Revising A Book of Resemblances for Publication
In 1966, four years after the Auerhahn debacle, Duncan and Jess Collins began working with Henry Wenning, a rare books dealer living in Connecticut. The collaboration with Wenning and the detailed mock-up that Collins crafted for the book's publication were an absolute success. These materials indicate how poet, artist, and publisher can indeed work together to craft books that not only print poems, but print them artistically.
Alongside the material traces of Duncan's relationship to Auerhahn Press and Henry Wenning, I have included all the drafts and mock-ups toward one of the poems in A Book of Resemblances, "The Song of the Borderguard." It is the central emotional poem in the book because Duncan wrote it, so he claimed, after meeting Collins. Furthermore, it should be remembered that the same materials exist for every one of the poems in the book. Next, viewers will find the materials that show Duncan’s large-scale revisions to the book’s Table of Contents, and several scans from the completed book.
While exploring these materials, it is best to keep in mind an expanded sense of revision. Revision surely means fussing over words, as it does in the case of several writers presented on this site like James Merrill and Samuel Beckett, but fussing over the actual book itself is just as much an act of revision since the book's appearance either heightens or detracts from its appeal.