Two American Poets

Wallace Stevens & William Carlos Williams

From the

Collection of Alan M. Klein


This catalogue, and the exhibit it accompanies, is truly the work of many hands and these collections would not have seen the light of day without the encouragement, support and assistance of many friends over the two decades during which these collections were accumulated.

First and foremost, Sarah Funke Butler is without question the coauthor, co-editor and co-curator of this catalogue and the exhibit. I realized when the Grolier Club accepted my exhibit proposal that I needed professional assistance and guidance. Little did Sarah realize that my seemingly casual request for her help would result in a two year journey for her. But there would be no catalogue or exhibit without her work. I cannot more greatly express my gratitude. Sarah and I have been ably, and extensively, supported by Katie Vagnino, whose research and writing are evident in virtually every entry in the catalogue. Her appreciation and affection for both poets has greatly added to this catalogue.

Jerry Kelly is the master of creating beautiful and elegant examples of the printed word. I am tremendously appreciative of his design and printing of this catalogue. Thanks are due to Robert Lorenzson and Dominique de Meijer for the extraordinary photography throughout the catalogue. I thank Barbara Suhr for her design of the exhibit, which has added much to the enjoyment and understanding of its content.

Conrad Harper was the first person to tell me about the Grolier Club and the person who encouraged me to apply to join it. This exhibit is the culmination of a road that started with that conversation. Carolyn and Ward Smith and Cheryl Hurley have been friends and mentors at the Grolier. Their many kindnesses cannot begin to be enumerated. Carolyn and Ward were gracious enough to include items of mine in their Seamus Heaney exhibit and to suggest that I ought to propose a Stevens/Williams exhibit to the Club. Cheryl has been a source of encouragement throughout my time at the Club. Without their support this exhibit would not have taken place.

Eric Holzenberg, Jennifer Sheehan and the entire staff at the Grolier Club have been tremendously supportive and professional in helping put this exhibit and the associated programs together. Thanks as well to Fern Cohen and Chris Loker for their guidance in the process of preparing the catalogue and the exhibit and to Susan Flamm for her help in making sure that information about the exhibit has reached a broader audience.

Becoming a collector, and creating a collection, does not take place without guidance and help. My friend of forty years, Alexander Neubauer, explained to me two decades ago how to take some random first editions I had acquired of a few poets I liked and to start to turn them into a collection. I continue to rely on his connoisseurship and his insight. I have been fortunate over the last twenty years to develop relationships, and friendships, with a number of book dealers, without whom it would have been impossible for me to learn how to think about books and build my collections and without whom getting access to these materials would not have been possible. In

In particular, the inimitable Glenn Horowitz has been essential in creating these collections. James Jaffe, Rick Gekoski, Tom Goldwasser, James Goldwasser, and Ralph Sipper have taught me much about books and greatly facilitated my collecting. Each of these gentlemen has been thoughtful and kind for many, many years.

My concept for the exhibit of my collections of Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams has been greatly enhanced by my conversations with Professors Joan Richardson and Paul Mariani, who have authored the definitive biographies of Stevens and Williams, respectively. Professor Mariani has also written a recent insightful biography of Stevens. His unique depth of perspective on each poet is evident in the piece he graciously contributed to this catalogue. Daniel Halpern’s many conversations with me about poetry, and that of Stevens and Williams in particular, have been a privilege for me and I greatly appreciate his contribution to the catalogue regarding his feelings for Stevens’s work. Nicole Sealey is an exciting young voice in contemporary poetry and I am greatly honored that she has contributed her thoughts on Williams to this catalogue.

Finally, I thank my remarkable wife Lauren. She has always been supportive of my book collecting and has never faltered in that support or in her support of my efforts to put together this exhibit and this catalogue. My cherished children Charlotte and Sam have seemed to enjoy my appearances in their classrooms over the years to show off some books and manuscripts of poets they happen to be studying. I hope that perhaps presages another generation of collectors, but at the very least another generation of poetry lovers.

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