“Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently,” Jean Cocteau once said. When examining the handwritten poems of famous authors — those made popular by their texts and several famous for other art forms — there is an unparalleled intimacy that typed words cannot convey. Many of these poems were born from spontaneous bursts of creativity or late-night meditations, unsparing and instinctive in thought. Words are ostensibly silent, but these handwritten poems speak volumes about their creators. See what poets put pen to paper and revealed their inner worlds.
Mary Shelley, “Absence”
“Ah! he is gone — and I alone;
How dark and dreary seems the time!
‘Tis Thus, when the glad sun is flown,
Night rushes o’er the Indian clime.”
The Frankenstein author wrote this heartbreaking poetic tribute to her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, which was published eight years after his death in 1822. Women were prohibited from attend funerals in pre-Victorian England due to health concerns, so she never had a chance to bid him a final farewell. It was probably for the best since the drowned writer was cremated on the beach to comply with quarantine laws.