The collection of American Poetry begins with early Colonial poems such as John Wilson's 'A Song of Thanksgiving for the Lasting Remembrance of God's Wonderful Works' (1603), William Morrell's 'New England' (1625) and the complete works of Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor, and continues through to early twentieth-century writers such as Adelaide Crapsey and Vachel Lindsay. For the first time, major canonical poets, such as Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman and Herman Melville, and important literary groups, such as the Transcendentalists and the Knickerbocker school, can be read alongside substantial bodies of work by less familiar names such as Elizabeth Akers Allen, Richard Emmons, Lemuel Hopkins and Emma Lazarus.
Only a single version of each poem usually appears. Exceptions to this rule have been made for significant revisions to major works; for example, five editions of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass have been included (from 1855, 1856, 1860, 1872 and 1891). Four major anthologies published before 1840 appear in their entirety, these include: American Poems, Selected and Original (1793)
Specimens of American Poetry, ed. S. Kettel (1829)
American Commonplace Book of Poetry, ed. G.B. Cheever (1831) Selections from the American Poets, ed. W.C. Bryant (1840)
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