American Poetry, edited by John Hollander
This must surely be the most comprehensive anthology of 19th-century American poetry ever published. It comprises over 1,000 poems by almost 150 poets, and it does everything a definitive edition should do, and then some. True to the mandate of the Library of America, the poet and critic John Hollander has sought to establish authoritative texts, and has also provided detailed chronologies, biographies, and notes, creating an anthology at once pleasurable and educational, of use both to the general reader and the scholar.
The two now indisputably world-class poets that this era produced, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, are amply represented, of course, but so are those venerable, three-pronged names familiar from grade-school days: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and other poets who were left behind in the wake of modernism but who once formed the literary backbone of their time.
About the Author
Carol Iannone reviewed Wendy Wasserstein’s Elements of Style in the September 2006 COMMENTARY.