BARKER, GEORGE (1913-1991)
AUTOGRAPH REVISED MANUSCRIPT OF THE PENULTIMATE DRAFT OF HIS CELEBRATED POEM 'AT THE WAKE OF DYLAN THOMAS', 78 lines, with autograph revisions leading to the final version, preserving many reconsidered readings, and with circles round rhymes and half rhymes, in pencil, 6 pages, folio, with text on verso identified and a typed note by Barker that they are the opening pages of his father's autobiography [c. 1963]
'I cannot like, even for such a purpose
as to honour this death by act of passion
the word that wore the ring of his massed breath.
I will not, where she clasps that curly nothing
Darkly in tears apart and the Dragon mourning
vex his cold nurse with a fragmentation of heart...'
This poem was George Barker's contribution to A Garland for Dylan Thomas, 1963. His reading of it is electrifying. It is also printed in Collected Poems, 1987.
T.S. Eliot considered George Barker to be a genius and Yeats compared his rhythmic invention to that of Gerard Manley Hopkins. The main collection of George Barker's literary manuscripts is in Austin, Texas. The only autograph manuscript sold at auction was a notebook in 1980.