2 December 2014
This lot is offered without a reserve
COLLINS, Billy (b.1941). Questions About Angels. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1991. 8°. Original cloth-backed boards; printed dust jacket.
FIRST EDITION OF BILLY COLLINS' FIRST MAJOR BOOK COPIOUSLY ANNOTATED ON SIXTY-FIVE PAGES AND SIGNED TWICE ON THE TITLE-PAGE. Collins' annotations, drawings and commentary run from the half-title ("Historic note: For a time this copy was in the possession of Billy Collins himself") through the final poem in the collection. About the dedicatee of the book, Diane, he comments, "We've since divorced by we are getting along better than ever. She just sent me a bag of catnip for my new cat. Actually my fiance's new cat." On the table of contents, he circles the page numbers of poems he identifies as "10 aces." "Forgetfulness" includes a few minor changes, and Collins notes that the poem "has become a kind of signature poem. I don't think I've ever not read it in public." He provides context for "Questions About Angels," and notes: "If you like autobiographical criticism, this secularized angel is my subversive answer to my Catholic - indeed Jesuit - education." He adds small drawings on 8 pages, including a maze over "Momento Mori," clouds to illustrate "Student of Clouds," and a sketch to illustrate "Candle Hat." He includes editorial comments (including the proposed deletion of 15 complete or partial lines with a new suggested structure in "Putti in the Night," and a proposed change to the final stanza of "The Discovery of Scat": "Why not another couplet, Collins?") and biographical notes and contextual comments, such as in "Nostalgia." Questions About Angels, Collins' fourth book, was the work that brought the two-time US Poet Laureate literary renown ("My 1st BIG BOOK at 50!").
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