rights – / How they move and turn and crawl, / How they work to operate / And prosperity create, / Writing chapters of today, / Glories for the future day. / See them toiling at the Fair; / Watch them working everywhere."
Unusual, likely self-financed, book of poetry, dedicated to the 1939 World's Fair held in Flushing, Queens. Themed the "Dawn of a New Day," the event epitomized the kind of modern technological optimism now best embodied by retrofuturism, and Makowski was clearly moved by what he saw and experienced. Verses are dedicated to the attendees, the buildings, and in the book's longest poem, "Robots On Their Battlefield," a reference to one of the fair's most enduring symbols, the seven-foot-high Westinghouse robot "Elektro," and his robot dog Sparko.<br /><br />Elektro, the Westinghouse "Motor Man," was one of the most popular attractions at the fair. He could respond to voice commands, count, speak (via a series of 78rpm records), spoke a cigarette, and move under his own power.<br /><br />We've found little about the author except what we've been able to trace in draft and other public documents. Walter Ernst Makwoski was born in Germany in 1879, and emigrated to Maine sometime before 1902, when he was naturalized. He worked variously as a salesman, terra cotta molder, and possibly a handyman or superintendent (he lists his employer's address on his 1940 draft card as "109 West 102nd Street," an apartment building). He published one other book of poetry, THE HOVERING AVENUE, in 1937. Curiously, the Poet's Press did hold an event at the fair, a reading by Gertrude Gunderson of South Dakota for her book OUT OF THE SOLITUDE, also published by the press, on May 15th, 1939 — "Poet's Day."<br /><br />An uncommon collection responding to growing American technological innovation and dominance.
New York: Poet's Press, (1940). ROBOTS ON THEIR BATTLEFIELDS: And Other New York World's Fair Poems 9" x 6". Original orange cloth with titles stamped in blue. No jacket, possibly as issued. Promotional flyer for Makowski's previous book loosely laid in.Signed by Makowski to the front free endpaper. 32 pages. Some soiling to cloth. Internally clean and sound.
The Fine Print
We work hard to meet our ethical responsibilty to describe our material accurately. All items are guaranteed as described and may be returned for any reason within 10 days. Please notify us before mailing a return.
We guarantee the authenticity of our items. All items are original (meaning not facsimiles or reproductions), first editions (i.e. first printings), unless otherwise noted. TPM is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and upholds their Code of Ethics.
All items subject to prior sale. Domestic orders over $250 and international orders over $500 ship gratis. We use USPS unless otherwise requested. Expedited, overnight, or international shipping, as well as other carriers, may carry additional costs beyond quoted rates. All orders receive tracking information and a direct contact in case of any questions.
We accept all major credit cards, Paypal, Venmo, check, money order, and bank wire. We are happy to accomodate institutional buyers' needs. Sales tax will be added to applicable purchases.
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your purchase, please contact us. We prioritize our long-term relationships far above any individual purchase, and we want you to love your item as much as we loved cataloguing it.