Poetry for Young People: American Poetry

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Overview

“I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear...” —Walt Whitman

American Poetry offers a collection of 26 verses by our finest poets, all with their unique perspective on the land they loved and accompanied by remarkable paintings that enhance the meaning of the words. Here, beautifully illustrated, are such unforgettable works as Robert Frost's pensive “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Ralph Waldo Emerson's powerful “Concord Hymn,” Langston Hughes’ majestic “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” Carl Sandburg’s...

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Overview

“I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear...” —Walt Whitman

American Poetry offers a collection of 26 verses by our finest poets, all with their unique perspective on the land they loved and accompanied by remarkable paintings that enhance the meaning of the words. Here, beautifully illustrated, are such unforgettable works as Robert Frost's pensive “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Ralph Waldo Emerson's powerful “Concord Hymn,” Langston Hughes’ majestic “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” Carl Sandburg’s “Jazz Fantasia,” and Maya Angelou’s “Harlem Hopscotch.” Of course, some poems are just sheer fun—especially the beloved ode to our national pastime, “Casey at the Bat.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An addition to the Poetry for Young People series, American Poetry, edited by John Hollander, illus. by Sally Wern Comport, contains such vaunted poetic standards as "I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman, "Old Ironsides" by Oliver Wendell Holmes and "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" by Langston Hughes, among many others. Each poem is introduced with a brief child-friendly explanation of the piece's context or a bit about the poet, and a glossary of difficult words. Smudgy, colorful pastel illustrations convey America's diverse landscapes and people. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Do not skip past the introduction in this collection of poems that celebrate America. Hollander has done an excellent job of presenting the diversity, patriotism and attitudes that make up this great country and explaining the rational for his selections. From the opening poem by Walt Whitman until the closing one by Vachel Lindsay that celebrates the fireworks bursting in the air on the Fourth of July, you can feel the pulse of a country. It struggled to win its freedom as described in Francis Scott Key's "The Defence of Fort McHenry" which later became the Star-Spangled Banner our national anthem and this led to other struggles such as those of African Americans as depicted in Langston Hughes "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." I found the juxtaposition of Emily Dickinson's "Amherst Train" and Ella Wheeler Wilcox's "The Engine" wonderful. They really give readers two very different viewpoints about these enormous machines that helped make America the nation it is. Hollander has made the poems even more accessible to young readers by adding a brief description of its message before presenting the poem and at the end he defines the words that are not so commonly used. It would then be worthwhile to go back and reread the poems with a better understanding of the words and their meanings. The illustrations range from spreads to full pages and smaller insets; and they like the poems offer variety and additional insights and interpretations of the American experience. I would recommend this collection for any school, public or personal library collection. There is an index. 2004, Sterling, Ages 8 up.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-Almost all of the 26 poems collected here are familiar classics, such as Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" and Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." The introduction explains why each selection was chosen. Each poem is preceded by an introductory paragraph that suggests the poet's motivation for writing it. Potentially unfamiliar words are defined at the end of the entry. Most of the poets are from the 19th and early 20th centuries and are Caucasian; Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou are notable exceptions. The poems paint a varied, but predominantly rosy picture. They are not arranged by theme or chronology, but merely offer different snapshots of the American experience. Comport uses a variety of media and styles to reflect the tone of the poems. Milton Meltzer's Hour of Freedom (Boyds Mills, 2003) contains a more liberal mix of poets from diverse cultural backgrounds and poems that include a critical portrayal of American culture, but it has less visual appeal. Because of its colorful art, this book is an inviting choice for collections needing accessible American poetry.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402705175
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Series: Poetry for Young People Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.86 (w) x 10.34 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 4
I Hear America Singing 8
American Names 10
Indian Names 12
A Navajo Blanket 14
Concord Hymn 15
Old Ironsides 16
Defence of Fort McHenry 18
The New Colossus 20
Anecdote of the Jar 22
Portrait VIII 23
O Captain! My Captain! 24
The Negro Speaks of Rivers 27
To an American Painter Departing for Europe 28
Casey at the Bat 30
The House on the Hill 34
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening 35
The Great Figure 36
Amherst Train 38
The Engine 39
Virginia 40
On the Mississippi 41
Harlem Hopscotch 42
Jazz Fantasia 43
America for Me 44
America 45
The Rockets That Reached Saturn 46
Index 48
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2008

    Great for classroom use

    As an educator who teaches English and writing to high school students in a remedial setting, I found this book useful for poetry and writing prompts. Some students had not been exposed to poetry in middle school...or had only been taught poetic devices. The illustrations and layout of the text assisted students in developing writing reflections and their own poems while enjoying American poetry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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