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Spoon River Anthology - Literary Touchstone Classic Perfect Paperback – January 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have this particular volume on my Kindle and some of the poems are unreadable because of the size and the font used. Read morePublished 10 months ago by LMFChicago
It's a great book. However, I ordered a total of four books and Amazon cramped them all into a tiny box so it came in with creases on eh cover and bent corners and it's a brand new... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Sara
If you are from a small close knit community, you will recognize these classic characters that never change. I grew up in the Spoon River country and have worked across the USA. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Alan Hummel
Replaces a long-lost volume, a book I first picked up 50 years ago in high school and reread over the years. My understanding of the poems has changed, but not my appreciation. Read morePublished on August 7, 2013 by daylily12