The way we view our nation-its history, its traditions, even our distinctly American voice-is largely determined by our literature. In this rewarding and thought-provoking book are gathered poems that have been essential components of our common American culture, from the earliest days of our nation through canonic works of the nineteenth century and up to the present day. 100 Essential American Poems includes fondly remembered works by such familiar figures as Longfellow, Poe, and Whitman, and popular classics like “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and “Casey at the Bat,” but it also features passionate outcries from poets like Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes that highlight our ongoing national racial tensions, and poems by such women as Anne Bradstreet, Emily Dickinson, and Edna St. Vincent Millay that supply a distinctly female perspective on American life. Also included are the lyrics of such expressions of the American spirit as “Yankee Doodle,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “This Land Is Your Land,” in addition to a few surprises! The immortal poems and songs included here, each preceded by an illuminating headnote, will remind every reader of the richness and variety of the poetry of America and its people.
In this poetry collection, Pockell (100 Poems to Lift Your Spirits), associate publisher at Time Warner Books Group, focuses on poems that have fueled the American identity. Covering 400 years, the poems range from classic, to familiar (and for nostalgics, poems most likely memorized and recited), to those that touch upon the seminal events in America's history. The collection aims to present an evolving American "voice" while following the country's growth in human rights, feminism and diversity. A short author bio prefaces each selection, beginning with the 17th century's Anne Bradstreet, who celebrates being female in a harsh environment. Well known names like Herman Melville, Emily Dickenson, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath are represented by their seminal works, and the beauty of this collection is the coming together of the best loved poems of the best loved American poets. A work that serves as reference, comfort, and a reminder poetry's significance in the everyday experience of American life, this is a volume worthy of any shelf.
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