Title: Bestride the Narrow World.
Publisher: Rampart Press January 1963, Phoenix, AZ
Publication Date: 1963
Edition: 1st Edition
Broadside. 4to (9" X 12½"). Titled in red. Edition limited to 200 copies. Fine. First separate printing. Presumably inspired by the Ap Bac hamlet encounter in Vietnam, in which the Vietcong for the first time took on the American military and the South Vietnamese Army, Beecher ruminates upon war. A fine critique in true Beecher form, reading in part: "Proud / as pterodactyls in their prime are we, / mighty as mammoths." His title comes from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" : "He doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus, and we petty men walk under his luge legs, and peep about." One of the great American protest and radical poets, Beecher left his steel mill background to teach English and sociology at various universities; he worked various positions under the New Deal; his first published poem, "And I Will Be Heard" (1940), placed him on the literary map, and the book-length narrative poem "Here I Stand" came the following year; during World War Two he sailed aboard the first racially integrated ship, the S.S. Booker T. Washington, and wrote about those experiences in "All Brave Sailors"; blacklisted from teaching by refusing to sign a state loyalty oath in California in 1950, he became a rancher and farmer in Sonoma County; there he continued writing, founding the award-winning Morning Star Press in 1956 to publish his poetry and other socially-oriented pieces, becoming a gifted and accomplished practitioner in the process; this press then operated from San Francisco, Berkeley, and Jerome, Arizona; renamed it relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona and other locales; "Report to the Stockholders & Other Poems" appeared in 1962 to critical acclaim and "To Live and Die in Dixie" in 1966; these later years were filled with guest teaching positions from Massachusetts to California, and Beecher was in great demand as a lecturer and poetry reader nationwide; descended from famed Abolitionists Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lyman Beecher, much of John Beecher's poetry concerns itself with race relations, labor reform and other social injustices. Bookseller Inventory # 27649
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