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Posted March 22, 2005
This book is the manifestation of the dream of former U.S. Poet Laureate Joseph Brodsky when he said, 'Poetry must be available to the public in far greater volume than it is.' Brodsky believed that poetry books should be distributed free of charge in many places, such as supermarkets and factories. He also had the idea that an anthology of poetry should be, 'found in every hotel room in the land.' Brodsky went on to create the American Poetry & Literacy Project in 1993, and is the publisher of this book. This little anthology covers more than 350 years of American poetry. It includes poets who were famous in their own time such as Edgar Allen Poe, and poets whose talents weren't realized until after their death, such as Emily Dickinson. It displays American patriotism in poems such as Walt Whitman's, 'I Hear America Singing', and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 'Paul Revere's Ride.' Poems such as, 'Dream Deferred (Harlem)' by Langston Hughes, and 'Incident' by Countee Cullen, explore themes of racial prejudice and African American culture. War, loneliness, nature, children, all the many issues and emotions we as human beings find ourselves dealing with today, are all included in this small, yet well-comprised anthology. Many of my personal favorites include poems about poetry itself. These poets and writers give serious, and not so serious, contemplation to the art of writing. On page 65, the teacher and library assistant Marianne Moore begins her poem, 'Poetry' with these lines: I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle. Moore, known for her complex poems was known as the 'poet's poet,' and was the editor of the literary magazine The Dial, according the book's biography about her. Pulitzer prize winner Archibald Macleish's poem, 'Ars Poetica' gives his view of what a poem should be on page 72: A poem should be wordless As the flight of birds A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs The books biography on Macleish says that he was an editor for Fortune magazine, Librarian of Congress, and Assistant Secretary of State. According to Andrew Carroll, the Executive Director of The American Poetry and Literacy Project, Joseph Brodsky never saw the final version of this book, '101 Great American Poems' before his death. He leaves us however, with Brodsky's inspiring words in his Introduction to the book: 'Books find their readers, and if not, well let them lie around, absorb dust, rot and disintegrate. There is always going to be a child who will fish a book out of the garbage heap. I was such a child, for what it's worth...' For us, Brodsky's own poetry and the legacy he left behind in The American Poetry and Literacy Project, continues to be worth a fortune. ~Brian Douthit author of 'Perfectly Said: when words become art'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2001
This is the best poetry introduction (any collection, any nation) I've ever read. Known, unknown, traditional, newer style--its all good. You will be reminded of forgotten poems--and they're all worth reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 18, 2001
101 Great American Poems is an outstanding collection of the greatest poetry written by U.S. authors all in one volume. This book is a great inroduction for the young reader.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2000
I found many of the poems in here familiar, ones that are appealing to the general reader. It does a nice job of introduing major American poets. I have bought copies for my nieces and nephews, hoping to introduce them to poetry in an appealing format (its small size makes it seem less intimidating.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.