100 Essential American Poems
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100 Essential American Poems

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The way we view our nation---its history, its traditions, even our distinctly American voice---is largely determined by our literature. In this rewarding and thought-provoking book are gathered poems that have been essential components of our common American culture, from the earliest days of our nation through canonic works of the nineteenth century and up to the present...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Thomas Dunne Books
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So many great poems in here! Many that I can't believe I'd never read before. But then, I'm definitely a newbie to poetry appreciation.

I enjoyed the book. But even as someone who doesn't know a lot about poetry, some of the choices seemed like odd ones to me. I thought that the author seemed a bit slanted toward including ones about death, non-mainstream religions, and lesbianism, but maybe that was just me. Anyway, I thought many of them were fantastic and I appreciated the introduction. It was...more
I know I'm supposed to like poetry. And I do like some of it. But even though I know the poems in this book were essential to the making of America, I felt like I had to slog through a good portion of them (Walt Whitman, Vachel Lindsay and others) to get to the good stuff.

Poetry is best read aloud, so I sat on the couch mumbling the words to myself. As I did, I fell in love with several works in this book: Edgar Allen Poe (wow, I loved The Bells!), Emily Dickensen and Hugh Antoine D'Arcy (Face o...more
Nov 02, 2009 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
A good read!

Some of my favorites in this book:

Amazing Grace by John Newton
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key
A Visit from St. Nicholas (Twas the Night Before Christmas) by Clement Clarke Moore
Paul Revere's Ride by Longfellow
The Raven by Poe
Battle-Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe
Go Down, Moses
Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson
Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer
Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson
This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
Alex Sommers
Nearly all the famous ones in here. Lovely compilation. Something that really takes the open and willing mind and gives it a spin towards a new way of seeing things. This is a small book full of some of the truest artists we've had the pleasure of knowing. And they all either relished life or hated it with a fiery passion...just as I do both.
This is a great collection a poems. I'd heard of most of the poets and poems who were included and felt well-rounded as I read through them.
Sarah Key
A collection I probably recited in the second grade at the elementary school Veteran's Day Program.
Hayley Jones
Cool anthology.
This was a wonderful overview of American poetry, including some that we've all read in school, some song lyrics, some famous poems I've never really read, and more. It's not comprehensive, but it's an effective look at the styles and themes of American poetry over the centuries.

This was a good collection of classic poems. It extended pretty far back historically and was interesting for that reason, but it doesn't really represent the state of contemporary poetry. Also, I felt the book glossed over several important American poems.
Kirsten Kinnell
This certainly isn't the 100 *best* American poems. I found the discussion about what made these poems essentially American to be somewhat interesting, but the selection was strange, I thought.
At the beginning of the poems in this book are short introductions to put the poem in context. This book is an interesting starting point for jumping into poetry, but not essential.
Most of these poems we read at some point in high school. I'm re-discovering some of the ones I really like and reading a few for the first time that I also really like.
Tiphanie Neely
I think my favourite is The Waste Land by Thomas Stearns Eliot. A bit longish, but haunting and beautiful all the same.
Learned a lot.
This is worth an annual reading.
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