13. THE MAHARAJAH’S SON. Lenox, MA and New York, NY: Angel Hair Books, 1977. 7x10" 112 pages. (A)
Offset, perfect-bound paperback. Black-and-white cover by Rosemary Mayer. Printed at the West Coast Print Center for Angel Hair Books in an edition of 1,000 copies.
“I assembled this book of letters in Stinson Beach, 1971–’72. I wanted to write something autobiographical about the years 1960–’65, but couldn’t do it. Then I remembered that I’d saved all the letters from the people I knew during that time. They were in the back of a closet in my parents’ apartment. My mother sent them to me and I saw the book immediately. I simply organized the letters into years, 1960–’65, and transcribed them. I had an electric typewriter and I’m a fast typist. There was very little editing. I think I omitted some things, but I never rewrote anything. The characters in 1960—Allegra David and Richard Neugebauer—reappear throughout the book. It’s a love story, among other things, and the beginning of my life as a poet. The title comes from a line from a letter that Allegra wrote me from London in 1965: ‘When I first came here I was going out with an Indian Maharajah’s son but despite his millions and his gorgeous Ferrari I couldn’t maintain an interest.’ Bernadette Mayer and I published this book when we were living in Lenox, Massachusetts. Rosemary Mayer did the cover, incorporating a photo of Allegra (age 15). Alice Notley once wrote a note for the book in which she described it as ‘an epistolary novel,’ and I like to think of it that way, though every word is true.” (LW)