Brandeis Library & Technology Services

Primer of Birds Collection of Poems & Illustrations Now Available at Brandeis Library

October 5th, 2017 · No Comments

The Brandeis University Library recently acquired a copy of Primer of Birds, a collection of 30 poems by the British poet Ted Hughes with woodcut illustrations by the American artist Leonard Baskin.

This first edition, signed by both Hughes and Baskin, is one of 25 copies that contains an additional suite of five black-and-white woodcuts and one hand-colored woodcut, which are printed on Japanese paper and signed and numbered by the artist. Primer of Birds was printed at Baskin’s Gehenna Press—one of the premier 20th century presses—in 1981 and is one of three works Hughes and Baskin made for the press.

Primer of Birds was acquired through the generous support of the Ann and Abe Effron Fund and will be housed in the University Archives & Special Collections among the collection of Gehenna Press books and ephemera.

For more information about this existing collection, please see the Special Collections Spotlight on Leonard Baskin and the Gehenna Press.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting new addition, please contact Chloe Morse-Harding, Reference Archivist, ( or Anne Woodrum, Special Collections Librarian (

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