New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1916.
About the item
First edition. 66 pp. 12mo. Decorated gray boards. Fine in original glassine. See Smith, William Jay. The Spectra Hoax (Middletown, CT, 1961).
A fine copy of this volume of verse which represents one of the more well-known literary hoaxes from the beginning of the twentieth century. Having published three books of verse to some success, Witter Bynner (who had helped to publish Pound's first book of poems) "contrived a literary hoax to spoof such poetic trends as Imagism and Vorticism. Together with his friend Arthur Davison Ficke, Bynner fabricated the 'Spectric' school of poetry. Adopting the pseudonyms Emanuel Morgan and Anne Knish, Bynner and Ficke published parodic poems that some took quite seriously, although others recognized the burlesque inent behind such lines as 'Then you came––like a scream/Of beeves.' Formally, Bynner's Spectra poems resemble his prior work, but they distingish themselves in their tone and range of subjects..." (Encyclopedia of American Poetry). The volume generated a good deal of praise in the literary world until the hoax was revealed two years later while Bynner was delivering a lecture and was asked point blank whether or not he was Morgan and Ficke was Knish, which he confirmed.