LOWELL, ROBERT (1917-1977, American Poet)
Lot 294
LOWELL, ROBERT (1917-1977, American Poet) TWO TYPESCRIPT DRAFTS WITH AUTOGRAPH REVISIONS WITH SOME RELATIONSHIP TO HIS POEM 'DEPARTURE'
Sold for £3,500 (US$ 5,484) inc. premium

Lot Details
LOWELL, ROBERT (1917-1977, American Poet)
TWO TYPESCRIPT DRAFTS WITH AUTOGRAPH REVISIONS WITH SOME RELATIONSHIP TO HIS POEM 'DEPARTURE', the drafts herein entitled 'Waiting out the Storm' and 'Waiting for the Storm', the first, with the subtitle '(From 1917 to '77)', 28 typed lines with some 40 autograph revisions, insertions and rewritings preserving reconsidered readings, with an autograph draft of some 30 lines of speeches by the Furies after their awakening on the verso; the second, 26 lines in typescript with some 60 autograph words added below and revisions and corrections, and with 22 autograph lines from his verse translation of The Eumenides of Aeschylus with some deletions and revisions written on the verso; 4 pages in all, folio, no date

The first begins:
Why say it's winter merely because it is?
Now you are gone,
only overstatement can approximate the truth:
sequence and life have died,
if trees stand up, they are guillotined...

The second begins:
It's heaven here...momentarily,
but what am I waiting for?
The storm can only stop
to get breath to begin again --
always in suspense to hit
if we leave shelter...

After the second to fourth lines, the first draft differs almost entirely from the printed version of the poem. The second draft shares only the somewhat different lines 'My books are my row of hollow suits. / "Who lives in them?" / I ask acidly, / and bring them down / flapping their paper wrappers...' (Manuscript text); 'Your books are rows of hollow suits; "Who lives in them?" / we ask acidly, / and bring them down / flapping their paper wrappers...' (Printed text).

With the printed version there are thus three almost entirely different poems. THE PRESENT POEMS ARE VIRTUALLY UNPUBLISHED. 'Departure' was printed in Day by Day, 1977.

REFERENCE: Robert Lowell: Collected Poems, 2003.
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