Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Teen Wolfe: Previously Unpublished Poem for Sale

Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Teen Wolfe: Previously Unpublished Poem for Sale

Article excerpt

Ahandwritten letter from sixteen-year-old Thomas Wolfe to a friend, Tom Wallis (model for Tom Davis in Look Homeward, Angel), is currently offered by Stuart Lutz Historic Documents of Short Hills, New Jersey, for $5,000. The letter is written in verse form on a penny postcard and is based on the Robert Burns poem "John Anderson, My Jo." Addressed to "Mr. Thomas Wallis / Arden, /N.C." (which was evidently enough information for delivery in 1916), the card was mailed from Asheville, with a postmark of 11:30 p.m., Christmas Eve--typical timing for a Christmas greeting from Thomas Wolfe. Written in the upper left-hand corner on the front side of the card is a note: "This is from Tom Wolfe. / To me. / Tom Wallis." The seller provides an image of the card and a transcription, and the latter is reprinted below. (It should be noted that Wolfe's handwriting is uncharacteristically legible in this letter, and the seller made only two transcription errors--both of which have been corrected here.)

   Tom Wallis, my jo, Tom,
   We've studied Greek together,
   And many a bitter hour, Tom
   We've spent wi' one another;
   But time has wrought a change, Tom:
   You used to be my bo,
   But now we're far apart, Tom,
   Tom Wallis, my jo. … 
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