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 day. 100 Essential American Poems includes fondly remembered works by such familiar figures as Longfellow, Poe, and Whitman, and popular classics like “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and “Casey at the Bat,” but it also features passionate outcries from poets like Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes that highlight our ongoing national racial tensions, and poems by such women as Anne Bradstreet, Emily Dickinson, and Edna St. Vincent Millay that supply a distinctly female perspective on American life. Also included are the lyrics of such expressions of the American spirit as “Yankee Doodle,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “This Land Is Your Land,” in addition to a few surprises! The immortal poems and songs included here, each preceded by an illuminating headnote, will remind every reader of the richness and variety of the poetry of America and its people.
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