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Spoon River Anthology

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,066 Ratings  ·  429 Reviews
In this 1915 collection, Edgar Lee Masters tells the stories of the dead through their own posthumous words. Realistic, often cynical, these epitaphs are spoken from the grave by 244 former citizens of a small Midwestern village. The entire spectrum of human life is represented here—everyone from poet to shopkeeper is given a chance to narrate their life, to tell of their ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Hesperus Press (first published 1915)
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Lyn
Jan 03, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, published in 1915, is a unique literary experience.

A collection of inter-related free-form poems, each title a person’s name, and each person a resident of the town cemetery. Masters has each relate a short story; some folks talk about their life, many about the circumstances of their death. Husbands and wives relate different perspectives of the same events, lovers and soldiers tell of their history, and each is a distinct, poetic voice.

Masters begins
...more
Chiara Pagliochini
« Molte volte ho studiato
la lapide che mi hanno scolpito:
una barca con vele ammainate, in un porto.
In realtà non è questa la mia destinazione
ma la mia vita.
Perché l’amore mi si offrì e io mi ritrassi dal suo inganno;
il dolore bussò alla mia porta, e io ebbi paura;
l’ambizione mi chiamò, ma io temetti gli imprevisti.
Malgrado tutto avevo fame di un significato nella vita.
E adesso so che bisogna alzare le vele
e prendere i venti del destino,
dovunque spingano la barca.
Dare un senso alla vita può
...more
Evan
244 dead residents of the Midwestern town of Spoon River (some based on real people and some fictional) tell the stories of their triumphs, frustrations, unrequited longings, their secrets -- often harboring lingering grudges about people buried alongside them. Whole families and neighbors, cross-talking in death. Each poem is titled with the name of the person speaking; each is short and most of them are heartbreaking. The wife and husband and the doctor, all scandalized by an abortion, the boy ...more
Teresa
Oct 18, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g-poesia, n-usa
Edgar Lee Masters nasceu, no Kansas, a 23 de Agosto de 1868 e morreu a 5 de Março de 1950. Uma destas datas serviu-me de pretexto para comprar este livro; o de Masters, para o escrever, foi o seu encontro com o romancista Theodore Dreiser, cuja audácia e realismo o impressionou.

Spoon River Anthology é uma obra singular, composta por 244 epitáfios, narrados pelos defuntos da localidade imaginária de Spoon Rider que, em poucas palavras, - dirigindo-se aos visitantes do cemitério - resumem a sua v
...more
Karla
Dec 12, 2013 Karla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-lit
I've trawled through many a 19th century small town newspaper for various research projects, and one's dirty linen was often hung out to dry for public view in the printed word. Old men running off with the serving girls, errant wives being tracked down and found in flagrante with their lovers, etc. I've even got a great-great-uncle whose wife was run out of town on a rail by "The Community" for her illicit affair with a neighbor. Nasty little Victorian Peyton Places. Reading Spoon River Antholo ...more
orsodimondo
Jan 29, 2016 orsodimondo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NON AL DENARO, NON ALL'AMORE NÉ AL CIELO
La bibbia è la più letta, ma mi sa che questo ci va vicino.
E' un 'must', no?
Leggermente sopravvalutato, ma bello.
Si può riprendere in mano più volte, leggere una poesia e rimetterlo giù, sicuro che lo ritroveremo fedele ad aspettarci, all'occorrenza.
Thomas
Not a bad book, but not one I would read again or recommend to others. It's a collection of free-verse poems, crafted as epitaphs of the former citizens of the Midwestern town Spoon River. While there were some meaningful poems and well-developed characters, there were quite a few sections that I did not care for at all. I've never been an ardent fan of poetry, though, and this one, while a good read, did nothing to change that.

Here's my favorite poem from the book:

"George Gray:
I have studied ma
...more
Maria
Feb 19, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Masters coltivò le sue storie in un clima pregno di tragedia, un tempo nel quale le piccole realtà facevano da intermezzo tra grandi alleati e grandi nemici, vecchi miti e nuovi eroi. La gente normale non era interessante, non faceva presa. Eppure era proprio quella gente che, nella sua semplicità, deteneva la "verità umana".

http://startfromscratchblog.blogspot....
Guido
Se i morti potessero parlare, sarebbero sinceri: liberi dall'obbligo della buona educazione, dal dover mantenere la necessaria discrezione tra vicini e familiari, dalla necessità di salvare le apparenze in nome dell'onore, insomma da tutti i meccanismi che hanno regolato l'ipocrisia della loro vita sociale, direbbero finalmente quello che, in vita, non hanno mai potuto dire. Un intero villaggio di morti improvvisamente coscienti della propria libertà di parola dà vita, in maniera quasi teatrale, ...more
Bonnie
This was so very lovely.
Christina
Jan 01, 2013 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book about 50 times, in bits and pieces, and about a half-dozen from start to finish in order. I love it.

Let me start with what the book is about. This is a book of free-form poems that serves as a narrative, each poem told from the point of view of a resident of Spoon River who has died and who is telling their story after the fact, their own epitaph. Some poems go together, some stand alone, but they form the elaborate portrait of a community.

A seeming non-sequitur, perhaps,
...more
Arwen56
Herbert Marshall

Tutto il tuo dolore, Louise, e l'odio per me nacquero dalla tua illusione che fosse capriccio dello spirito e disprezzo dei diritti della tua anima a spingermi verso Annabelle e lasciarti.
In realta' tu arrivasti a odiarmi per amore, perche' ero la gioia della tua anima, formato e temprato per risolverti la vita, ma non volli.
Tu invece eri il mio strazio. Se tu fossi stata la mia felicita', non mi sarei forse aggrappato a te?
Questo e' l'amaro della vita: che solo in due si puo'
...more
Frahorus
Di fronte a un capolavoro poetico come questo non ci si può che inchinare. Geniale nella sua "polifonia", "L’antologia di Spoon River" è il sunto di molte vite, tutte accomunate da un luogo: Spoon River. Masters compila il suo capolavoro come una raccolta di epitaffi autobiografici dei vari personaggi che, nelle poche ultime righe racchiuse sulle loro lapidi, riassumono il senso di un’esistenza. Gli epitaffi recitati dai defunti dell’Illinois non fanno altro che offrire con estrema lucidità un p ...more
Ben Loory
Oct 10, 2009 Ben Loory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i admit that i probably love the idea of this book more than the actual book, but i love the idea of it so damn much that the actual thing still gets five stars. a portrait of a small american town through the from-the-dead poem-soliloquies of hundreds of its departed inhabitants, it's unlike any other book i've ever read. the dead folk discuss their lives and deaths and thoughts and beliefs and relationships with each other, the town, and the larger world. it's from the dead so there's a pronou ...more
S©aP
L'ombra della morte, per ridare alla vita le sue dimensioni. Per restituire il giusto senso alle cose, oltre lo scempio delle millanterie dei vivi. Una geniale intuizione, quella di di E.L.Masters, capace di rendere, in pochi tratti di poesia, tutte le profondità dell'esistenza.

PS - Interessantissimi e illuminanti i saggi introduttivi, di Fernanda Pivano e Cesare Pavese
Franky
Jun 27, 2013 Franky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology is a series of poems representing the voices of Spoon River, a fictional Southern town. The citizens, who speak from beyond the grave on The Hill, tell of their lives and those they knew, lamenting on various aspects of their past life. The poems have a dramatic monologue, epitaph-like quality; they are snapshots of emotion, philosophy, wisdom and morals from these residents.

The individual voices of Spoon River are quite diverse, as you might imagine. Mu
...more
J.
Oct 04, 2011 J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2011-reads
After a full summer battling Infinite Jest (and thoroughly enjoying it), this book was welcome relief. It is a mix of homespun wisdom and incredibly insightful commentary. While very accessible, Masters is astute. He has a lot to say about living, death, and regret (and a surprising amount on lawyers). This is the kind of book you can give to your Grandma, with a nice note that says "I love you," and then have something to discuss over the holidays as you help her wash the dishes.

On morality's
...more
Simona
Apr 11, 2012 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In quest'antologia Lee Masters dà voce al mondo dei morti di un villaggio americano del Midwest, Spoon River, appunto. I morti vogliono raccontare la loro verità, che è stata molto spesso taciuta e ignorata pIn quest'antologia Lee Masters dà voce al mondo dei morti di un villaggio americano del Midwest, Spoon River, appunto. I morti vogliono raccontare la loro verità, che è stata molto spesso taciuta e ignorata per ipocrisia, convenienza, ecc.
Un'antologia di imprecazioni, lamenti, epitaffi sull
...more
Tristan
Apr 12, 2015 Tristan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, classic
The whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Edgar Lee Masters' great work is impressive in its scope; with over two hundred "epitaphs," each one an individual person, the collection takes apart small-town America in the early 20th century with astonishing precision. Masters makes no bones about the presence of corruption and cruelty (Thomas Rhodes is frequently indicted by the other dead), secret sins, everything that those who would have lived in a town like Spoon River saw every day of
...more
Sakura87
Breve nota esplicativa da leggersi prima della recensione:
Io non amo la poesia.
Ho letto quel tanto che la scuola e l’università hanno comandato, nonché qualche testo selezionato per mio piacere e cultura personale. Tra questi, mi è capitata tra le mani l’Antologia di Spoon River.
Tutto ciò, per anticiparvi che non sono un’esperta di poesia, dimentico sempre i nomi di tutte le figure retoriche, non m’importa molto del ritmo né della rima: le poesie che mi catturano il cuore, le amo per le immagini
...more
Owen
Dec 20, 2012 Owen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, notable
To think of a small town cemetery is to imagine peace. So begins the foreword of Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology. If only there was peace while the residents were living, but that doesn't sound likely does it. Well, dead bodies can't really bicker that much can they? Maybe just a bit.

Small town life is often presented incorrectly. Have you seen the movie about the Mystic pizza place in Connecticut? I haven't, but I've been there. It's okay. My family went to the living history type plac
...more
Jen
Jun 01, 2011 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is a conceptually intriguing book in which the residents (represented by over 200 poems) of a small town cemetery speak from the grave about the truth as they see it, being free from social pressure or potential retribution to present themselves or others in a good light.

I think it's important to remember that Masters was a lawyer by profession, a person who had heard people's testimonies about incidents and different people and had seen how judges and juries dealt with them. This book isn'
...more
Arianna
Jun 28, 2016 Arianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George Gray

Molte volte ho studiato
La lapide che mi hanno scolpito:
Una barca con vele ammainate, in un porto.
In realtà non è questa la mia destinazione
Ma la mia vita.
Perché l'amore mi si offrì e io mi ritrassi dal suo inganno;
Il dolore bussò alla mia porta, e io ebbi paura;
L'ambizione mi chiamò, ma io temetti gli imprevisti.
Malgrado tutto avevo fame di un significato nella vita.
E adesso so che bisogna alzare le vele
E prendere i venti del destino,
Dovunque spingano la barca.
Dare un senso alla
...more
Fabiola
Feb 16, 2016 Fabiola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi sono accostata a questa raccolta - lo ammetto - dapprima incuriosita solo dal fatto che Fabrizio De André (il cielo l'abbia in gloria ) avesse composto un album con nove canzoni tutte ispirate da nove poesie contenute nell'Antologia.
Ho quindi cominciato il libro non ben sapendo cosa mi aspettasse, con curiosità e qualche dubbio (non che non mi piaccia la poesia, ma non la prediligo come genere. Mi piacciono alcune cose selezionate) e per la prima cinquantina circa di componimenti non avevo be
...more
Rebecca
Mar 29, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"...Allora io non riuscivo a cogliere la differenza tra le due letterature [americana e inglese]. Lui [Pavese] la sera stessa mi fece trovare in portineria quattro libri: l'Antologia di Spoon River di Lee Masters, Foglie d'erba di Whitman, Addio alle armi di Hemingway e Il figlio di Windy McPherson di Sherwood Andersen. Quella sera aprii l'Antologia di Spoon River, m'innamorai così tanto di quelle parole che presi subito a tradurle".

Credo che non ci siano parole migliori di quelle della Pivano p
...more
Thais
May 08, 2012 Thais rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E.L. Masters dà voce a una cittadina fantasma, e i suoi abitanti da sotto terra svelano i propri segreti, le proprie ossessioni e tutti gli scandali e i peccati più o meno gravi di cui si sono macchiati. Un coro di voci che si alternano e si rispondono, raccontando la vita dal punto di vista della morte.
Amy
Mar 02, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was so good and so creepy
Lize
Oct 02, 2010 Lize rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, poetic
From 1915, this anthology of poems leads you through a small-town graveyard, where the dead themselves tell the stories behind each tombstone. And what they describe is heartbreaking; lost loves, unfulfilled dreams, and all the other secrets people take to their graves, laid open for all to see. Some of the poems may seem old-fashioned to modern readers, but others pack a punch that transcends all time. Margaret Fuller Slack's life struck the greatest chord with me:

47. Margaret Fuller Slack

I WOU
...more
Katie
Jun 22, 2009 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm rereading this after 25 years and can't put it down. These are beautiful poems, all of them. So short, so simple, never plain, so complex, so surprising. Eat them, taste them, drink them, go back and roll in them again.

When I read this book at fourteen, I was depressed and wanted to die, and here I found a couple hundred people who already had. (For some reason, after eight months of nuclear holocausts, the Civil War, sci-fi and horror, my English teacher thought it was a good idea for us to
...more
Grady McCallie
Apr 07, 2013 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can appreciate why, at the time of its publication in 1915, the book was seen as creative in its structure -- lots of short poems, each in the voice or a different deceased former resident of the town of Spoon River, Illinois -- and bracingly blunt in its substance. Some of the deceased admit to having committed murder or adultery; others offer sardonic reflections - all is vanity and chasing the wind. Since then, of course, the themes have become commonplace, and been explored with greater nu ...more
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Edgar Lee Masters (Garnett, Kansas, August 23, 1868 - Melrose Park, Pennsylvania, March 5, 1950) was an American poet, biographer, and dramatist. He is the author of Spoon River Anthology, The New Star Chamber and Other Essays, Songs and Satires, The Great Valley, The Serpent in the Wilderness An Obscure Tale, The Spleen, Mark Twain: A Portrait, Lincoln: The Man, and Illinois Poems. In all, Master ...more
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“To this generation I would say:
Memorize some bit of verse of truth or beauty.”
1077 likes
“To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire--
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.”
71 likes
More quotes…