Signed limited "Manuscript Edition" of this duplicated work by the Japanese-American poet and art critic, containing tanka – the earliest known American book to do so.
"Hartmann served as a crucial bridge across literary boundaries, a 'missing link' of American poetry – between Whitman and Pound, Japan and America, the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries." – Floyd Cheung
Born in Japan to a German father and Japanese mother, Hartmann was sent to Philadelphia at 15. After falling in love with a copy of LEAVES OF GRASS, at age 17 Hartmann sought out and befriended Walt Whitman, who became an important mentor – Whitman remarked of him, "I have more hopes of him, more faith in him than any of the boys" (quoted in Cheung). This would prove to be the first of many striking facts about Hartmann's career: he later ran in Symbolist circles, becoming friends with Mallarmé; was embraced by the Greenwich Village Bohemians; and acted in Hollywood with stars like Douglas Fairbanks. Aside from his work as a poet, Hartmann became a major art critic, especially regarding photography (including contributions to Stieglitz's CAMERA NOTES and CAMERA WORK). Hartmann's earlier book, POEMS (1889), "is the first Asian American book of poetry that we know" (Xu), and this publication is the first known American book to contain tanka, a traditional form of Japanese poetry similar to haiku but with more syllables. A landmark in American poetry.
Read more: Xu, Historical Dictionary of Asian American Literature and Theater, 105, 124; Cheung, introduction to Sadakichi Hartmann: Collected Poems, 1886-1944.
n.p. n.p, 1904. 11'' x 8.5'' (text block). Original thick grey wrappers bound with brass rivets, photographic halftone portrait of the author tipped onto front wrapper along with calligraphic ink brush symbol. Stencil duplicated text printed on blue watermarked paper. Author bibliography at rear. 21 numbered leaves printed rectos only. Number 148 of 160 copies signed by the author on the title page. Some wear and moderate toning to edge of wrappers, a few tiny flecks on staining to fore-edge of title page.
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