Singing America: Poems That Define a Nation

Singing America: Poems That Define a Nation

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by Neil Philip, Michael McCurdy
     
 

From Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" to Langston Hughes' reply "I, too (am America), " this rich anthology is full of poems that describe, celebrate and bring to vivid life the American experience. Amidst the great legacy of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are traditional spirituals and anthems, and songs of the Pueblo and Sioux. Black-and-white illustrations… See more details below

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Overview

From Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" to Langston Hughes' reply "I, too (am America), " this rich anthology is full of poems that describe, celebrate and bring to vivid life the American experience. Amidst the great legacy of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are traditional spirituals and anthems, and songs of the Pueblo and Sioux. Black-and-white illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jessy Deutsch
The experience of reading this anthology is like travelling across the country, from the smallest town to the largest city, and from the poorest district to the richest enclave, in a brilliant flash. The range of perspectives spans time (from Francis Scott Key to Gary Snyder), place (Walt Whitman's burgeoning industrialism to Lawrence Ferlinghetti's post-modernistic, "I hear America singing in the yellow pages"), gender, ("Sadie and Maud" to "John Henry") and culture (Asian, Native American, African American and more). Simple black and white prints let the verse speak for itself-and for all of us.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Because America is the great "melting pot," there is not one writer who speaks for us all. To define this country, we need a diversified collection of poets and writers as in Singing America. Editor Neil Philip's expertise and passion is evident in his introduction and selection of poems that "define" our nation. Each period in America's growth is represented, from Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" to Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land". He includes Native-American hymns, African-American spirituals, and works by Dickinson, Benet, Poe, O'Hara and other distinguished poets. Aptly illustrated with Michael McCurdy's dark, moody black-and-white engravings, this anthology illuminates American culture more than any history textbook could.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Philip has gathered American poetry that vividly comes together to ``define a nation'' in this eclectic anthology. The strength and clarity of McCurdy's woodcuts intensify that definition. Sandwiched between Walt Whitman's ``I Hear America Singing'' and Woody Guthrie's ``This Land Is Your Land'' are poems that give voice to immigrants, African Americans, Native Americans, the poor, migrant workers, miners, pioneers, and myriad others that make up this nation. There are oft-heard verses, but the less well-known works create the attraction here. The collection celebrates the contributions of different groups; relates the suffering inflicted by nature or one ethnic group on another; and just talks about a Sunday walk, or the wonders of ice cream and peaches. The uncluttered presentation allows for readers' absorption in each offering. There is ample opportunity for choral reading and reading aloud. The book's theme echoes that of America Forever New (Crowell, 1968; o.p.), compiled by Sara and John E. Brewton, but Philip goes beyond that title. A striking addition.-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Hazel Rochman
Like "Celebrate America: In Poetry and Art", edited by Nora Panzer (1994), this spaciously designed anthology brings together great poems that express the diversity of the American experience through history. In a fine introduction, Philip traces two dominant influences who broke with polite literary tradition and wrote with the urgency of the speaking voice: the very public Whitman (who encouraged poets "to speak up and speak out" ) and the very private Dickinson (for whom a poem was "perhaps, a message in a bottle" ). The selections show an American tradition that is multicultural but not homogeneous ("Shove your old pot," says Dudley Randall of his exclusion from the melting pot). However, some of the language may be considered insensitive by contemporary standards. There are folk songs and traditional poems (from "Jesse James" to "No More Auction Block" ) and many old favorites (Sandburg's "Chicago," Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" ), but Philip has also included some wonderful old and new poems that are less commonly anthologized. McCurdy's bold, beautiful woodcuts, many depicting people at work, extend the energy and individuality of the words.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670861507
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/1995
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
10.42(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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