Handwritten Walt Whitman poem makes $25,000

A short, handwritten poem by the great American writer Walt Whitman (1819-1892) has sold for $25,000 at Bonhams.

The piece is believed to date to around 1890, when Whitman was in his early 70s, and was clearly thinking of the end.

Walt Whitman poem

Whitman probably wrote this poem in 1890 

The text opens with Whitman explaining his intention to write an “autumnal” poem “on the theme of that hour - on Death."

He then writes: "perhaps / a life of stout toil is over with / over the past not God himself has Power / For what has been has been and I have had my hour."

Whitman’s influence on world literature has been enormous.

His most famous work is Leaves of Grass (1855), a wildly exuberant collection of poems that celebrate sex and sensual pleasure.

Few writers were brave enough to tackle these topics in Whitman’s day.

Today he’s considered one of the most important of all American poets.

Meanwhile, a signed first edition copy of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939) realised $20,000.

This was a particularly good copy of this classic American novel.

The record remains $47,800, set in 2007 for a copy that originally belonged to Steinbeck’s sister.

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