Old Glory: American War Poems from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terrorism


For the first time, in one volume, the rich canon of American war poems, from "Yankee Doodle" to Robert Creeley's "Ground Zero."This unique, comprehensive anthology gathers together more than two hundred poems about the American experience of war—narratives, meditations, elegies, lamentations, odes, tributes, and battle hymns—many of them classics. Written by soldier-poets as well as poets on the home front, they are deeply personal, reflecting love of country, sacrifice, tragedy, glory, and sometimes ...
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For the first time, in one volume, the rich canon of American war poems, from "Yankee Doodle" to Robert Creeley's "Ground Zero."This unique, comprehensive anthology gathers together more than two hundred poems about the American experience of war—narratives, meditations, elegies, lamentations, odes, tributes, and battle hymns—many of them classics. Written by soldier-poets as well as poets on the home front, they are deeply personal, reflecting love of country, sacrifice, tragedy, glory, and sometimes disillusionment or dissent. Arranged chronologically, virtually every conflict is included: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Indian War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, September 11, and the present war in Iraq. Among the 140 poets are Longfellow, Wheatley, Dunbar, Bryant, Emerson, Thoreau, Crane, Dickinson, Melville, Whitman, Whittier, Masters, Bogan, Lindsay, Cummings, Eliot, Frost, Lowell, Pound, Sandburg, Bishop, Hughes, Levertov, Stevens, Williams, Bly, Creeley, Ginsberg, Harper, Paley, Rich, Warren, Komunyakaa, Weigl, and Collins. A major historical, cultural, and literary volume, Old Glory speaks from the depth of time as well as from the immediacy of our own moment.

Author Biography: Robert Hedin is an award-winning poet, translator, and editor of seventeen volumes of poetry and prose, including The Old Liberators: New and Selected Poems and Translations. He is the Executive Director of the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, Minnesota.

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Editorial Reviews

At a time when the US is at war in Afghanistan and in Iraq as well as fighting a global war on terrorism, it is hard to imagine a more appropriate and compelling anthology of poetry than that edited by noted author Robert Hedin. There are many ways to read about war: histories, biographies, letters, journals and the like. However, in the foreword to this book, Walter Cronkite reminds us "the gift of telling what war is really like has been bestowed upon the poets." Hedin presents 175 poems written by 140 different authors, half of whom have direct experience of war as combatants. The selections are arranged chronologically, with a section on each American war beginning with the Revolutionary War and "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and ending with the War on Terror and "Transcircularities" by Quincy Troupe. Hedin's introduction is an insightful overview of the collection, noting the characteristics of the poetry that emerges from each war, from the patriotism of colonial America to the disillusionment of those writing about WW I. He observes that the "wide range of themes and attitudes" that emerge here "go beyond the American experience to explore the nature of war itself." Walt Whitman's poetry is recognized as offering "some of the most poignant portrayals of suffering in American literature." The poetry of the Gulf War and the War on Terror are found to have produced "no verse of any real value" by battlefield participants to date. Each poem in the collection is preceded by a brief biographical sketch that is quite helpful in appreciating the context of the poem that follows. Some of the poems are often anthologized; some are printed here for the first time. Hedinbest describes his own anthology as "haunting and memorable." Teachers and students of history and literature should find in this collection many works for reflection and discussion. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Persea Books, 366p. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Anthony Pucci
Library Journal
With this anthology, Hedin (The Great Land) takes on a mighty task, collecting almost 200 war poems from American history, from well-known poets and unknowns to soldiers and civilians. Those from early wars invoke the efforts, commitment, and toll of patriotism, its successes and failures, and subsequent hard-won pride. The seldom-seen last stanzas of Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner" evoke both the dark moments and the light that burns behind them. Longfellow and Wheatley wrote of the same light in more nascent times, as did Whitman and Dickinson. Especially heartening are poems from the two world wars and Korea, many of which have been long overlooked. The work about Vietnam cannot be underestimated; also included are pieces that have sprung from the Gulf Wars and the confrontation of terrorism. Hedin takes care to remind us that there are never two sides to a story, but dozens. No other collection is as thorough as this; highly recommended. Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892553105
  • Publisher: Persea Books
  • Publication date: 7/4/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 370
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Table of Contents

Revolutionary War
Paul Revere's ride 5
Yankee Doodle 9
To his excellency General Washington 12
Warren's address to the American soldiers 14
Song of Marion's men 15
Black Sampson of Brandywine 17
The Yankee man-of-war 19
from The British prison ship 21
To the memory of the brave Americans 23
from The Columbiad 25
New England's dead 27
Concord hymn 29
War of 1812
from The battle of Niagara 33
On the conflagrations at Washington 36
The Star-Spangled Banner 40
Old Ironsides 42
Mexican-American War
Ode, inscribed to W. H. Channing 45
The angels of Buena Vista 48
from The biglow papers 51
When with pale cheek and sunken eye I sang 53
Civil War
In the defences 57
John Brown's body 60
The march into Virginia 61
A utilitarian view of the Monitor's fight 62
The college colonel 63
Battle Hymn of the Republic 65
Barbara Frietchie 66
Fredericksburg 69
The dying words of Stonewall Jackson 70
The high tide at Gettysburg 72
The battlefield 75
Corporal 76
Sheridan's ride 77
Cavalry crossing a ford 79
Vigil strange I kept on the field one night 79
The wound-dresser 80
My triumph lasted till the drums 83
My portion is defeat today 84
Ode to the Confederate dead 85
Memorial wreath 88
For the union dead 89
Hunting Civil War relics at Nimblewill Creek 92
Indian Wars
Unknown 97
Wildwest 99
A tribute to Chief Joseph (1840?-1904) 101
Two war songs 103
Last song 103
Interpolation sounds 104
The whole world is coming 105
Spanish-American War
Harry Wilmans 109
On a soldier fallen in the Philippines 110
Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind 111
First World War
Abraham Lincoln walks at midnight 115
The Aisne (1914-15) 117
Rendezvous 119
Verdun 120
Trophy, W. W. I 121
Patterns 123
Not to keep 126
I sing of Olaf glad and big 127
My sweet old etcetera 128
Chateau de Soupir, 1917 130
In the Dordogne 132
Champs d'Honneur 134
Killed Piave - July 8 - 1918 134
The death of a soldier 135
Memorial rain 136
On active service 138
My brother 139
To my brother killed : Haumont Wood : October, 1918 140
Mothers 141
The people's cry 141
from Hugh Selwyn Mauberley 143
Triumphal march 145
Grass 147
There will come soft rains 148
The wars and the unknown soldier 149
Second World War
Roosters 155
Czecho-Slovakia 160
The Moon and the night and the men 161
The last picnic 163
Jim Crow's last stand 164
War, the destroyer! 166
After experience taught me ... 168
The U.S. soldier with the Japanese skull 170
The searchlight 172
The fury of aerial bombardment 173
The war in the air 174
Losses 175
The death of the ball turret gunner 176
Memories of West Street and Lepke 177
No man knows war 179
World War II 180
Un Bel Di Vedremo 185
Remembering that island 187
The pit 188
Portrait from the infantry 190
Troop train 192
Vaudeville 194
Carentan O Carentan 195
Survival : infantry 197
First snow in Alsace 198
Christmas 1944 200
Christmas, 1944 204
In distrust of merits 205
Battle report 208
Prodigy 212
Letter to Simic from Boulder 214
Buchenwald, near Weimar 216
"More light! more light!" 218
Easter eve 1945 220
Return 222
A box comes home 223
V-J day 224
Victory 225
War memoir : jazz, don't listen to it at your own risk 229
To World War Two 231
Korean War
On a certain engagement south of Seoul 237
A Korean woman seated by a wall 239
Viewing Picasso's massacre in Korea 241
The circle 243
Memory of a victory 244
A sheaf of percussion fire 246
Re-runs 248
Trying to remember people I never really knew 249
Repository 251
Korean litany 253
Ode for the American dead in Asia 258
Vietnam War
A short history of the Vietnam War years 263
War profit litany 265
Up rising 266
Bad year, bad war : a new year's card, 1969 268
You could make a song of it, a dirge of it, a heartbreaker of it 270
The birds of Vietnam 271
The Asians dying 273
Two villages 274
Counting small-boned bodies 276
Vietnam #4 277
Christmas bells, Saigon 278
Ak-47 279
For the old man 280
Search and destroy 282
Caves 283
Communique 284
Thanks 285
Song of Napalm 287
The dead shall be raised incorruptible 289
We 294
What were they like? 296
News update 298
For a coming extinction 300
Places without names 301
At the Vietnam War Memorial, Washington, D.C. 303
Gulf War
The winter of Desert Storm 309
On a line from Valery 310
from Ribbons : the Gulf War 311
Ode to X 313
Section three 314
Favorite Iraqi soldier 316
Old glory 318
Operations : Desert Shield, Desert Storm 319
War on terrorism
Loving this earth 325
Ground Zero 327
Complicity 328
The names 329
Speak out 331
For the new year 333
Call and answer 334
Found in the free library 335
Talking heads 337
Cyclamen 338
War 339
The school among the ruins 341
Transcircularities 345
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