Rare Poetry Books & First-Edition Poetry Books for Sale Online
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"unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!": Rare Mimeographed Sheets of The Howl Produced for its First Reading. Preceding the First Edition and signed by Ginsberg and five others present at the Six Gallery in October of 1955
Two sheets from an exceptionally rare privately produced mimeographed printing of Howl, preceding the first edition. One of 25 copies printed on rectos only in purple ink typed by the poet Robert Creeley and printed by Marthe Rexroth at S.F State, where she was a secretary, for the famous Six Gallery reading (also known as Six Angels in the Same Performance). This event, which took place at 3110 Fillmore Street in San Francisco on October 7, 1955 was the first important public poetry exhibition heralding the West Coast literary revolution of the Beat Generation. At the reading, five talented young poets—Allen…
Price: $35,000.00 Item Number: 40140
The Constable Edition of The Works of Shakespeare; one of only 1,000 copies bound by BaynTun in cosway-style binding and elaborately illustrated with original watercolors
Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable; Grant Richards, 1903-1904.
The Constable edition of the works of Shakespeare. Folio, ten volumes. Elaborately bound in full blue morocco by Bayntun Riviere in Cosway-style binding with hand painted portrait medallions under glass to the front panel of each volume, gilt titles to the spine, gilt tooling to the spine and front panel, fleuron cornerpiece designs within gilt frames, raised gilt bands, inner dentelles, top edge gilt, silk endleaves, ribbon bound in. Illustrated with 479 tissue-guarded plates and 531 original illustrations, 525 of which are original watercolors. One of only 1,000 copies, this is number 149. Volume X is signed by Grant Richards,…
Price: $35,000.00 Item Number: 95176
Paris: Mercure de France, 1913.
First edition of Apollinaire's first collection of poems, signed by him and Pablo Picasso. Octavo, bound in three quarter morocco with gilt titles and raised bands to the spine, patterned endpapers, frontispiece portrait of the poet by Pablo Picasso. Association copy, inscribed by both Apollinaire and Pablo Picasso on front free endpaper, "A A P.N. Roinard son admirateur Guillaume Apollinaire" and "et pour Robert Valançay Picasso Paris Janvier 1940 et I." Apollinaire has also made five corrections to the text in ink on pages 71, 77, 92, 110 and 189. The recipient of Apollinaire's inscription, Paul-Napoléon Roinard, was a French…
Price: $35,000.00 Item Number: 128083
"I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, And in short, I was afraid": Rare First Edition of T.S. Eliot's Prufrock and Other Observations; One of only 500 Examples
London: The Egoist Ltd, 1917.
First edition of one of the most recognized voices in modern literature of the Nobel Prize-winning author's first book, one of only 500 examples. Octavo, original wrappers. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. Rare and desirable.
Price: $28,500.00 Item Number: 133599
Rare First Edition of Leonard Cohen's First Book, One of 400 copies Let Us Compare Mythologies; Inscribed by Him in the year of publication
Montreal: McGill Poetry Series by Contact Press, 1956.
First edition of Cohen's first book, which explores philosophy, sexuality, death, a world of violent contrasts that would define his future literary and musical careers. Octavo, original cloth. With five full-page line illustrations by Freda Guttman. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper in the year of publication, "To Gery Levy, With best wishes Leonard Cohen May 1956." Near fine in a very good dust jacket with some expert restoration to the spine. An excellent example of this rare first book, which reportedly, fewer than 400 copies of the first edition were printed (Nadel, 45). Housed…
Price: $28,000.00 Item Number: 128744
"Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor": First appearance in print of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven; In the Rare Original Wrappers
The Raven. [In The American Review: A Whig Journal of Politics, Literature, Art and Science. No. II February, 1845.
New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845.
First appearance in print of The Raven, one of the most famous and recognizable poems ever written, which Poe considered his finest poem, calling it “the greatest poem that was ever written.” Octavo, original wrappers. In keeping with the policy of The American Review which required that poems be published anonymously or with a pseudonym, the poem, which appears on page 143 is credited to 'Quarles.' In very good condition. Rare in the original wrappers.
Price: $25,000.00 Item Number: 136274
"The passion spreads in wide tongues, choked and slow, meeting the gulf, hosanna silently below": First edition of Hart Crane's landmark modernist epic the bridge; inscribed by him to close friend Bob Thompson
New York: Horace Liveright, 1930.
First American edition of Crane's landmark modernist epic. Octavo, original blue cloth with gilt titles to the spine and front panel, illustrated with three photographs by Walter Evans. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper one month after publication, "For Bob Thompson, from his friend always- Hart Crane, Brooklyn, April 30." The recipient, Robert Thompson, was a close friend of Crane's. During the early part of 1930, Thompson and Crane spent what John Unterecker described as "wild evenings" in New York. Thompson was "a good drinking companion whom Hart in the summer would recommend to Caresse…
Price: $22,500.00 Item Number: 123618
“I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd": First Edition of The Howl and Other Poems; Inscribed by Allen Ginsberg to fellow poet José García Villa
San Francisco: City Lights, 1959.
First edition of this principal work of the Beat Generation. Small octavo, original wrappers as issued. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the title page to fellow poet, writer and artist José García Villa, "416 E 34 St Paterson Allen Ginsberg to Jose G Villa after years." The recipient José García Villa was born in Manila in 1908, before moving to New Mexico to pursue his studies, and ultimately to Greenwich Village in New York City. There, he joined a community of modernist poets, including e.e. cummings, Marianne Moore, W.H. Auden, among others, and was affectionately known as "The…
Price: $22,500.00 Item Number: 128745
“It’s a Snark! was the sound that first came to their ears, And seemed almost too good to be true": Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark; in the scarce original dust jacket, of which only a few are known to exist
London: Macmillan and Co., 1876.
First edition of Carroll's whimsical nonsense poem. Octavo, original publisher's decorated cloth, all edges gilt, with nine illustrations by Henry Holiday. Near fine in the scarce original dust jacket. The jacket is complete with the top third of the front panel bent behind, hence the different shade of color. Copies of the first edition of Hunting of the Snark in the dust jacket of the utmost scarcity, with no more than a handful of copies known.
Price: $22,500.00 Item Number: 130492
"I hope that this book ain't so silly and that it will always remain in the cas[s]a": First Edition of Where the Sidewalk Ends, Signed by Shel Silverstein; Inscribed to the Children of His Editor
New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1974.
First edition of the author's first collection of children's poetry. Stated first edition on the copyright page. Small quarto, original brown cloth, illustrated. Association copy, inscribed by Shel Silverstein with an original poem on the front free endpapers to the children of his editor and publicist William Cole, "For Alex and Rossa and Billy, I hope that this book ain't so silly and that it will always remain in the cas[s]a (The superfluous 's' has been scribbled out with footnote "Bill Cole's Incessant Editorial Meddling") of Billy and Alex Rossa (Not a bad rhyme for three such difficult names and…
Price: $20,000.00 Item Number: 91344
"When you come to observe faithfully the changes of each humblest plant, you find that each has sooner or later its peculiar autumnal tint, or tints": The Manuscript Edition of The Writings of Henry David Thoreau; In the Original Binding
Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1906.
The manuscript edition of the writings of Henry David Thoreau. With the original manuscript sheet by Thoreau from his journal tipped-in to volume 1. The two page manuscript fragment comprises 58 lines from "Autumnal Tints," in altered form, published in the Atlantic Monthly, October 1862, and collected in Excursions the following year. The fragment concludes with the line containing the title phrase: "When you come to observe faithfully the changes of each humblest plant, you find that each has sooner or later its peculiar autumnal tint, or tints [...]." Octavo, 20 volumes. Bound in the publisher's three-quarter green morocco over…
Price: $18,500.00 Item Number: 97590
"To the few who love me and whom I love – to those who seek rather than to those who think – to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities – I offer this book of truths" : Rare first edition of Edgar Allan Poe's Magnum Opus, Eureka, One of only 500 copies
New York: George P. Putnam, 1848.
First edition, first issue of Poe's classic work. Duodecimo, original publishers blind stamped black cloth with gilt lettering to the spine. First issue, without the review for Eureka on page 2 of the 16 page catalogue at the end of the book, but reads simply: “Poe. — Eureka, A Prose Poem: Or the Physical and Metaphysical Universe. By Edgar A. Poe, Esq.” In very good condition, with some light rubbing to the extremities, contemporary inscription to the front free endpaper. Housed in a custom cloth box. A nice, bright example of this rare and important text.
Price: $17,500.00 Item Number: 37022
"O come, then, quickly come! We are budding, we are blowing; And the wind that we perfume Sings a tune that's worth the knowing": First Edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson's poems; Inscribed by Him
Boston: James Munroe & Co, 1847.
First edition with four pages of publisher's ads dated January 1, 1847 bound before the title of this collection of poems. Octavo, bound in publisher's boards covered in coated ivory-colored paper, with publisher's label on spine. Inscribed by the author in the year of publication, "Elizabeth Burgess with the best wishes of R.W.E. 1 Jan. 1847." In very good condition with some wear to the binding. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare and desirable signed and inscribed by Emerson in the year of publication.
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 70005
Fare First Edition of Dylan Thomas' First Book Eighteen Poems; Lengthily Inscribed by Him to literary editor and close friend Desmond Hawkins
London: Sunday Referee and the Parton Press, 1936.
First edition, first issue of Thomas' first book, one of 250 copies. Octavo, original cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author to Desmond Hawkins, who was Dylan's literary editor and close friend, with a playful (and perhaps drunken) inscription which attempts to conflate their names, maybe in an effort to create a new single persona out of the two of them: "To and from Hawkins Dylan Desmond Thomas Dylan Desmond Dylan Desmond Hawkins Thomas Dylan Desmond." He has also included a more conventional inscription, signed "Dylan Thomas 24th May 1936." Near fine in a very good dust jacket with some…
Price: $15,000.00 Item Number: 111544
“Do anything, but let it produce joy": RARE SECOND EDITION OF WALT WHITMAN’S LEAVES OF GRASS; ONE OF ONE THOUSAND COPIES
Brooklyn, New York: Fowler and Wells, 1856.
Rare second edition, one of a 1000 copies of the most important volume in American poetry, with an additional twenty poems not found in the first edition as well as a new section of correspondence and reviews entitled “Leaves-droppings” that begins with the famous letter from Emerson containing the salutation “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” Small octavo, original green cloth. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Walt Whitman. Bookplate of Barrett Wendell to the inside panel. Barrett was an American academic and a trustee of the Boston Athenaeum, a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and a…
Price: $14,000.00 Item Number: 50052
"Who Is Content Only With The Right Word": First Edition of Death of a Naturalist; Inscribed by Seamus Heaney to his Aunt
London: Faber and Faber, 1966.
First edition of Heaney's first major published volume. Octavo, original green cloth with titles to the spine in gilt. Association copy, inscribed by the author to his aunt in a contemporary hand, "For Aunt Annie: who is content only with the right word. Love, Seamus." Additionally signed by Heaney in full on the title page. Fine in very good dust jacket with sunning to the pink portion of the spine and some overall wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Association copies of this caliber seldom enter the market.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 3529
Buenos Aires: Sur, 1928.
First edition of Garcia Lorca’s classic work. Octavo, bound in three quarters calf over marbled boards. Signed on the title page by Federico Garcia Lorca, who has drawn a face next to his signature. Books signed by Garcia Lorca are exceedingly rare, as he was killed in 1936. In very good condition with a contemporary bookplate of Fernando Ortiz to the pastedown with light rubbing. Ortiz was a Cuban essayist, anthropologist, ethnomusicologist and scholar of Afro-Cuban culture. A very nice example, rare and desirable signed with desirable provenance.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 53005
“Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light": Signed Limited First Edition of Dylan Thomas' In Country Sleep
New York: New Directions, 1952.
Signed limited edition, one of 100 copies of this collection of poems, including the first book appearance of "Do not go gentle into that good night," published the year before his death, Octavo, original cloth. Signed by Dylan Thomas. Fine in a fine slipcase. An exceptional example.
Price: $12,500.00 Item Number: 109248
New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1940.
First edition of Lorca’s masterpiece. Octavo, original cloth. Signed by fellow poet Leonard Cohen on the front free endpaper. Cohen was deeply influenced by the work of Lorca for the duration of his poetic and musical career. "Now, you know of my deep association and confraternity with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. I could say that when I was a young man, an adolescent, and I hungered for a voice, I studied the English poets and I knew their work well, and I copied their styles, but I could not find a voice. It was only when I read, even…
Price: $9,800.00 Item Number: 110825
Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1903.
Autograph Centenary edition with a double sided manuscript in Emerson’s hand bound into volume one. Octavo, 12 volumes, bound in three quarters morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers. Numerous mounted photogravure illustrations. One of 600 copies. Emerson discovered Pascal in college and was a lifelong admirer of Pascal's wisdom. At 23, he wrote, “It is the leading idea of Pascal’s Religious Meditations to contrast what is grand & pitiful in human nature.” In 1859 he remarked, “Now & then, rarely comes a stout man like Luther, Montaigne, Pascal, Herbert, who utters a thought or feeling…
Price: $9,800.00 Item Number: 13890
"The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued": First edition, first printing of ROBERT FROST'S MOUNTAIN INTERVAL; Signed by Him with an 8 line poem
New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1921.
First edition, first printing of Frost's first poetry collection published originally in America. Octavo, original cloth with gilt titles to the spine and front panel. First state, with the sixth and seventh lines on page 88 both reading, “You’re further under in the snow—that’s all—,” and the twelfth line on page 93 reading, “When I told her ‘Come” (Crane A4). Signed by the author with a 8 line poem from Dust of Snow, "The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some…
Price: $9,500.00 Item Number: 135499
"Perhaps the greatest French illustrated book of the first half of the eighteenth century": Rare first edition, first issue of Oeuvres de Moliere
Paris: [Pierre Prault], 1734.
First edition, first issue of one of the greatest French illustrated books of the first half of the eighteenth century. First issue with "Comteese" in vol. VI, p. 360, line 12. Quarto, six volumes bound in full calf with gilt titles and ruling to the spine in six compartments within raised bands, morocco spine labels lettered in gilt. Illustrated with 33 engraved plates by Laurent Cars after François Boucher, engraved frontispiece portrait of Molière by Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié after Charles-Antoine Coypel, 210 engraved head and tailpieces, and 104 engraved initials by Joullain and Cars after Boucher, Blondel and Oppenord. In near…
Price: $9,500.00 Item Number: 130224
First edition of Walt Whitman's Two Rivulets: Including Democratic Vistas, Centennial Songs, and Passage to India; one of only 100 copies signed and dated by Walt Whitman and with an autograph note signed by him tipped in
Camden, New Jersey: Author's Edition, 1876.
Scarce first edition, first issue with the blank leaf between 'As a Strong Bird' and 'Memoranda' and single leaf of advertisements for Whitman’s books inserted between the back flyleaves. One of only 100 copies. Octavo, bound in full morocco with gilt titles and elaborate gilt tooling to the spine in six compartments within raised gilt bands, triple gilt ruling to the panels, gilt turn-ins and inner dentetlles, gilt top stain, marbled endpapers. With the frontispiece sepia photograph of Whitman signed and dated by him, "Walt Whitman 1881." From the library of Richard Hoe Lawrence with an autograph note by Whitman…
Price: $9,200.00 Item Number: 114654
"And the voice of his devotion filled my soul with strange emotion; for its tones by turns were glad, sweetly solemn, wildly-sad": First Edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poems on Slavery; inscribed by him
Cambridge: John Owen, 1842.
First edition of Longfellow's collection of poems published in support of the United States anti-slavery efforts. Small octavo, bound in full pebbled morocco by Bradstreet's with gilt titles and raised bands to the spine, inner dentelles. Presentation copy, inscribed by Longfellow on the half-title page, "Rev. R. C. Waterston from the Author.” The recipient, Reverend Robert Cassie Waterston, was a noted Unitarian clergyman of Boston, the majority of his library is now housed in the Massachusetts Historical Society. In near fine condition. Bookplate. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
Price: $9,200.00 Item Number: 101568