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Poetry Books

Spoken on the street, put to music, or preserved in documents and books, poetry is not new to the history of man. In fact, despite its elusive nature, which is often considered subjective and open to interpretation, poetry has had as much of an inflammatory impact on the history of the world as other forms of literature and protest. This written reflection of history and the dialogue poetry has with it makes poems precious to scholars and collectors.

Since language stems from oral traditions of storytelling and song, it is difficult to pinpoint when poetry began. Some of the earliest known poetry was performed by the Greeks as part of drama in the 7th to 4th centuries B.C. The Shi Jing "Classic of Poetry" was the first major collection of Chinese poems, which combined odes and poetry derived from folk songs. Arabic poetry may be some of the most soulful from history, even when translated from its original meter, and combined imagery of eroticism, journeys, and reverence to a ruler. Following the onset of the Islamic period, this hedonistic imagery was disguised as devotion to God. It has been much debated whether the Quran is an example of Arabic poetry. The same may be said of the Christian Bible, where passages from "The Song of Solomon" and "Job" have been studied as poetic language.

Provencal poetry, under the oppression of the Middle Ages, began as a group of troubadours putting poetry to music until squelched by the Inquisition. Later poetry movements still influence the study of literature today, including famous works from the Shakespearean poets, Metaphysical poets, Romantics, Transcendentalists, Harlem Renaissance poets, and Beat poets. The controversy sparked over the years of the romantic and spiritual language of poetry often fascinates scholars. Poetry and its followers have been banished, banned, and burned for intangible crimes of language.


Quick Facts

  • In 380 A.D., the bishop of Constantinople ordered the work of the Greek poet Sappho burned, while in 1073, Pope Gregory VII ordered her work to be publicly burned. Other banned classics include Walt Whitman’s "Leaves of Grass," Shel Silverstein’s children’s book "A Light in the Attic," and Geoffrey Chaucer’s "Canterbury Tales"
  • "I’ve Been Wandering in the Greenwoods," a rare poem written by Charlotte Bronte at the age of 13, sold for more than $131,685 at an auction by Bonhams in 2013
  • A tattered first edition of Edgar Allen Poe’s first book "Tamerlane and Other Poems" sold at auction for $662,500 at Christie’s in 2009

Recommended Items at Auction

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BRET HARTE - Poems. Boston, 1871 - the copy of the writer Charles Kingsley
Dec 05, 7:00 PM IST
BRET HARTE - Poems. Boston, 1871 - the copy of the writer Charles Kingsley
by Dynasty
Est: $0- $0
$2803 Bids
(ACHTERBERG) GERRIT ACHTERBERG - SINTELS. BAYARD PERS, (1944). IN-8°. 28 GEN.PP.
Dec 08, 2:00 PM CET
(ACHTERBERG) GERRIT ACHTERBERG - SINTELS. BAYARD PERS, (1944). IN-8°. 28 GEN.PP.
by Bernaerts Auctioneers
Est: €300- €400
€1801 Bid
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PUB. 1864, "POEMS, CHIEFLY IN THE SCOTTISH DIALECT" BY ROBERT BURNS. HARDCOVER BOOK.
Dec 04, 2:00 PM EST
PUB. 1864, "POEMS, CHIEFLY IN THE SCOTTISH DIALECT" BY ROBERT BURNS. HARDCOVER BOOK.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$101 Bid
The Prisoner Of Chillon : [poem / by Lord Byron ; illuminated by W. & G. Au
Dec 14, 10:00 AM GMT
The Prisoner Of Chillon : [poem / by Lord Byron ; illuminated by W. & G. Au
by Purcell Auctioneers
Est: €60- €80
€501 Bid
LE CIEL BLEU. HEBDOMADAIRE LITTÉRAIRE POUR TOUS.
Dec 09, 1:00 PM CET
LE CIEL BLEU. HEBDOMADAIRE LITTÉRAIRE POUR TOUS.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €100- €150
€501 Bid
Algernon Charles Swinburne, Anactoria and Other Lyrical Poems, 1906 Ltd Ed of 50
Dec 11, 10:00 AM PST
Algernon Charles Swinburne, Anactoria and Other Lyrical Poems, 1906 Ltd Ed of 50
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $150- $200
$1300 Bids
6 vol. set, Parnaso Lusitano, ou Poesias Selectas dos Auctores Portuguezes 1827
Dec 11, 10:00 AM PST
6 vol. set, Parnaso Lusitano, ou Poesias Selectas dos Auctores Portuguezes 1827
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $200- $250
$1500 Bids
The Pleasures of Hope with Other Poems by Thomas Campbell 1820 leather cover
Dec 11, 10:00 AM PST
The Pleasures of Hope with Other Poems by Thomas Campbell 1820 leather cover
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $150- $200
$1200 Bids
John G. Whittier, The Panorama, and Other Poems, 1856 signed
Dec 11, 10:00 AM PST
John G. Whittier, The Panorama, and Other Poems, 1856 signed
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $150- $200
$1200 Bids
Samuel Rogers, Italy, a Poem, Published London: T. Cadell and E. Moxon, 1830
Dec 11, 10:00 AM PST
Samuel Rogers, Italy, a Poem, Published London: T. Cadell and E. Moxon, 1830
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $250- $350
$2250 Bids
Deutsche Dichtung. Goethe. German poetry, edited by Stefan George Ltd Ed
Dec 11, 10:00 AM PST
Deutsche Dichtung. Goethe. German poetry, edited by Stefan George Ltd Ed
by Global Auctions Company
Est: $250- $300
$2000 Bids
4 PIECE LOT OF POETRY BOOKS
Dec 10, 12:00 PM EST
4 PIECE LOT OF POETRY BOOKS
by RB Fine Arts
Est: $300- $400
$500 Bids
Early 1900's Alligator Leather Poetry Book
Dec 17, 2:00 PM EST
Early 1900's Alligator Leather Poetry Book
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $50- $100
$400 Bids
3 ÉDITIONS ORIGINALES.
Dec 09, 1:00 PM CET
3 ÉDITIONS ORIGINALES.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €100- €150
€500 Bids
RECUEIL DE 4 POÈMES.
Dec 10, 1:00 PM CET
RECUEIL DE 4 POÈMES.
by Arenberg Auctions
Est: €100- €150
€500 Bids
Evangelist Johannes.
Dec 16, 10:00 AM CET
Evangelist Johannes.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €40- €60
€400 Bids
Garnier,P.
Dec 15, 10:00 AM CET
Garnier,P.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €120- €180
€1200 Bids
Gedichte.
Dec 15, 10:00 AM CET
Gedichte.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €40- €60
€400 Bids
Fritz,W.H.
Dec 15, 10:00 AM CET
Fritz,W.H.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €60- €90
€600 Bids
Hebel,J.P.
Dec 15, 10:00 AM CET
Hebel,J.P.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €40- €60
€400 Bids
Canitz,(F.R.L.)v.
Dec 15, 10:00 AM CET
Canitz,(F.R.L.)v.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €40- €60
€400 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Poetry Books


Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers

Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers

Purcell Auctioneers

Purcell Auctioneers

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Amelia Jeffers

Amelia Jeffers