Thematic Guide to American Poetry

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 - Poetry - 309 pages
Poetry : To a New England Poet (Philip Freneau) ; Merlin (Ralph Waldo Emerson) ; Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking (Walt Whitman) ; This was a Poet--It is That (Emily Dickinson) ; Oh for a poet--for a beacon bright (Edwin Arlington Robinson) ; Petit, the Poet (Edgar Lee Masters) ; A Pact (Ezra Pound) ; Poetry (Marianne More) ; Ars Poetica (Archibald MacLeish) ; The Wind Increases (William Carlos Williams) ; A Sort of a Song (William Carlos Williams) ; For My Contemporaries (J.V. Cunningham) ; American Poetry (Louis Simpson) ; Because You Asked about the Line between Poetry and Prose (Howard Nemerov) ; The Next Poem (Dana Gioia) -- The Self : Song of Myself (Walt Whitman) ; I dwell in Possibility (Emily Dickinson) ; Desert Places (Robert Frost) ; The Heavy Bear Who Goes with Me (Delmore Schwartz) ; Theme for English B (Langston Hughes) ; April Inventory (W.D. Snodgrass) ; Skunk Hour (Robert Lowell) ; In the Waiting Room (Elizabeth Bishop) -- Skepticism and Belief : On the Religion of Nature (Philip Freneau) ; On the Uniformity and Perfection of Nature (Philip Freneau) ; On the Universality and Other Attributes of the God of Nature (Philip Freneau) ; To a Waterfowl (William Cullen Bryant) ; The Problem (Ralph Waldo Emerson) ; The Chambered Nautilus (Oliver Wendell Holmes) ; Faith is a fine invention (Emily Dickinson) ; Some keep the Sabbath going to Church (Emily Dickinson) ; I know that He exists (Emily Dickinson) ; Sunday Morning (Wallace Stevens) ; Journey of the Magi (T.S. Eliot) ; Design (Robert Frost) ; Love Calls Us to the Things of This World (Richard Wilbur) ; In a Dark Time (Theodore Roethke) ; Boom! (Howard Nemerov) ; The Hereafter (Andrew Hudgins).

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Art and Beauty
Family Relations
Freedom and Slavery
The Individual and Society
Innocence and Experience
Life and Death
Skepticism and Belief
Suffering and Joy
Thought and Perception
Time and Change
Tradition and Heritage
Truth and Appearances
Biographical Sketches

Love and Sex
Obligations and Choices
The Self
Further Reading
Title Index
Name Index
Subject Index

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Popular passages

Page 90 - I can repeat the very words you were saying, 'Three foggy mornings and one rainy day Will rot the best birch fence a man can build.' Think of it, talk like that at such a time! What had how long it takes a birch to rot To do with what was in the darkened parlor.
Page 119 - And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes - a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in...
Page 120 - Primitive Nature is the most interesting to me. I take infinite pains to know all the phenomena of the spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then, to my chagrin, I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places.
Page 190 - There is, in fact, a world of poetry indistinguishable from the world in which we live, or, I ought to say, no doubt, from the world in which we shall come to live, since what makes the poet the potent figure that he is, or was, or ought to be, is that he creates the world to which we turn incessantly and without knowing it and that he gives to life the supreme fictions without which we are unable to conceive of it.
Page 155 - Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son, Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding, No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them, No more modest than immodest.
Page 197 - To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.
Page 155 - Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the doorslab.

About the author (2002)

ALLAN BURNS is Assistant Professor of English at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. His interests include American Poetry and American nature writing. His articles and reviews have been published in American Literary Realism, American Literature, English Studies, The Henry James Review and Papers on Language and Literature.

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