cover of the first (1977) edition of Frank Stanford's
the battlefield where the moon says I love you
I am fortunate enough to have in my possession a copy of the first edition of Frank Stanford's epic the battlefield where the moon says I love you, from it's 1977 printing. The most coveted book-object I own without a doubt. While corresponding with brother Markus about the greatness of the book, he was wondering what the first edition looked like. Googling online, I couldn't find a picture of the first edition. So, for the benefit of those who are curious as to what it looks like, here it is:
Click on it to see it in it's full gory detail. Unfortunately, my copy is a bit mucked up--it used to keep me company a lot when I worked as a field geologist and had time to kill in far out places, like the shores of the Salton Sea, Nevada, the Mexican frontier and even the far reaches of northern Canada miles from the Arctic circle. The description of the front cover states "Photograph taken the last day of the war, Tan Son Nhut Airport, Saigon, April 29th, 1975." though it doesn't say who took the photo.
Under the library of congress data, it says "Stanford, Frank. 1949- " (he took his life a year later in 1978). He was 29, and now the book is 29 years, or 29 x 28 = 812 lunar cycles old. Especially in the wake of hurricane Katrina, it's still surprisingly relevant and timeless--the levees of New Orleans where it takes place, ruptured.
The simplicity and starkness of the cover, with it's unformatted, red, right-justified text really adds to the book as an object d'art. All the letters are lower-case except the "I". Also of interest is the choice of line breaks. And to think that lost roads was not even a press yet, but a self-published magazine, and number 7-12 on the back refers to the issue number.
The first title page is blank, but on the inside of the title page is a distressed circle, broken in 3 or 4 spots, presumably the lunar battlefield:
I'm not sure if they included this in the reprint. And here's what the text looks like on the first page (not typeset):
It's like reading the typewritten manuscript itself. There's not a single period, comma, line space or quotes in the entire 542 page book (condensed to 383 pages in the more recent version). The lunar circle image repeats at the end.
When I got mine, I think sometime in the late 80s, rumor was it was out of print, or going out of print so I contacted Lost Roads directly for a copy. Fortunately, they have since reprinted a second issue whose cover design is quite different, but what matters most is the text.