THE GIFT OUTRIGHT: America to Her Poets by Helen--Ed. Plotz

THE GIFT OUTRIGHT: America to Her Poets

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A hefty, patriotic collection of poetry about America, less of a piece than Kherdian's accessible, exclusively contemporary Visions of America (1973). Plotz divides her collection thematically (Columbus, Indians, Settlers, Regions, History, and Idea make up the six categories) and within each section she mixes poets of widely divergent time and sensibility. (Though birthdates are given in the appended index, it must be disconcerting to turn unaware from Wallace Stevens direct to Philip Freneau--who is unaccountably allotted four entries.) Avoiding the understandable overemphasis of recent juvenile anthologies on brief, colloquial, vivid imagery, Plotz includes several old classroom stand-bys (Emerson's ""Concord Hymn,"" Holmes' ""Old Ironsides,"" Whitman's ""O Captain,"" part of ""Hiawatha,"" and even ""America the Beautiful"" by one Katherine Lee Bates) along with newer, more modest visions of May Swenson, Lucille Clifton, and Alice Walker. There are relatively sober musings by Richard Eberhart, Robinson Jeffers, Yvor Winters, and others, but except for some routine liberal protest the tone is overwhelmingly positive: Plotz ends with Updike's nostalgic ""Don't read your reviews,/A*M*E*R*I*C*A/ you are the only land"" and a ""yes, yes, yes, yes"" from Marianne Moore. Otherwise it's a collection as motley as Americans and as resistant to a melting-pot characterization.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1977
Publisher: Greenwillow