Singing America: Poems That Define a Nation

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9780670861507: Singing America: Poems That Define a Nation
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A multicultural collection of poems revealing the American experience includes Native American and other traditional poems as well as the work of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and many others

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From Booklist:

Gr. 7^-12. Like Celebrate America: In Poetry and Art, edited by Nora Panzer (1994), this spaciously designed anthology brings together great poems that express the diversity of the American experience through history. In a fine introduction, Philip traces two dominant influences who broke with polite literary tradition and wrote with the urgency of the speaking voice: the very public Whitman (who encouraged poets "to speak up and speak out" ) and the very private Dickinson (for whom a poem was "perhaps, a message in a bottle" ). The selections show an American tradition that is multicultural but not homogeneous ("Shove your old pot," says Dudley Randall of his exclusion from the melting pot). However, some of the language may be considered insensitive by contemporary standards. There are folk songs and traditional poems (from "Jesse James" to "No More Auction Block" ) and many old favorites (Sandburg's "Chicago," Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" ), but Philip has also included some wonderful old and new poems that are less commonly anthologized. McCurdy's bold, beautiful woodcuts, many depicting people at work, extend the energy and individuality of the words. Hazel Rochman

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6 Up?Philip has gathered American poetry that vividly comes together to "define a nation" in this eclectic anthology. The strength and clarity of McCurdy's woodcuts intensify that definition. Sandwiched between Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" are poems that give voice to immigrants, African Americans, Native Americans, the poor, migrant workers, miners, pioneers, and myriad others that make up this nation. There are oft-heard verses, but the less well-known works create the attraction here. The collection celebrates the contributions of different groups; relates the suffering inflicted by nature or one ethnic group on another; and just talks about a Sunday walk, or the wonders of ice cream and peaches. The uncluttered presentation allows for readers' absorption in each offering. There is ample opportunity for choral reading and reading aloud. The book's theme echoes that of America Forever New (Crowell, 1968; o.p.), compiled by Sara and John E. Brewton, but Philip goes beyond that title. A striking addition.?Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Philip, Neil
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