KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — A 32-page handwritten poem book with an estimated value over $50,000 will hit the auction block on Saturday, according to Boston-based RR Auctions.
The poem book belonged to infamous criminal, Bonnie Clyde, who, along with Clyde Barrow and the Barrow Gang, went on a vicious armed robbery and murder spree in the 1930s.
Entitled "Poetry from Life's Other Side," the poem book features a mix of Parker's original creative compositions and renderings of popular folk ballads written by Parker while she was being held in the Kaufman County Jail in 1932 for a botched armed robbery at a Kaufman, Texas, hardware store. This would be the only time Parker was arrested and jailed — she was released about two months later after a jury failed to indict her.
"With little to do other than pine for Clyde and chat with her jailer, it is no surprise that Bonnie's fertile imagination turned to poetry: of the ten poems in this book, five appear to be original compositions, largely drawn from her adventurous life on the road with the Barrow Gang," reads the auction listing.
The poem book is from the collection of one of the world's most distinguished collectors, the late David Gainsborough-Roberts, who died in 2017.
Absentee bidding for the poem book is open until Friday, September 20, 2019, at 12 p.m. ET. Live bidding begins Saturday, September 21, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. ET. The opening bid is listed at $5,000. For more information on the poem book and auction details, visit RR Auctions, here.
The contents, according to RR Auction, are as follows:
1. "The Story of 'Suicide Sal,'" six pages, 104 lines: a less polished version than the one published and popularized by her mother in 1934, with several words and lines reworked, and one entire stanza deleted from the later work.
2. "The Prostitute's Convention," four pages, 58 lines: a narrative poem featuring prostitutes with colorful names like "West End Rose," "Lonesome Lou," and "Subway Sue" gather for a party before being dispersed by the cops.
3. "The Fate of Tiger Rose," four pages, 57 lines: a narrative poem about a "woman of shame, who played a hard game" as the moll of "Two Timer McCall." The shoot-out scene foreshadows Parker's famous autobiographical poem, 'The Trail's End,' using similar language (here: "McCall let go and 'Pat' sags low, / as the 'sub' went 'rat-tat-tat'"; in 'The Trail's End': 'they're invited to fight / by a sub-gun's rat-tat-tat').
4. "I'll Stay," two pages, 24 lines: an ode to devotion, "Just like the stars in heaven / fling around the moon at nite / I'll stay with you forever / whether you are wrong or right."
5. Untitled, two pages, 32 lines: a traditional poem on faith and renewal, "The flowers must be buried in darkness, / before they can bud and bloom, / The sweetest & warmest sunshine, / comes after the storm & gloom."
6. "Bravery," one page, 20 lines: a sorrowful poem for a lover, "No one must know how I tremble, / When I hear a siren moan, / Just fearing for you darling, / And hoping you're safe at home."
7. "The Hobo's Last Ride," three pages, 56 lines: a traditional narrative poem, "While 10 cars back, in an empty box, / a lonely 'hobo' sighed, / for the days of old with his 'faithful pal' / who was taking his last, long ride."
8. "The Girl with the Blue Velvet Band," five pages, 84 lines: a traditional narrative poem describing a descent from a life of opulence to one of opiates.
9. "When!!," one page, 16 lines: a humorous doggerel about a husband abandoning his wife.
10. "People Will Talk," one page, 51 lines: a traditional humorous poem, "You're a 'wolf in sheep's clothing,' / Or else you're a 'fool,' / But don't get excited, / Keep perfectly cool, / 'For people will talk.'"