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Library of America: The American Poetry Anthology

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Library of America: The American Poetry Anthology : Titles in Order

Book 5
“The editing is more than brilliant: It is nearly unimaginable how the Library of America team managed to do so much so well. . . . Every possible kind of poem is here in its best examples. No one has ever done a better anthology of modern American poetry, or even come close.” — Talk

This second volume of the landmark two-volume Library of America anthology of twentieth-century poetry, organized chronologically by the poets’ birthdates, takes the reader from E.E. Cummings (1894–1962) to May Swenson (1913–1989). In the wake of the modernist renaissance, American poets continued to experiment with new techniques and themes, while the impact of the Depression and World War II and the continuing political struggle of African Americans became part of the fabric of a literature in transition. New schools and definitions of poetry seemed often to divide the literary scene. This was the era of the Harlem Renaissance, the Objectivists, the Fugitives, the proletarian poets. It was also an era of vigorously individuated voices—knotty, defiant, sometimes eccentric.

The range of tone and subject matter is immense: here are Melvin B. Tolson’s swirlingly allusive Harlem portraits, Phyllis McGinley’s elegant verse transcriptions of suburbia, May Swenson’s playful meditations on the laws of physics. The diversity of formal approaches includes the extreme linguistic experiments of Eugene Jolas and Abraham Lincoln Gillespie, Rolfe Humphries’s adaptation of traditional Welsh meter, the haiku of Richard Wright, the ballads of Helen Adam and Elder Olson, the epigrams of J.V. Cunningham. A selection of light verse is joined by lyrics from the era’s greatest songwriters, including Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie, and Ira Gershwin. Several important long poems are presented complete, including Hart Crane’s The Bridge, Louis Zukofsky’s Poem beginning “The” and Robert Penn Warren’s Audubon: A Vision. Rounding out the volume are such infrequently anthologized figures as Vladimir Nabokov, James Agee, Tennessee Williams, and John Cage.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 4
In the years between the beginning of the twentieth century and the end of World War II, American poetry was transformed, producing a body of work whose influence was felt throughout the world. Now for the first time the landmark two-volume Library of America anthology of twentieth-century poetry through the post-War years restores that era in all its astonishing beauty and explosive energy.

This first volume of the set, organized chronologically by the poets’ birthdates, takes the reader from Henry Adams (1838–1918) to Dorothy Parker (1893–1967), and in the process reveals the unfolding of a true poetic renaissance. Included are generous selections from some of the century’s greatest poets: Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, H.D., Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot. Here they are seen as part of an age that proposed new and often contentious definitions of what American poetry could be and fresh perceptions of a society undergoing rapid and often tumultuous change.

The multifarious aesthetic influences brought to bear—Chinese and Japanese poetry, the African-American sermon, the artistic revolutions of Cubism and Dada, the cadences of jazz, the brash urgencies of vernacular speech—resulted in a poetic culture of dynamic energy and startling contrasts.

The poets of this era transformed not only style but traditional subject matter: there are poems here on a silent movie actress, a lynching, the tenements of New York, the trench warfare of World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the landscape of Mars. Here too are folk ballads on events like the assassination of McKinley and the sinking of the Titanic; popular and humorous verse by Don Marquis and Franklin P. Adams; the famous “Spectra” hoax; song lyrics by Ma Rainey, Joe Hill, and Irving Berlin; and poems by writers as unexpected as Djuna Barnes, Sherwood Anderson, John Reed, and H. P. Lovecraft. Included are some of the century’s most important poems, presented in full: Pound’s Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, Eliot’s The Waste Land, Steven’s Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 3
This second volume of The Library of America’s two-volume collection of nineteenth-century American poetry follows the evolution of American poetry from the monumental mid-century achievements of Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson to the modernist stirrings of Stephen Crane and Edwin Arlington Robinson. The cataclysm of the Civil War—reflected in fervent antislavery protests, in marching songs and poetic calls to arms, and in muted post-bellum expressions of grief and reconciliation—ushered in a period of accelerating change and widening regional perspectives.

Here too are the pioneering African-American poets (Frances Harper, Albery Allson Whitman, Paul Laurence Dunbar); popular humorists (James Whitcomb Riley, Eugene Field); writers embodying America’s newfound cosmopolitanism (Edith Wharton, George Santayana); and extravagant self-mythologizing figures who could have existed nowhere else, like the actress Adah Isaacs Menken and the frontier poet Joaquin Miller.

Parodies, dialect poems, song lyrics, and children’s verse evoke the liveliness of an era when poetry was accessible to all. Here are poems that played a crucial role in American public life, whether to arouse the national conscience (Edwin Markham’s “The Man with the Hoe”) or to memorialize the golden age of the national pastime (Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat”).

An entire section of this volume is devoted to American Indian poetry in nineteenth-century versions, making available—some for the first time since their initial publication—an astonishing range of translations and adaptations: Ojibwa healing rituals, the songs of the Ghost Dance religion, Zuni mythological narratives, chants from the Kwakiutl Winter Ceremonial. Also included is a generous selection from America’s rich heritage of anonymous folk songs, ballads, and hymns.

Unprecedented in its textual authority, the anthology includes newly researched biographical sketches of each poet, a year-by-year chronology of poets and poetry from 1800 to 1900, and extensive notes.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 2
In nineteenth-century America, poetry was an integral part of everyday life. The two volumes of The Library of America’s American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century reveal the vigor and diversity of a tradition embracing solitary visionaries and congenial storytellers, humorists and dissidents, songwriters and philosophers. These extraordinary anthologies reassess America’s poetic legacy with a comprehensive sweep that no previous anthology has attempted.

Extending chronologically from the classic couplets of Philip Freneau to the pioneering free verse of Walt Whitman, this first volume charts the formation of a distinctly American poetry. Here, in generous selections, are the major figures: Poe, Emerson, Bryant, Longfellow, Whittier—as well as such unexpected contributors as the landscape painter Thomas Cole, the actress Fanny Kemble, and the presidents John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln.

This collection offers the unique opportunity to appreciate anew such classics as Whittier’s “Snow-Bound,” Bryant’s “Forest Hymn,” and Emerson’s “Hamatreya,” while discovering a world of less familiar pleasures: the mystical sonnets of Jones Very, the Romantic fantasias of Maria Gowen Brooks, the stirring political poems of Joel Barlow and John Pierpont, and the somber and undervalued late lyrics of Longfellow.

Woven among the poetry of the early nineteenth century is a wealth of popular ballads, recitations, and songs both secular and religious: “Home, Sweet Home,” “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” From Lydia Maria Child’s Thanksgiving poem (“Over the river and through the wood”) to George Pope Morris’s “The Oak” (“Woodman, spare that tree!”), these pages ring with the phrases that have become part of the national memory.

Unprecedented in its textual authority, the anthology includes newly researched biographical sketches of each poet, a year-by-year chronology of poets and poetry from 1800 to 1900, and extensive notes.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 1
This groundbreaking Library of America volume offers a fresh look at early American poetry, charting its evolution over a span of almost two centuries, from the first years of English settlement in the New World to the death of George Washington. Gathering the work of more than 100 poets—including many poems never previously anthologized and some published here for the first time—it is the most comprehensive collection of its kind ever assembled, a celebration of the rich, varied, and often surprising beginnings of American poetry.

The range of voices is unprecedented: broadside and newspaper satires, epitaphs, children’s verse, popular songs, ballads, and Christian hymns evoke the vital currency of poetry in daily life; exhortatory elegies for public figures and historical epics declaimed on occasions of state stand alongside intricate meditative lyrics and private epistolary verses. The dramatic unfolding of American history is made immediate and vivid in the words of the participants: William Bradford reflects on the growth of New England’s first colonies; Roger Wolcott recounts the incidents of the Pequot War; Thomas Paine hails the victories of the American Revolution; Ann Eliza Bleecker describes her flight from General Burgoyne’s invading army; loyalist Jonathan Odell bitterly mocks the new Continental Congress.

The first comprehensive anthology of early American poetry in more than a generation, this volume incorporates recent scholarly discoveries that have altered our understanding of the early American literary landscape. Alongside generous selections from long admired New England poets such as Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, and Michael Wigglesworth are poets from the Middle Colonies and the South, newly emerged from the archives. Along with familiar favorites by Phillis Wheatley, celebrated pioneer of the African-American tradition in poetry, are little-known verses by Benjamin Banneker, known as “the Sable Astronomer,” and African-American Minuteman Lemuel Haynes. The anthology includes hymns recently attributed to Mohegan preacher Samson Occom and the earliest known translation of a traditional Native American chant, Henry Timberlake’s Cherokee “War-Song.”

The unpublished poems of Henry Brooke, Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson, Joseph Green, Hannah Griffitts, Margaret Lowther Page, and Annis Boudinot Stockton, among others, reflect the rediscovered vitality and importance of manuscript exchange as a form of publication in an era when it was sometimes considered indecorous, especially for women, to appear in print.

Unprecedented in its textual authority and unrivaled in its scope, the anthology includes newly researched biographical sketches of each poet and extensive notes.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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