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

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

by Robert Hedin
     
 
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.

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780892553105
Publisher:
Persea Books
Publication date:
07/04/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
370
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.12(d)

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