Columbia History of American Poetry: From the Puritans to Our Time

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Like the poems they discuss, the best of these essays have strong, even quirky viewpoints and plenty of rhetorical power. The Columbia History of American Poetry interrogates the poetic tradition of the United States and dismantles it in a manner that encourages readers to reassemble that tradition in new and provocative ways.
Library Journal
These 31 essays by various experts in the field interrogate, dismantle, and ultimately reassemble the history of poetry in the United States, from the work of the slave George Moses Horton, who earned money for his freedom by ghostwriting love poems for romantic if uninspired college students, to the writings of Beat, Black Arts, and Marxist-oriented Language Poets of today. The great figures of the past--Whitman, Poe, Eliot, and so on--still loom, yet each time we are made to see them in some new way. Emily Dickinson, for example, comes across here as a cunning, ambitious poet rather than a sick or fragile one. The most eye-opening of these essays is the one by Dana Gioia on the Longfellow whom everyone thinks they have forgotten, even though they quote him whenever they say ``ships that pass in the night'' or ``the patter of little feet.'' An essential volume that shows how poetry intersects with our lives and vice versa.-- David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee
School Library Journal
YA-Each of these massive volumes has essays on various aspects of poetry, arranged chronologically within each subdivision, e.g., Old English poetry, Scottish poetry, African American or women poets. The readability is uneven, but each essay is completely self-contained, and as such, provides comprehensive coverage of each nation's poetry. Every attempt has been made to include current thought and movements, while many new perspectives on older movements, sometimes previously ignored or thought irrelevant, have been explicated, e.g., English ballads or American confessional poetry. Helpful starting points for more comprehensive studies of individual movements or poets.
Distinguished poet, novelist, and critic Parini assembled a group of world-class poets and critics to provide 31 illuminating original essays covering the entire scope of American poetry from Puritan times to the present, including Native American and African American perspectives. Among the contributors/contributions are Dana Gioia on Longfellow, Cynthia Griffin Wolff on Emily Dickinson, Donald Pease on Whitman, Helen Vendler on Wallace Stevens, Arnold Rampersand on the Harlem Renaissance, Ann Charters on the Beats, and Edward Hisch on Philip Levine and Charles Wright. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From Barnes & Noble
Spanning the entire spectrum of American poetry with authoritative readings of traditional modern verse, this history captures the spirit of the genre in America, its search and struggle for individual as well as national identity. Distinguished critics present and interpret the works of such preeminent poets as Dickinson, Whitman, Eliot, Moore, and Frost, as well as their successors -- Williams, Bishop, Hughes, Berryman, and Roethke, among others. Begins with the poetry of American Puritans and ends with the visionary poetics of our time, including an exploration of African American and Native American poetry,. "An essential volume." -- Library Journal. "...interrogates the poetic tradition of the United States and dismantles it in a manner that encourages readers to reassemble that tradition in new and provocative ways." -- New York Times Book Review.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567312768
  • Publisher: MJF Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Pages: 894
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 2.24 (d)

Table of Contents

Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor 1
Early African American Poetry 23
The Epic in the Nineteenth Century 33
Longfellow in the Aftermath of Modernism 64
The Transcendentalist Poets 97
Emily Dickinson 121
Walt Whitman 148
Edgar Allan Poe 172
Lowell, Teasedale, Wylie, Millay, and Bogan 203
Women Poets and the Emergence of Modernism 233
Robert Frost and the Poetry of Survival 260
Ezra Pound's Imagist Aesthetics: Lustra to Mauberley 284
T. S. Eliot 319
Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop 343
Wallace Stevens 370
William Carlos Williams 395
Hart Crane's Difficult Passage 419
The Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance 452
Warren, with Ransom and Tate 477
American Auden 506
The Twentieth-Century Long Poem 534
Public Music 564
Beat Poetry and the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance 581
John Berryman, Theodore Roethke, and the Elegy 605
What Was Confessional Poetry? 632
The Postconfessional Lyric 650
The Black Arts Poets 674
Nature's Refrain in American Poetry 707
Native American Poetry 728
James Merrill and John Ashbery 750
The Visionary Poetics of Philip Levine and Charles Wright 777
Contributors 807
Index 811
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