Our shops are open and we are processing online, telephone and email orders as normal


Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie.

New York: Random House, 1971 Stock Code: 147853
Reserve Ask us a question

First edition, first printing, of the author's first book of poetry, warmly inscribed on the front free endpaper: "For Richard Gildenmeister, Dick, Brother, you are a boon, a boon for me, for us, (for the species) Please write! and write on! Your sister (How-be-it-now) Maya". Richard Gildenmeister is a former bookseller based in Cleveland, Ohio, where he promoted and befriended many promising local authors over a 50 year career. As well as holding fundraisers for the local Women's City Club, Gildenmeister organised book signing events at his Cleveland store for writers such as Maya Angelou and James Baldwin.

Although perhaps better known as a prose writer, Angelou was also a prolific poet. This first book of poems, many of which were originally songs she had previously performed and recorded, was a bestseller and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1971. Inscribed copies of Maya Angelou's works are notably uncommon; Angelou would usually sign or inscribe books with just her name and the salutation "Joy!", and so inscribed copies with lengthy inscriptions are particularly unusual. This copy also includes three newspaper clippings from 1998 and 1999 loosely inserted by the previous owner.

Confused? Read our glossary


Octavo. Original red cloth-backed orange paper boards, silver titles to spine, titles to front cover blind. With dust jacket.


Slight fading to spine ends, otherwise a fine copy with clean contents, in the dust jacket with a tiny tear to top of spine, panels very slightly dust-soiled, some creases affecting front flap.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book