Disorderd: The missing e in the title of Robert Duncan’s book evokes the unstable orthography of Renaissance literature, a lifelong interest for the California poet. Duncan was among the coterie of writers and artists in the late 1940s and ‘50s that became known as the San Francisco Renaissance. He characterized his decision to become a poet as proof of a “serious social disorder"—a turning away from the pursuit of conclusions in favor of poems that, for both writer and reader, exist in a state of flux. The self-published Fragments of a Disorderd Devotion even questions the orderly production of books. In an evocation of a doodled-upon notebook, Duncan rendered the title in his own handwriting and made each of the fifty-two copies unique by drawing different designs on the covers.
Robert Duncan (1919–1988), Fragments of a Disorderd Devotion, San Francisco, 1952. The Carter Burden Collection of American Literature. PML 184916.