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Spoon River Anthology - Literary Touchstone Classic Perfect Paperback – January 1, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Prestwick House, Inc. (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580493394
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580493390
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoy this book. It is rather serious, but quite beautiful. I am writing to let others know that this particular kindle edition has serious problems. Every once in a while a poem appears in extremely tiny font. It has nothing to do with the user font adjustments - you cannot adjust this problem away. Furthermore, the formatting is terrible. Line breaks are not coded in properly. I know this because i ultimately tested and bought a different kindle version - these look like poetry, with formatting as intended.

Highly recommend that you buy a different kindle version if you want to kindle this great series of poems.

By the way this is not really simply a series of poems but a developing story, with plot twists, that is formulated as a series of brief epitaphs.
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Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent collection of short prose and monologues. It's the entire collection and not the stage version (the stage version is condensed and doesn't include all the pieces). All the pieces are given by characters who have come back from the grave to tell a short annecdote about themselves while alive. Some are humorous, some are tragic, and some are moralistic. Most characters are fictitious, but some are not. This is a classic peice of work and extremely well written.
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Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
It's wonderful that a new volume of the Spoon River Anthology has been published after many years. The print is excellent, the size is perfect (a trade paperback.) Edgar Lee Masters' characterizations are timeless, insightful, and beautifully written.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
Spoon River is a truly classic collection of creative storytelling and universal emotion. Each character's voice further stimulates the imagination and helps to paint the picture of this fictitious yet very real town. This book is also a gift to actors and theater lovers everywhere. When I was in acting school, I was lucky enough to be assigned the "monologue" of the Lois Spears character (the gratefully blessed blind woman). This was an amazing experience for me as was being introduced to this lovely book.
-Christine Whitmarsh
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read Spoon River when I was 17, in italian, in a very good translation. I was, I may I say, striken. For the first time in my young life poetry meant something to me. All those stories, all those lives, in very short lines, so intense, so sad, deep, pregnant.
Such was the impact that Spoon River had on me that I bought the original version and it was even better.
If you are not italian you might not know one of our best singer, Fabrizio De Andre'. He has re-read Spoon River in one of the best CD I ever know. It's "Non al denaro non all'amore ne' al cielo". Do not worry about the language, which you might not understand, listen to the music, the sound, his voice.
You'll be amazed.
Franca Piattoni
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Format: Perfect Paperback
This really is a classic. Each poem is a person's story, usually one of pain and isolation. It could well serve as the basis for a multi-monologue play. Those who enjoyed this book might want to consider reading Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio." It's prose, but similarly a tale of many characters, who are similarly living lives of pain and isolation.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
There is no Spoon River, IL. Check your map. Several towns argue that they stake their claim in being what Masters asserted to be this mythical town. Petersburg and Lewistown, two towns of otherwise minor repute seem closest... but it is so much better we haven't an actual town... Spoon River's residents are our next door neighbors, whether we live in Central Illinois or Central Florida, or southern Alaska.

Masters has written not fables, but the essence of American life. He hasn't captured the life and times of 1915, but has instead recorded in 1915 the life and times of our present day America.

The same reason the paintings of Norman Rockwell makes sense is why Edgar Lee Masters poetry makes sense. To read the quick messages on the gravestone of one man, learning a little bit him, and something about a neighbor or two, we can learn a little about how we live in communities today.

Our lives, like Jimmy Stewart's character in "It's a Wonderful Life" found out, interact and impact everyone we meet. Who we love, who we should love and who we reject. And when we die, others feel the loss. Masters has aptly put this in a humorous, yet insightful way into short verses.

The poems don't rhyme. The meter is not solid, and the poetics aren't intricate. They aren't poems like Poe's or Dickinson, not in the way they wrote American poems. Don't expect iambic pentameter-based sonnets or villanelles. Expect a conversation, and listen in.

The poetry here is in the subtle use of social nuance. In the nuances are his insight and wit. Two readings will bring to light what you miss in the first.

Buy this book, read it slow. It reads faster than most poetry book, but don't get caught in the temptation to zoom through each poem just because you can.

After you read it, see the play if it happens to be performed in your town.

I fully recommend it.

Anthony Trendl
AmericanSpeechwriter.com
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You won't find Spoon River, Illinois on any map (well, technically there's a Spoon River but it refers to a river and not a town) but it's about as American as you can get.

Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology joins with a handful of other works - notably Thorton Wilder's "Our Town" and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio - as tapestries of America's triumphs and tragedies, it's character and it's occasional flaws. Each of these works - a play, a book of connected short stories and Masters' collection of free-form poems - speak volumes about the American experience.

In Spoon River Anthology Masters lets his characters speak from beyond the grave. In essence, they are writing their own epitaphs with theire joys and tears. With the exception of Anne Rutlegde, the purported first girlfriend of a young Abraham Lincoln, all the characters are fictional, but in a few brief lines Masters is able to give the a voice and let them spring fully fleshed from their graves to recount their lives.

These are not always men and women who have found a source of great profundidty in their lives (though some have managed that feat). Some of them are bitter and complain that their graves are not kept up properly. Others are doomed to forever ponder the choices they made in life. Others are soliders who have seen the follies and the glories of warfare up close. But all are able to teach us something, even if sometimes the lessons are hard.

I've loved this collection every since I first discovered it in high school and even before I re-read Spoon River Anthology I could still recall some of my favorite characters like Fiddler Jones who "ended up with a broken fiddle - and a broken laugh, and a thousand memories, and not a single regret" and Lucinda Matlock's admonishment: "What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness, anger, discontent and drooping hopes? Dengenerate sons and daughters, Life is too strong for you - It takes like to love life."
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Spoon River Anthology - Literary Touchstone Classic
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