Piero Heliczer – Books and Broadsides

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This index includes books, chapbooks, booklets and broadsides

First edition:
(White Plains): privately published, (c. 1957)
Hand-sewn sheets tipped into printed wrappers, 12 pages, 24 numbered copies issued hors commerce.  Illustrated by Heliczer.

Contents: “The Tomb of Henry James Diferencia 1” [play] [collected in The Plays of Piero Heliczer, Volume I]

According to BeatBooks catalog #86, prints the first part of Heliczer’s absurdist play. The play’s second part appeared in Accent (Spring 1958), and the complete (?) four-part play was published by the Dead Language Press in 1971. This first part was privately printed “as a distraction” by Heliczer in White Plains, New York, “for personal use of its author”, and does not bear the Dead Language (or any) imprint. It was included in the Dead Language catalogue for 1959 (item #49), though only a tiny number of copies were sold or, more likely, given away.

2. Heliczer, Piero. GIRL BODY
First edition:
Paris: The Dead Language, 1958
First edition, broadside, 5″ x 24″ folded twice to 5″ x 6″, white ink letterpress printed on black paper.

Contents: “Girl Body” [poem]

According to BeatBooks catalog #86, the subject of this sensual and concupiscent poem is Olivia de Haulleville, Heliczer’s girlfriend, whose breath he compares to a turtle’s and “her sex” to “a turtle shell” (Piero owned a pet turtle which he led on a leash and is said to have once deposited it at the Louvre’s cloakroom during a visit).

[scans of this item at Brown University Library digital repository]

3. Heliczer, Piero. IN WHICH THE POET WALKS…
First edition:
Paris: Dead Language, 1958
Broadside, 6″ x 11″ folded twice to 6″ x 3.75″, letterpress printed on cream laid paper.

Contents: “In Which The Poet Walks from 945 Park Avenue to His Home at 420 West 46th Street out of Which He is to be Evacuated as a Squatter and Finally to Battery Park at Noon” [poem]

First edition:
Paris: Dead Language Press, 1959
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers, 6.5″ x 6.75″, 24 pages, letterpress printed. Avant-propos by Robert Graves, original photo of Heliczer by Harold Chapman mounted to verso of last leaf.

Contents: “Fuga XIII” [poem], “Ornithology For Love Cyclops” [poem], “England” [poem], “English Girls” [poem], “Paris A Scenario For A Silent Movie” [poem], “America” [poem]

According to BeatBooks catalog #86, in his avant-Propos, Robert Graves likens Heliczer’s work to “a translation of poems from a foreign language, which I would like to understand” (“an indication”, Anselm Hollo later noted, “of the limited range of the older poet’s ear”). The title is credited to Siggy Wessberg, Olivia de Haulleville’s half brother.

5. Heliczer, Piero. THE LION KEEPER
First edition:
Paris: The Dead Language, 1960
Postcard, 4″ x 6″., letterpress printed.

Contents: “The Lion Keeper”.

From the verso: “Lavender this color blends the most harmoniously with the environment and therefore has a restorative effect on nerve tissue”.

First edition, thus:
Brighton: Dead Language & London: Matrix Press, 1961
Saddle-stapled in illustrated wrappers, 4.5″ x 11″, 20 pages, letterpress printed. Cover photo by Ph Mechanicus.

Contents: “& I Dreamt I Shot Arrows in My Amazon Bra” [poem]

From Heliczer’s notes to this edition: “An earlier edition was dittoed by Anselm Hollo… My earlier inspiration little frogs and clay dams in the sound of leaves there’s no need to worry about fulfilling a sign as signs necessarily fulfill themselves just as every thing has a pot dimension ie that emitter sends pot signals to pot man it is not necessary to the manifestation whether the emitter is under the influence.”

According to BeatBooks catalog #86, Heliczer’s 1963 Dead Language catalog prints the publication year as 1961, a year before he moved to New York; elsewhere Tom Raworth mistakenly gives the year as 1963, stating that “Piero was living with us; he and I printed it on my treadle press which was off Oxford Street in Richard Moore’s print-shop…”. Heliczer’s notebook dates the sale and distribution of copies in early December 1961, and records that he paid Tom Raworth £1.00 on the ninth of that month.

a. First edition, pink cover:
New York: Dead Language, (1962)
Saddle-stapled in printed and illustrated wrappers, 7″ x 7″, 28 pages, letterpress printed. Afterword by Anselm Hollo.

b. First edition, orange cover:
New York: Dead Language, (1962)
Saddle-stapled in printed and illustrated wrappers, 7″ x 7″, 28 pages, letterpress printed. Afterword by Anselm Hollo.

Contents: “Poem Number One” [poem], “Mantis” [poem], “Wm Byrd” [poem], “Bird Burgeoning Sky” [poem], “Buckingham Palace” [poem], “Carillon Booty” [poem]

Note: “Poem Number One” appeared in La Lune en Rodage 1, (Basel); “Mantis” appeared in a French version in Sens Plastique, (Paris); “Wm Byrd” appeared in New Departures 2/3, (Oxford & London); “Buckingham Palace” appeared in Outburst 2, (London).

8. Heliczer, Piero. THE SOAP OPERA
First edition:
London, Trigram Press, 1967
Hardcover in cloth-bound boards with illustrated dust jacket, 9″ x 10″, 36 pages, 500 copies (36 numbered and signed), letterpress printed. Illustrations by Paul Vaughan, Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, Wallace Berman.

Contents: “A Purchase in The White Botanica” [poem], “The Death Of Stephen Ward” [poem], “Wyatt: Elegy & Diferencias” [poem], “Victorian Era” [poem], “The Passion Of Johann Sebastian Bach” [poem], “The Autumn Feast” [poem]

Notes: “The Autumn Feast” was made into a movie, Jeffrey Keen did the photography and cutting, Angus Maclise and Tony Conrad made the soundtrack.

9. Heliczer, Piero. THE PLAYS OF PIERO HELICZER, Volume I
First edition:
Préaux: The Dead Language, 1971
Side-stapled in printed and illustrated cover, 8.5″ x 11″,  30 pages, 100 copies, mimeograph printed. Cover photo by Avril Hodges.

Contents: “The Tomb of Henry James, Diferencias I-IV” [play]

10. Heliczer, Piero. THE PLAYS OF PIERO HELICZER, Volume II
First edition:
Préaux: The Dead Language, 1971
Side-stapled in printed and illustrated cover, 8.5″ x 11″, 30 pages, 100 copies, mimeograph printed. Cover photo by Avril Hodges.

Contents: “Wyatt” [play], “The Pecan Tree” [play], “Chaconne in G Minor” [play]

11. Heliczer, Piero. THE PLAYS OF PIERO HELICZER, Volume III
First edition:
Préaux: The Dead Language, 1971
Side-stapled in printed and illustrated cover, 8.5″ x 11″, 100 copies, 26 pages, mimeograph printed.

Contents: “Harunobu” [play], “The Blue Centaur” [play], “Bessie Smith” [play]

12. Heliczer, Piero. THE HANDSOME POLICEMAN *
First edition:
New York City : Moon Dragon Press, 1976
Broadside, 11″ x 17″.

Contents: “The Handsome Policeman” [poem]

First edition:
Heerlen, Holland: Uitgeverij 261, 1981
Perfect-bound in printed wrappers, 5.25″ x 8.25″, 48 pages, printed in English and Dutch. Published as part of The Amsterdam School/Poetry Series.

Contents: “In Coena Domini” [poem], “Leadbelly (A D 1882 To 1949)” [poem], “Chinatown” [poem], “None of This is Going to Be Really There” [poem], “And I Am Not Afraid Of The Dark” [poem], “Abdication Of The Throne Of Hell” [poem]

14. Heliczer, Piero. SUNDAYS CHILD
First edition:
(New York): (The Rare Book Room), (1987)
Side-stapled in printed wrappers, 8.5″x 11″, 17 pages, 10 copies, xerox printed.

According to BeatBooks catalog #86, a promotional flyer produced by The Rare Book Room and mailed by Heliczer to Bill Levy in late January 1988, states that the booklet was published in an edition of “Less than 10 copies”, and describes it as “An autobiographical sketch of some 17 pages by a former child star of Italy (‘Il Piccolo Pucci’), one of the earliest underground film-makers here (he also acted in Jack Smith’s notorious ‘Flaming Creatures’, some of Warhol’s earliest films), compulsive talker, womanizer – and, despite some occasionally wandering neurons – a fine poet. Mint. Signed by the author. 15.00”.

Forming only the first part of an unfinished life story, the narrative ends with the young Piero still in Italy at the end of World War II, prior to his emigration to America. Heliczer is referred to in the third person throughout, and it seems plausible that the text may have been based on conversations with the owner of The Rare Book Room, Richard Rogers. The Rare Book Room was a small bookstore on Greenwich Avenue in New York owned by Roger and Irvyne Richards. Roger was a friend to most of the Beat writers, notably Gregory Corso, as well as a regular at Warhol’s Factory.

15. Heliczer, Piero. LEADBELLY *
First edition:
n.p.: n.p., (c. 1988)

Contents: “Leadbelly” [play]

16. Heliczer, Piero. THE PERFECT DETECTIVE *
First edition:
Amsterdam: Soyo Productions, 1989
Saddle-stapled in printed wrappers, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 40 pages.

Contents: “Border Boredom” [prose], “America” [prose], “The Perfect Detective” [prose]

17. Heliczer, Piero. AND I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK
ph_afraidFirst edition:
Bayonne, N.J. : Beehive Press, 1991
Comb-bound in printed cover, 5.75″ x 8.5″, 7 leaves printed recto only. Includes a flyer for Heliczer’s reading at Saint Marks bound in with a brief biography.

Contents: “And I Am Not Afraid of The Dark” [poem]

First edition:
New York: Granary Books, 2001
Perfect-bound in printed and illustrated wrappers, 150 pages. Edited by Gerard Malanga and Anselm Hollo, with a foreword by Hollo and a 19-page biographical interview with Heliczer’s half-sister, Marisabena Russo, conducted by Malanga.

[link to Granary Books, Reviews & Press, for this title.]

[*not in archive]