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date: 09 June 2023


The Oxford Companion to United States History
Donald D. KummingsDonald D. Kummings

American poetry, the history of which spans more than 350 years, is notable for its variety, energy, contrarian tendencies, and feistiness. True, the earliest verse was imitative and derivative, displaying a heavy reliance on British prosody, diction, and verse forms (particularly pastorals, odes, elegies, epistles, and satires). By the nineteenth century, however, poets were expressing an emergent national identity and making significant strides toward liberating themselves from foreign models. By the twentieth century, American poetry commanded international attention and respect, for it had attained a high level of quality—indeed, had achieved parity among the world's poetries, including European poetry.... ...

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