Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

American Rhyme and Reason

Walt Whitman's use of free verse became apprec...

Walt Whitman’s use of free verse became appreciated by composers seeking a more fluid approach to setting text. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In researching  material for upcoming National Poetry Month posts I came across an article which got me thinking on a couple of different levels.

First of all, how is it possible to narrow the immense possibilities to ten?

Secondly, the article is written from a British standpoint–is that observation, compliment, or review?

After perusing the list I find myself nodding to a couple of the choices, being perplexed at a one or two, and adding the others to my “must read.”

What are your votes and opinions?  Would you name these as “The 10 best American poems”? (click on “article” and read the reason and rhyme of each mentioned)

1.  “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman

2.  “The Idea of Order at Key West” by Wallace Stevens

3.  “Because I could not stop for death” by Emily Dickinson

4. “Directive” by Robert Frost

5. “Middle Passage” by Robert Hayden

6. “The Dry Salvages” by T.S. Eliot

7. “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop

8. “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Ann Bradstreet

9. “Memories of West Street and Lepke” by Robert Lowell

10.  “And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name” by John Ashberry

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7 thoughts on “American Rhyme and Reason

  1. Reading that list is like reading a list of the top 10 rock & roll songs….seems like the same titles always pop up on every list doesn’t it?

    Personally, I’m a big fan of Carl Sandburg, how bout this one as my #7

    Cups of Coffee

    THE HAGGARD woman with a hacking cough and a deathless love whispers of white
    flowers … in your poem you pour like a cup of coffee, Gabriel.

    The slim girl whose voice was lost in the waves of flesh piled on her bones … and
    the woman who sold to many men and saw her breasts shrivel … in two poems you
    pour these like a cup of coffee, Francois.

    The woman whose lips are a thread of scarlet, the woman whose feet take hold on
    hell, the woman who turned to a memorial of salt looking at the lights of a
    forgotten city … in your affidavits, ancient Jews, you pour these like cups of

    The woman who took men as snakes take rabbits, a rag and a bone and a hank of
    hair, she whose eyes called men to sea dreams and shark’s teeth … in a poem you
    pour this like a cup of coffee, Kip.

    Marching to the footlights in night robes with spots of blood, marching in white
    sheets muffling the faces, marching with heads in the air they come back and
    cough and cry and sneer:… in your poems, men, you pour these like cups of coffee.

  2. Pingback: David Reads The Dalliance of the Eagles, by Walt Whitman | The Dad Poet

  3. I love Walt Whitman so much! Song of Myself definitely deserves to be number one 🙂

  4. Hey! I just stumbled onto your blog but I’m glad I did, I’m definitely following! I’m really loving all of the poetry on everyone’s blogs right now! Great choices! “Directive” by Robert Frost is one of my all time favorites.

    • I’m a Frost fan too! Thanks for the follow and enjoy Poetry Month. I usually don’t post every day, but it’s hard to resist being it’s NPM. I’ll swing on by your blog today.
      Blue Skies
      Cricket Muse

  5. Pingback: Coming to Terms with Poetry | cricketmuse

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