We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Anthology of Modern American Poetry

Volume 1

Second Edition

Edited by Cary Nelson

Publication Date - July 2014

ISBN: 9780199920723

880 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

An anthology as diverse as American poetry itself


Anthology of Modern American Poetry, Second Edition, contains poems by more than ninety American poets born before 1910, including many who have not been anthologized before. Editor Cary Nelson introduces students to a diverse selection of vital poetry, presenting both canonical and lesser-known selections by women, minority, Native American, and progressive writers only rediscovered in the past two decades. In addition to offering the most detailed annotations available in an anthology of this type and selected poems in the beautifully illustrated form in which they first appeared, this is also the first collection to give full treatment to American long poems and poem sequences.

Ideal for courses in Modern American Poetry, American Literature, Modern Poetry, and American Studies, Anthology of Modern American Poetry introduces students our diverse poetic heritage.

New to this Edition

  • A topical table of contents
  • New poems, poets, and translations and expanded selections
  • Previously unpublished and rarely anthologized works
  • New and expanded sections featuring beautifully illustrated poems
  • Cary Nelson's world-famous and influential MAPS website, comprised of readings and historical background, can be found at

About the Author(s)

Cary Nelson is Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author or editor of 28 books, including Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and The Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945 (1989), which helped revolutionize the study of American poetry.

Previous Publication Date(s)

January 2000


"The Anthology of Modern American Poetry is one of the few anthologies that covers such a diverse group of poets and styles. It allows students to see contemporary poets working in traditional forms and experimentation, and it showcases poets from a wide range of ethnicities, socio-economic groups, and American geographies. Like America itself, this anthology shows how diverse groups of individuals influence and inform each other in heartbreakingly beautiful ways."--Siân Griffiths, Weber State University

Table of Contents

    Topical Table of Contents
    WALT WHITMAN (1819-1892)
    ---One's Self I Sing
    ---I Hear America Singing
    ---As Adam Early in the Morning
    ---For You O Democracy
    ---I Hear It Was Charged Against Me
    ---A Glimpse
    ---Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night
    ---Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
    ---The White Man's Burden
    EMILY DICKINSON (1830-1886)
    ---49 (I never lost as much but twice)
    ---258 There's a certain Slant of light,)
    ---280 (I felt a Funeral, in my Brain)
    ---303 (The Soul selects her own Society)
    ---341 (After great pain, a formal feeling comes--)
    ---435 (Much madness is divinest sense)
    ---465 (I heard a Fly buzz--when I died--)
    ---508 (I'm ceded--I've stopped being Theirs)
    ---520 (I started Early--Took my Dog--)
    ---585 (I like to see it lap the Miles--)
    ---601 (A still--Volcano--Life--)
    ---613 (They shut me up in Prose)
    ---657 (I dwell in Possibility--)
    ---712 (Because I could not stop for Death)
    ---754 (My Life had stood----a Loaded Gun--)
    ---1072 Title divine--is mine!)
    ---1129 (Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--)
    ---1705 (Volcanoes be in Sicily)
    EDWIN MARKHAM (1852-1940)
    ---The Man With the Hoe
    ---A Look Into the Gulf
    SADAKICHI HARTMANN (1867-1944)
    ---Cyanogen Seas Are Surging
    ---Tanka I
    ---Tanka III
    EDGAR LEE MASTERS (1868-1950)
    ---Lucinda Matlock
    ---Petit, the Poet
    ---Seth Compton
    ---Trainor, the Druggist
    ---Minerva Jones
    ---Cleanthus Trilling
    W. E. B. DU BOIS (1868-1963)
    ---The Song of the Smoke
    ---The House on the Hill
    ---Richard Cory
    ---The Clerks
    ---Miniver Cheevy
    ---The Mill
    ---Mr. Flood's Party
    ---The Tree in Pamela's Garden
    ---The Dark Hills
    STEPHEN CRANE (1871-1900)
    ---In the Desert
    ---Many Red Devils Ran from My Heart
    ---A Newspaper Is a Collection of Half-Injustices
    ---Do Not Weep, Maiden, for War Is Kind
    ---Do not weep, babe, for war is kind
    JAMES WELDON JOHNSON (1871-1938)
    ---O Black and Unknown Bards
    ---The Creation
    ---The White Witch
    ---My City
    PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR (1872-1906)
    ---We Wear the Mask
    ---When Malindy Sings
    ---The Haunted Oak
    ALEXANDER POSEY (1873-1908)
    ---The Decree
    ---On the Capture and Imprisonment of Crazy Snake, January 1901
    ---The Fall of the Redskin
    LOLA RIDGE (1873-1941)
    ---Stone Face
    ---from Ice Heart
    AMY LOWELL (1874-1925)
    ---A Fixed Idea
    ---from Sea-Blue and Blood-Red
    ---------- The Mediterranean
    ---from Spring Day
    ---------- Midday and Afternoon
    ---Thompson's Lunch Room--Grand Central Station
    ---The Taxi
    ---September, 1918
    ---The Letter
    ---Venus Transiens
    ---Madonna of the Evening Flowers
    ---The Weather-Cock Points South
    ---Grotesque`---------------------------------The Sisters
    GERTRUDE STEIN (1874-1946)
    ---Susie Asado
    ---Patriarchal Poetry
    ROBERT FROST (1874-1963)
    ---The Mill City
    ---The Parlor Joke
    ---In Hardwood Groves
    ---Mending Wall
    ---Home Burial
    ---After Apple-Picking
    ---The Wood-Pile
    ---The Road Not Taken
    ---The Death of the Hired Man
    ---The Vanishing Red
    ---Putting in the Seed
    ---Out, Out
    ---Hyla Brook
    ---The Oven Bird
    ---An Old Man's Winter Night
    ---The Hill Wife
    ---Fire and Ice
    ---Good-By and Keep Cold
    ---The Need of Being Versed In Country Things
    ---The Witch of Coös
    ---Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    ----------Nothing Gold Can Stay
    ----------Neither Out Far Nor In Deep
    ---Provide, Provide
    ---Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same
    ---The Gift Outright
    ALICE DUNBAR-NELSON (1875-1935)
    ---I Sit and Sew
    CARL SANDBURG (1878-1967)
    ---Child of the Romans
    ---Planked Whitefish
    ---Cool Tombs
    ---Elizabeth Umpstead
    ---Man, The Man-Hunter
    ---Two Humpties
    VACHEL LINDSAY (1879-1931)
    ---The Congo
    ---The Child-heart in the Mountains
    ---Celestial Flowers of Glacier Park
    ---The Virginians Are Coming Again
    ---Words About An Ancient Queen
    WALLACE STEVENS (1879-1955)
    ---Domination of Black
    ---Sea Surface Full of Clouds
    ---Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
    ---Tea at the Palaz of Hoon
    ---Floral Decoration for Bananas
    ---Anecdote of the Jar
    ---Disillusionment of Ten O'clock
    ---A High-Toned Old Christian Woman
    ---The Snow Man
    ---The Emperor of Ice-Cream
    ---Peter Quince at the Clavier
    ---Sunday Morning
    ---The Death of a Soldier
    ---The Idea of Order at Key West
    ---Mozart, 1935
    ---A Postcard from the Volcano
    ---Study of Two Pears
    ---Of Modern Poetry
    ---The Course of a Particular
    ---Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour
    ---The Plain Sense of Things
    ---As You Leave the Room
    ---A Clear Day and No Memories
    ---Of Mere Being
    ANGELINA WELD GRIMKÉ (1880-1958)
    ---The Black Finger
    ---A Mona Lisa
    ---The Heart of a Woman
    ---Common Dust
    ---My Little Dreams
    MINA LOY (1882-1966)
    ---(There is No Life or Death)
    ---O Hell
    ---Songs to Joannes
    ANNE SPENCER (1882-1975)
    ---White Things
    ---Lady, Lady
    ---(God never planted a garden)
    ---The Young Housewife
    ---Portrait of a Lady
    ---The Widow's Lament in Springtime
    ---The Great Figure
    ---Spring and All
    ---To Elsie
    ---The Red Wheelbarrow
    ---Young Sycamore
    ---The Descent of Winter
    ---This is Just to Say
    ---Proletarian Portrait
    ---The Yachts
    ---The Dance
    ---The Descent
    ---Asphodel, That Greeny Flower, Book I
    ---Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
    ARSENIUS CHALECO (1884-1939)
    ---The Indian Requiem
    SARA TEASDALE (1884-1933)
    ---I Shall Not Care
    ---Spring in the Naugatuck Valley
    ---There Will Come Soft Rains
    ---The Unchanging
    ELINOR WYLIE (1885-1928)
    ---The Eagle and the Mole
    ---Let No Charitable Hope
    EZRA POUND (1885-1972)
    ---A Pact
    ---In a Station of the Metro
    ---The Rest
    ---Portrait d'une Femme
    ---The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter
    ---from THE CANTOS:
    ------I (And then went down to the ship)
    ------IX (One year floods rose)
    ------XLV (With Usura)
    ------LXXXI (Zeus lies in Ceres' bosom)
    ------CXVI (Came Neptunus)
    ------Notes for CXVII (I have tried to write paradise)
    H. D. (HILDA DOOLITTLE) (1886-1961)
    ---The Pool
    ---Sea Rose
    ---The Helmsman
    ---from The Walls Do Not Fall
    ROBINSON JEFFERS (1887-1962)
    ---Shine, Perishing Republic
    ---Fawn's Foster-Mother
    ---Hurt Hawks
    ---November Surf
    ---The Purse-Seine
    ----------Birds and Fishes
    ---Fire on the Hills
    ---(I saw a regiment of soldiers)
    ---An Extinct Vertebrate
    ---(I walk on my cliff)
    ---The Epic Stars
    MARIANNE MOORE (1887-1972)
    ---Black Earth
    ----------An Egyptian Pulled Glass Bottle in the Shape of a Fish
    ---The Fish
    ----------Sojourn in the Whale
    ---A Graveyard
    ---An Octopus
    ---No Swan So Fine
    ---The Pangolin
    ---The Paper Nautilus
    ---Spenser's Ireland
    T. S. ELIOT (1888-1965)
    ---The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
    ---The Waste Land
    ---The Hollow Men
    ---Journey of the Magi
    ---from Four Quartets:
    ------Burnt Norton
    JOHN CROWE RANSOM (1888-1974)
    ---Sonnets of a Selfish Lover
    ---Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter
    CLAUDE McKAY (1889-1948)
    ---The Harlem Dancer
    ---To The White Fiends
    ---If We Must Die
    ---The Lynching
    ---The Tropics in New York
    ---The White City
    ---The Negro's Tragedy
    ---Look Within
    EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY (1892-1950)
    ---First Fig
    ---Second Fig
    ---I, Being Born a Woman and Distressed
    ---Love is not blind
    ---Oh, oh, you will be sorry for that word!
    ---Sonnets from an Ungrafted Tree
    ---Justice Denied in Massachusetts
    ---Say That We Saw Spain Die
    ARCHIBALD MacLEISH (1892-1982)
    ---Ars Poetica
    ---The Silent Slain
    ---The End of the World
    DOROTHY PARKER (1893-1967)
    ---Unfortunate Coincidence
    ---One Perfect Rose
    ---Thomas Carlyle
    ---Walter Savage Landor
    ---News Item
    ---The Dark Girl's Rhyme
    GENEVIEVE TAGGARD (1894-1948)
    ---Everyday Alchemy
    ---With Child
    ---Up State
    ---Mill Town
    ---Ode in Time of Crisis
    ---To the Negro People
    ---To the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
    E. E. CUMMINGS (1894-1962)
    ---Thy fingers make early flowers of
    ---in Just-
    ---O sweet spontaneous
    ---Buffalo Bill's
    ---Poem, or Beauty Hurts Mr. Vinal
    ---"next to of course god america i
    ---my sweet old etcetera
    ---i sing of Olaf glad and big
    ---Space being(don't forget to remember)Curved
    ---anyone lived in a pretty how town
    JEAN TOOMER (1894-1967)
    ---from Cane:
    ------November Cotton Flower
    ------Portrait in Georgia
    ------Her Lips Are Copper Wire
    CHARLES REZNIKOFF (1894-1976)
    ---Aphrodite Vraina
    ---(On Brooklyn Bridge, I Saw a Man Drop Dead)
    ---(I Walked through the Lonely Marsh)
    ---from Testimony: The United States (1885-1915):
    ---from Holocaust:
    HERMAN SPECTOR (1895-1959)
    ---Wiseguy Type
    V. J. JEROME (1896-1965)
    ---A Negro Mother to Her Child
    JOHN WHEELWRIGHT (1897-1940)
    ---Plantation Drouth
    ---Cross Questions
    JOSEPH FREEMAN (1897-1965)
    ---Our age has Caesars
    LUCIA TRENT (1897-1977)
    ---Breed, Women, Breed
    ---Black Men
    ---Parade the Narrow Turrets
    LOUISE BOGAN (1897-1970)
    ---The Crows
    ---The Alchemist
    ---The Dragonfly
    ---Songs of the Spavinaw
    HARRY CROSBY (1898-1929)
    ---Photoheliograph (For Lady A.)
    ---Pharmacie Du Soleil
    ---from Short Introduction to the Word
    HART CRANE (1899-1932)
    ---Black Tambourine
    ----------Episode of Hands
    ----------Porphyro in Akron
    ---Voyages I
    ---from The Bridge
    ------Poem: to Brooklyn Bridge
    --------------------I Ave Maria
    --------------------from II (Powhatan's Daughter): The River
    --------------------IV Cape Hatteras
    --------------------from V (Three Songs): Southern Cross
    --------------------VI Quaker Hill
    --------------------VIII Atlantis
    ---The Mango Tree
    LYNN RIGGS (1899-1954)
    ---The Corrosive Season
    ALLEN TATE (1899-1979)
    ---Ode to the Confederate Dead
    MELVIN B. TOLSON (1900?-1966)
    ---Dark Symphony
    ---Libretto for the Republic of Liberia
    YVOR WINTERS (1900-1968)
    ---Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
    ---Vacant Lot
    STERLING A. BROWN (1901-1989)
    ---Southern Road
    ---Scotty Has His Say
    ---Memphis Blues
    ---Slim in Atlanta
    ---Slim in Hell
    ---Rent Day Blues
    ---Old Lem
    ---Southern Cop
    LAURA (RIDING) JACKSON (1901-1991)
    ---Helen's Burning
    ---The Wind Suffers
    ---Elegy in a Spider's Web
    ---The Map of Places
    KENNETH FEARING (1902-1961)
    ---Dear Beatrice Fairfax
    LANGSTON HUGHES (1902-1967)
    ---The Negro Speaks of Rivers
    ---The Weary Blues
    ---The Cat and the Saxophone (2 a.m.)
    ---To the Dark Mercedes of "El Palacio de Amor"
    ---White Shadows
    ---Christ in Alabama
    ---Three Songs About Lynching:
    ------Lynching Song
    ---Come to the Waldorf-Astoria
    ---Goodbye Christ
    ---Ballad of Roosevelt
    ---Park Bench
    ---Let America Be America Again
    ---Letter from Spain
    ---The Bitter River
    ---Ku Klux
    ---Shakespeare in Harlem
    ---Madam and the Phone Bill
    ---Ballad of the Landlord
    ---Late Corner
    ---Dinner Guest: Me
    ---The Backlash Blues
    ---Bombings in Dixie
    ARNA BONTEMPS (1902-1973)
    ---A Black Man Talks of Reaping
    ---Southern Mansion
    GWENDOLYN BENNETT (1902-1981)
    ---To a Dark Girl
    ---Street Lamps in Early Spring
    ---Dirge for a Free Spirit
    ---I Build America
    ---(Rapacious women who sit on steps at night)
    COUNTEE CULLEN (1903-1946)
    ---Christ Recrucified
    ----------In Praise of Boys
    ---For a Lady I Know
    ---Yet Do I Marvel
    ---Near White
    ---From the Dark Tower
    LORINE NIEDECKER (1903-1970)
    ---Well, Spring Overflows the Land
    ---Paean to Place
    ---Poet's work
    KAY BOYLE (1903-1993)
    ---A Communication to Nancy Cunard
    CARL RAKOSI (1903-2004)
    ---The Menage
    AQUA LALUAH (1904-1950)
    ---The Serving Girl
    LOUIS ZUKOFSKY (1904-1978)
    ---To My Wash Stand
    ---A Song for the Year's End
    ---Because Tarzan Triumphs (from Light)
    ---Non Ti Fidar
    JOHN BEECHER (1904-1980)
    ---Report to the Stockholders
    ---Beaufort Tides
    ---Engagement at the Salt Fork
    ---A Veteran's Day of Recollection
    KENNETH REXROTH (1905-1982)
    ---The Love Poems of Marichiko
    ROBERT PENN WARREN (1905-1989)
    ---Bearded Oaks
    ---Mother Makes the Biscuits
    ---Chain Saw at Dawn in Vermont in Time of Drouth
    ---Natural History
    ---Evening Hawk
    ---Heart of Autumn
    STANLEY KUNITZ (1905-2006)
    ---The Wellfleet Whale
    ---The Snakes of September
    ---Day of Foreboding
    ---Touch Me
    JOSEPH KALAR (1906-1972)
    ---Prosperity Blues: Minnesota
    W. H. AUDEN (1907-1973)
    ---Musée des Beaux Arts
    ---In Memory of W. B. Yeats
    ---September 1, 1939
    ---The Shield of Achilles
    THEODORE ROETHKE (1908-1963)
    ---Cuttings (later)
    ---Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, and Frau Schwartze
    ---from The Lost Son:
    ------The Flight
    ---My Papa's Waltz
    ---I Knew a Woman
    ---North American Sequence:
    ------The Longing
    ------Meditation at Oyster River
    ------Journey to the Interior
    ------The Long Waters
    ------The Far Field
    ------The Rose
    GEORGE OPPEN (1908-1984)
    ---Image of the Engine
    ---Survival: Infantry
    ---In Alsace
    EDWIN ROLFE (1909-1954)
    ---Season of Death
    ---First Love
    ---After Tu Fu (A.D. 713-770)
    ---Now the Fog
    ---A Letter to the Denouncers
    ---Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
    ---A Poem to Delight My Friends Who Laugh at Science-Fiction
    ---In Praise Of
    ---June 19,1953
    ---Little Ballad for Americans----1954
    SOL FUNAROFF (1911-1942)
    ---Unemployed: 2 A.M.
    ---The Man At The Factory Gate
    ----------The Bull in the Olive Field
    ---Goin Mah Own Road
    MURIEL RUKEYSER (1913-1980)
    ---The Book of the Dead
    ---The Minotaur
    ---(To be a Jew in the Twentieth century)
    ---The Poem As Mask
    ---Poem (I lived in the first century of world wars)
    ---Poem White Page/ White Page Poem
    ---Instead of remaining a citizen of China
    ---The seascape, resembling lichen, undulates endlessly
    ---Putting away my books and my inkstone
    ---Drifting like duckweed
    ---I write this poem to let my dear wife know
    ---The silver-red shirt is half covered with dust
    ---Over a hundred poems are on the walls
    ---What have I done that I must sit in jail?
    ---Unoccupied, I opened the window of the wooden building
    ---Angel Island's three-beamed building shields only the body
    ---Twice I have crossed the blue ocean
    ---The dragon out of water is humiliated by ants
    ---The Flowery Flag will be taken down for ours to hoist
    ---I advise you never to sneak across the border for America
    ---The blue ocean surrounds a lone mountain
    ---America has power, but not justice
    WWI in Britain and Ireland:
    WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS (1865-1939)
    ---An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
    ---The Second Coming
    EDWARD THOMAS (1878-1917)
    ---February Afternoon
    SIEGFRIED SASSOON (1886-1967)
    ---The Rear Guard
    ---Repression of War Experience
    ---The General
    ISAAC ROSENBERG (1890-1918)
    ---Break of Day in the Trenches
    ---Dead Man's Dump
    WILFRED OWEN (1893-1918)
    ---Anthem for Doomed Youth
    ---Dulce et Decorum Est
    ---The Man With the Hoe
    ---Drink for Sale
    ---The Virginians Are Coming Again
    ---Christ in Alabama
    ---Come to the Waldorf-Astoria