Kathmandu: Bardo Matrix, 1976. 1st Edition. Small quarto, publisher's side-stitched, block printed, handmade rice paper self-wraps.
Signed first edition (number 475 of 500 copies) of American expatriate writer and composer Bowles's long poem, written following the death of his wife, the writer Jane Bowles, after a long illness: "When we found out, it was much too late. / Now nothing can happen save as it has to happen. / And then I was alone, and it did not matter. / Only because by that time nothing could matter." Published in Kathmandu, Nepal by Beat renaissance man Ira Cohen, who describes the circumstances of the book's publication in detail: "In 1976 Paul Bowles sent me his poem, 'Next to Nothing,' written specially for Bardo Matrix. Although I knew that Paul expressed a preference for an unadorned presentation of the text with little or no graphics, I ended up using six different design elements by six different artists. Beginning with a verifax collage on the cover by Maya who assembled a glove, razor blade, hairpin, emblematic patches including an eagle, several stars and a butterfly rising on the horizon and ending with a Kufic design supplied by Paul on the back cover, there was also a skull colophon drawn by Lee Baarslag from a human skull I had found in Kathmandu, a collage by Dana Young tipped in as a photographic print, an elegant geometric design by Sydney Hushour, who was visiting from San Francisco and Petra Vogt's rapidograph drawing, 'Bone Ship Passing.'" Issued as title number 5 in the publisher's Starstreams Poetry Series. Signed by Bowles on the title-page (not called for in the limitation). Slight paper imperfection to rear wrap, else fine. Item #1170