Loujon Press, 1964. Unknown. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" / No Jacket. Item #005506364
A superb collection of Loujon Press correspondence between Jon and Gypsy Lou (Louise) Webb, and Outsider contributor Marcus Jack Grapes. See extensive discussion of the Grapes / Webb relationship in Weddle: BOHEMIAN NEW ORLEANS: THE STORY OF THE OUTSIDER AND LOUJON PRESS. Spanning the years 1964 to 1970, this choice collection of 34 letters (many multi-page), 5 postcards, and 6 related items (some letters with additional material, inscribed ephemera, etc.), spans the greatest years of Loujon Press, and sees the press migrate from New Orleans to New Mexico, Tucson, and Nashville. Jack Grapes (b. 1940), was a Tulane undergraduate and aspiring poet. In addition to being an OUTSIDER author, poet, editor, and publisher, he was also one of the Webb’s closest friends (one of only two people besides Charles Bukowski being allowed at the Webb’s home during the production of CRUCIFIX IN A DEATHHAND) and a Loujon supporter. Grapes, who early in life began publishing chapbooks, was later founder of the Bombshelter Press and ONTHEBUS, and can be numbered at the fore of those influenced by Loujon and the Webbs. OUTSIDER 4/5 features an Album of Grapes untitled poems, 15 in all. As befits letters sent by a noted printers of hand-made books, the letters, in addition to remarkable content, are graphically quite interesting, and would both publish and exhibit well. BRIEF EXCERPTS (all from letters by Jon Webb): 9/16/64 “… Now I’ve gone over your work thoroughly… Your earlier work shows, it seems, a kind of influence, I’d say, from Wolfe, tho I could be wrong. But it has a flavor of the creative sentimentality of Wolfe, a good flavor, still it’s a seeming derivative flavor, one which you’ve managed to get out of in your “8 poems about this and that”. These poems, best you’ve done yet, can stand some reworking, but not too much. I’ve enough confidence in your redoing them right, that I’m setting aside a two-page spread for them in Outsider #4…” 11/26/64 I want to congratulate you on two things: One, is the immense improvement in your work. I was and continue to be pleasantly surprised at the speed in which you jumped from a kind of creative fumbling to a much more surefooted touch in your writing, which is immediately evident in your latest stuff sent recently… It’s hard to believe, the vast improvement in your handling of your material, and your good and promising leaning away from the “establishment”… that is, poetry as it has been established and known among the academics, that is (again), poetry that follows the old ruts and is fast passing into boredom and obscurity; the old poetic poetry. You’ve escaped this tunnel… Second, I congratulate you on your discipline in this respect: your ability to stay away from the editor until you’ve produced a sizeable piece of work; as you did… it is always a bad thing for writer and editor to be too close while a writer is developing…” 7/12/65 “… Our sudden leaving gave us no chance to contact you – I have held off writing till we got settled somewhere - have tried Arizona whole hog – but everywhere is Goldwater. No place for us to publish Outsider from. So we’re off this Thursday by train to Santa Fe… All I hope is that the press keeps surviving the travels…” 10/13/65 “Got your two fine letters, also the books and my god you’ve done a remarkable job of publishing, and the contents are more than exceptional… must say again the book is a great start as a book by you, and it’s far better looking than the usual first book of poetry, better than any of Buk’s first books…” Buk will be here to visit for 3 days on the 15th. Sure wish you could be here. But it’s really only 2 ½ days and 2 nights. And right after his visit, that is on the 20th, we’ll be moving out of Santa Fe. Just can’t take the altitude, and also can’t get the supplies I’ll need for #4. The 7000 feet has my heart pumping with exertion, so best to get out. And am short of breath most of the time. Can’t risk a stroke. Breaks my heart to think of all the money it cost trying to make it here… [more printing press trouble] During the hurricane we tried about ten times to get you on the phone, but all lines were out or busy. We were worried about you, sir. We’ve rented an apartment unseen in El Paso, from ad in the paper, which is located in a section we know is slum territory, but only place we could get with the dogs, and besides it might be an experience…” 9/6/66 “…I was just too stunned by your first letter, about the things you said I said on the phone – not like me. Remember most of the conversation, but I was crazy worried and was drinking wine, drank a whole bottle of sherry while talking to you, must have gone off my nut, plus I’d had a little stroke the day before… so I was going through a crisis when I phoned, a lot because we were out of paper and not knowing where to get money for another piece… I haven’t been drinking at all, and the sherry knocked me silly, must have if I said all the crazy impossible things you say I said. If I said anything to hurt you must have been you were one close enough to let go my tension to in that worried hour… Love from us, and try to forgive any absurdities of the phone call; just don’t recall saying a thing that was hurtful, tho I must if you say I did. God, not you of all people! I had to be temporary out of my head. Like Buk, who phones me sometimes plastered and gives Lou and me hell for impossible and fancied wrongs, and then apologizes for weeks. Tho he needn’t for I understand him and know when he’s calling me all sorts of things on phone he won’t remember the next day, and that I’m one who cares enough for him to let him go and listen without interrupting or hanging up. But my call to you was for help and not to raise hell for you… Be good when we get out of this Tucson graveyard and back to N. Orleans…” 3/12/67 [extensive discussion of Loujon awards for book design]… “Your latest book & pub. effort is a gem. I love precise neatness & presentation of ideas without sloppiness - & your book is just right – without having any Publishers Row professional look about it – which is another thing to avoid, Which you did.” 10/2/67 “Lou’s been in and out of Hosp. Past several months with her asthma and emphysema, and doctors believe the climate bad… But if we find [San Diego] n.g. we will move from here towards New Orleans, if not a bit past it. We hesitate to get back into N.O. with its steamy humidity; still we keep thinking the years there were tolerated by Lou a lot more than our time here [Tucson]. One of the reasons the Press fund was started by Donald Borzak of Service Offset Corp in Chicago was because of our cash from the Miller book going down the drain for medical bills this year. He’s gotten quite a few influential & big Chicago printers… [for]… Heidelberg press and a paper cutter…” 6/14/68 “We are finally into the Outsider – managed finally to get enough to get the paper stock – 220,000 pieces of 7 x 10” paper, for a double issue - #4 & 5… [discussion of printing with new Heidelberg] Hoping to get some poems from you very soon that are unpublished. Do send some – for must have you in this issue…”.