Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “100 Essential American Poems” as Want to Read:
100 Essential American Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

100 Essential American Poems

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  64 Ratings  ·  15 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
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about 100 Essential American Poems, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about 100 Essential American Poems

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 107)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 24, 2012 Jamie rated it really liked it
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
Jan 26, 2011 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
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
Nov 02, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
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
Apr 11, 2013 Alex Sommers rated it liked it
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.
May 15, 2012 Ginger rated it really liked it
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
Jul 11, 2014 Sarah Key rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
A collection I probably recited in the second grade at the elementary school Veteran's Day Program.
Well, doesn't time get away from us. I finished reading this at the end of August, and just now am getting around to writing a review.
All in all, this was a decent, but not fantastic anthology. It purports to be the 100 most important American poems, and I am willing to say that it may well be that. Not the 100 best--it contains some of my absolute least favorite work ("Casey at the Bat", anything by Robert Service)--but even the poems that I want to dismiss as cheap doggerel have had a lasting
Hayley Jones
Jun 05, 2014 Hayley Jones rated it really liked it
Cool anthology.
Aug 30, 2009 Megan rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 24, 2012 Tiffany rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry

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
Aug 19, 2010 Kirsten Kinnell rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
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.
May 13, 2009 Barb rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish, poetry
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.
Jun 23, 2009 Liza rated it liked it
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.
May 17, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
Learned a lot.
This is worth an annual reading.
Gully Burns
Gully Burns marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2016
Laura rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2016
Matty Pahren
Matty Pahren marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2016
Alyssa added it
Jul 08, 2016
Cathleen Anthony
Cathleen Anthony marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2016
Emily G
Emily G rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2016
Lauren rated it it was amazing
Aug 12, 2016
Sylwia marked it as to-read
Apr 03, 2016
Kimberly rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2016
Aprile rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2016
Edith Quintanilla
Edith Quintanilla is currently reading it
Feb 17, 2016
katie added it
Feb 15, 2016
Eloise rated it it was ok
Feb 07, 2016
Katie added it
Jan 16, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book