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Spoon River Anthology

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From spoonriveranthology.net: "Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology was an immediate commercial success when it was published in 1915. Unconventional in both style and content, it shattered the myths of small town American life. A collection of epitaphs of residents of a small town, a full understanding of Spoon River requires the reader to piece together narratives f From spoonriveranthology.net: "Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology was an immediate commercial success when it was published in 1915. Unconventional in both style and content, it shattered the myths of small town American life. A collection of epitaphs of residents of a small town, a full understanding of Spoon River requires the reader to piece together narratives from fragments contained in individual poems."

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From spoonriveranthology.net: "Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology was an immediate commercial success when it was published in 1915. Unconventional in both style and content, it shattered the myths of small town American life. A collection of epitaphs of residents of a small town, a full understanding of Spoon River requires the reader to piece together narratives f From spoonriveranthology.net: "Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology was an immediate commercial success when it was published in 1915. Unconventional in both style and content, it shattered the myths of small town American life. A collection of epitaphs of residents of a small town, a full understanding of Spoon River requires the reader to piece together narratives from fragments contained in individual poems."

30 review for Spoon River Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Majenta

    If you liked Fannie Flagg's THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING, Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN, and/or Virginia Woolf's THE WAVES, you might like this. I read this because of THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING. Thanks for reading....and listening!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Edgar Lee Masters was the first poet whose poetry I loved with my whole heart. My high opinion of his work has never changed, notwithstanding the fact that he hasn't been cool for 50 years, if ever. Ha! Neither have I.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, published in 1915, is a unique literary experience. A collection of inter-related free-form poems, each title a person’s name, and each person a resident of the town cemetery. Masters has each relate a short story; some folks talk about their life, many about the circumstances of their death. Husbands and wives relate different perspectives of the same events, lovers and soldiers tell of their history, and each is a distinct, poetic voice. Masters begins Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, published in 1915, is a unique literary experience. A collection of inter-related free-form poems, each title a person’s name, and each person a resident of the town cemetery. Masters has each relate a short story; some folks talk about their life, many about the circumstances of their death. Husbands and wives relate different perspectives of the same events, lovers and soldiers tell of their history, and each is a distinct, poetic voice. Masters begins his anthology with “The Hill” a setting for the pageant of ghostly visits to come: “Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,
 The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
 All, all are sleeping on the hill.
 One passed in a fever,
 One was burned in a mine,
 One was killed in a brawl,
 One died in a jail,
 One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife—
 All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
 Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,
 The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?—
 All, all are sleeping on the hill.
 One died in shameful child-birth,
 One of a thwarted love,
 One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,
 One of a broken pride, in the search for heart’s desire;
 One after life in far-away London and Paris
 Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag—
 All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
 Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily,
 And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,
 And Major Walker who had talked
 With venerable men of the revolution?—
 All, all are sleeping on the hill.
 They brought them dead sons from the war,
 And daughters whom life had crushed,
 And their children fatherless, crying—
 All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
 Where is Old Fiddler Jones
 Who played with life all his ninety years,
 Braving the sleet with bared breast,
 Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
 Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
 Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,
 Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary’s Grove,
 Of what Abe Lincoln said
 One time at Springfield” The reader comes away from this two hundred odd visits with the dead of the small town of Spoon River, Illinois with a distinctively American vision of our culture before 1915; many of the poems are from those who died in or before the Civil War. I was reminded of Thornton Wilder's play Our Town and the final act when the dead stand stoically in their graves and observe the procession of living before them. Exceptional in quality and unparalleled in vision and dramatic design, Master’s Anthology is an early twentieth century treasure of American literature.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chiara Pagliochini

    « Molte volte ho studiato la lapide che mi hanno scolpito: una barca con vele ammainate, in un porto. In realtà non è questa la mia destinazione ma la mia vita. Perché l’amore mi si offrì e io mi ritrassi dal suo inganno; il dolore bussò alla mia porta, e io ebbi paura; l’ambizione mi chiamò, ma io temetti gli imprevisti. Malgrado tutto avevo fame di un significato nella vita. E adesso so che bisogna alzare le vele e prendere i venti del destino, dovunque spingano la barca. Dare un senso alla vita può « Molte volte ho studiato la lapide che mi hanno scolpito: una barca con vele ammainate, in un porto. In realtà non è questa la mia destinazione ma la mia vita. Perché l’amore mi si offrì e io mi ritrassi dal suo inganno; il dolore bussò alla mia porta, e io ebbi paura; l’ambizione mi chiamò, ma io temetti gli imprevisti. Malgrado tutto avevo fame di un significato nella vita. E adesso so che bisogna alzare le vele e prendere i venti del destino, dovunque spingano la barca. Dare un senso alla vita può condurre a follia ma una vita senza senso è la tortura dell’inquietudine e del vano desiderio – è una barca che anela al mare eppure lo teme. » Lasciate che vi racconti una storia. Siamo in Italia, negli anni del fascismo. Una “ragazzina” chiede a un importante scrittore di spiegarle la differenza tra letteratura inglese e letteratura americana. Lavorano insieme, per la stessa casa editrice. Una casa editrice il cui direttore editoriale sarà torturato e ucciso dai nazisti nel 1944, dopo essere stato scoperto a pubblicare clandestinamente il giornale di Giustizia e libertà. È questo il clima in cui la ragazza pone la sua buffa domanda, la cui risposta oggi ci appare così scontata. Il grande scrittore si passa la pipa dall’altra parte della bocca per nascondere un sorriso e non risponde. Una mattina, porta alla ragazza un libro. Si intitola Spoon River Anthology. Lei lo apre, “proprio alla metà”, e resta folgorata da due versi: « mentre la baciavo con l’anima sulle labbra, l’anima d’improvviso mi fuggì ». Colta da un impulso irrefrenabile, comincia a tradurlo in italiano. Per parecchi anni traduce e traduce gli stessi ritratti, finché sono ormai parte di lei. Un giorno, lo scrittore le trova il manoscritto con le traduzioni in un cassetto. Lei si vergogna, aspetta “con un gran batticuore” che lui dica qualcosa. Ma lui dice solo: « Allora ha capito che differenza c’è tra la letteratura americana e quella inglese », e si porta via il manoscritto. Nel 1943, quello scrittore, Cesare Pavese, e quella ragazzina, Fernanda Pivano, curano la prima edizione italiana del capolavoro di Masters, che esce con il titolo di Antologia di S. River, ammiccamento a un improbabile Santo, al quale la censura concede il lasciapassare. Salvo poi rimangiarselo qualche giorno dopo e sequestrare il libro per “immoralità della copertina” – una copertina bianca orlata di verde. Se oggi la differenza tra letteratura inglese e letteratura americana ci appare così scontata, pensiamo a quei due truffatori, Pavese e la Pivano, che per primi portarono in Italia non soltanto Edgar Lee Masters, ma Melville, Whitman, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Kerouac… Portarono il mondo da noi, portarono noi nel mondo. L’Antologia di Spoon River ha un doppio cuore: un cuore pulsante di poesia e un cuore pulsante di narrativa. In versi, infatti, vengono narrate le sorti degli abitanti di Spoon River, immaginario paese americano traversato dal fiume Spoon. Sono gli abitanti stessi, dal cimitero sulla collina, a narrare la propria vita o soltanto un momento di essa, a raccontare la storia di qualcun altro, a offrire un giudizio definitivo ma incompleto sulla propria esperienza terrena. Gli abitanti di Spoon River si compongono epitaffi, ognuno secondo le proprie capacità. Ci sono epitaffi sublimi ed epitaffi scialbi, quelli che strappano un sorriso e quelli che strappano una lacrima, quelli che avvincono e quelli che lasciano completamente indifferenti. La genialità di Masters consiste in questo: nell’umiltà di aver messo in bocca le parole giuste per ciascuno. Il poeta non cerca di impressionare con la propria tecnica, non compone una raccolta di soli pezzi magnifici, non sceglie soltanto i frutti migliori. No, egli lascia che la vita entri nella poesia in tutte le sue sfaccettature, da quelle più lustre a quelle più opache. Così la sua poesia e i suoi personaggi sono davvero vivi. Credo che Edgar Lee Masters mi abbia insegnato che anche la poesia è racconto. Credo che, senza di lui, avrei impiegato molto più tempo per capirlo. La poesia è un modo per parlare della vita e del mondo, non soltanto ed egoisticamente della nostra vita e del nostro mondo interiore. Solo in questo modo la poesia può diventare davvero generosa e umana. Sono tanti, troppi, i componimenti che mi hanno lasciato qualcosa, i personaggi femminili specialmente. La traduzione della Pivano è bella, davvero, ma è il testo originale a fronte a rendere straordinaria l’esperienza di lettura, permettendo al lettore di assaporare il ritmo e la grana del verso. È un libro che regalerei a quelli che dicono – sì, esistono – « Io non leggo poesia, non mi piace ». Esiste tanta altra poesia rispetto all’oscura – e tuttavia magnifica – Ginestra leopardiana, tanta poesia che aspetta di aprire i nostri occhi alla bellezza.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    The dead tell their secrets where they are buried. With no reason to lie we find that all is not what it seemed to be: some of the "pillars" of the community were rotten to the core and some of the "dregs" of the town were the best citizens. I think of this book every time I see a homeless person and wonder: has society abandoned this person while (somewhere) a CEO commits crimes that will never come to light?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Orsodimondo

    NON AL DENARO, NON ALL'AMORE NÉ AL CIELO La bibbia è la più letta, ma mi sa che questo ci va vicino. E' un 'must', no? Leggermente sopravvalutato, ma bello. Si può riprendere in mano più volte, leggere una poesia e rimetterlo giù, sicuro che lo ritroveremo fedele ad aspettarci, all'occorrenza.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nood-Lesse

    Sarei tentato di credere che a Spoon River sia seppellita la maggior parte di noi. Io ci sono, sono uno di quei personaggi. Impermeabile alla poesia, sono stato alluvionato da una raccolta di epitaffi. In molti sono arrivati all'Antologia per merito di Fabrizio De Andrè, (l’album “Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo” è interamente ispirato da alcuni personaggi del libro di E.L. Masters) io vi sono arrivato leggendo per caso l‘iscrizione sulla mia tomba. Con De Andrè ho il medesimo problema c Sarei tentato di credere che a Spoon River sia seppellita la maggior parte di noi. Io ci sono, sono uno di quei personaggi. Impermeabile alla poesia, sono stato alluvionato da una raccolta di epitaffi. In molti sono arrivati all'Antologia per merito di Fabrizio De Andrè, (l’album “Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo” è interamente ispirato da alcuni personaggi del libro di E.L. Masters) io vi sono arrivato leggendo per caso l‘iscrizione sulla mia tomba. Con De Andrè ho il medesimo problema che ho con Calvino e Moretti, un problema di onde medie. Ernest Hyde La mia mente era uno specchio: vedeva ciò che vedeva, sapeva ciò che sapeva. In gioventù la mia mente era solo uno specchio in un vagone che correva veloce, afferrando e perdendo frammenti di paesaggio. Poi con il tempo grandi graffi solcarono lo specchio, lasciando che il mondo esterno penetrasse, e il mio io più segreto vi affiorasse, poiché questa è la nascita dell’anima nel dolore, una nascita con vincite e perdite. La mente vede il mondo come cosa a sé, e l’anima unisce il mondo al proprio io. Uno specchio graffiato non riflette immagine, e questo è il silenzio della saggezza. Ho confidenza con Guccini, non con De Andrè https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ePLN... No, non sono Ernest Hyde, potrei esser sbriciolato in una decina di personaggi diversi, consumato dal tempo, ma cosa conta. Nell’Antologia troverete voi stessi e chi vi sta a cuore, i vostri molti vizi e le sporadiche virtù

  8. 4 out of 5

    Evi *

    Spoon River è un luogo immaginario, perso nell’America del Nord. Dal suo cimitero adagiato sulla collina, gli abitanti ormai sepolti sotto una lapide tratteggiano in poche righe le loro esistenze, là lungo le sponde del fiume, poche parole dense e ficcanti che delineano con esattezza le parentele, i sogni, le aspirazioni, le attività, i successi o gli insuccessi professionali, la passione politica, le colpe, i delitti, la malattia, gli amori e i tradimenti, tutti quegli eventi che danno forma ad Spoon River è un luogo immaginario, perso nell’America del Nord. Dal suo cimitero adagiato sulla collina, gli abitanti ormai sepolti sotto una lapide tratteggiano in poche righe le loro esistenze, là lungo le sponde del fiume, poche parole dense e ficcanti che delineano con esattezza le parentele, i sogni, le aspirazioni, le attività, i successi o gli insuccessi professionali, la passione politica, le colpe, i delitti, la malattia, gli amori e i tradimenti, tutti quegli eventi che danno forma ad una esistenza. Dopo aver letto ogni singolo frammento pare proprio di possedere e conoscere l’intero percorso delle loro vite. Sono morti, spogliati dal corpo che parlano come voci che provengono da un altro luogo. Guardano retroattivamente le loro esistenze, ora la morte li ha resi onniscienti, una onniscienza che in vita è prerogativa soltanto di Dio o di un mago o di un bugiardo, in maniera lucida e con un impietoso senso etico si ergono a giudici accorti di colpe o meriti altrui e personali, operando post mortem quella quadratura di conti che ci è negata in vita, noi troppo occupati a cercare di vivere ma con gli occhi e il cuore sempre offuscati. Stupefacente constatare che su circa 373 epitaffi, solo una decina, e a voler largheggiare, inneggiano ad una vita soddisfatta e piena e che si desidererebbe vivere una seconda volta, i restanti epitaffi sono frammenti di vite dolenti, tormentate, malriuscite, andate come non doveva andare (è dunque così difficile vivere?) Queste epigrafi tombali a ben vedere non sono capolavori della letteratura, leggo che sono poesie anche per lettori non specialisti e credo sia vero perché si offrono pressoché senza metrica e di facile approccio (pur celando alcuni riferimenti di cronaca del tempo che a conoscerli illuminano il percorso di lettura), sono brevi ritratti a metà strada tra poesia e prosa, versi che ad ogni istante stanno lì per lì per diventare prosa ma rimangono indecisi sulla forma da assumere se trasformarsi in mini-racconti o rimanere epitaffi di sepoltura. Leggo pure che Edgard Lee Master è stato un autore abbastanza prolifico, rimasto famoso quasi esclusivamente per questa sua antologia che ebbe una larghissima diffusione fuori dai confini degli Stati Uniti, in Italia scoperto da Pavese, tradotto per noi da Fernanda Pivano ed entusiasticamente sponsorizzato da Montale, ai quali dobbiamo un doveroso ringraziamento. Quella che segue è una limitata scelta degli epitaffi che ho prediletto e che soprattutto mi paiono emblematici di tutta la raccolta: Johnnie Sayre Papà, non saprai mai l'angoscia che mi strinse il cuore per la mia disobbedienza, quando sentii la ruota spietata della locomotiva affondarmi nella carne urlante della gamba. Mentre mi portavano dalla vedova Morris vidi ancora nella valle la scuola che marinavo per saltare di nascosto sui treni. Pregai di vivere fino a chiederti perdono- e poi le tue lacrime, le tue rotte parole di conforto! Dalla consolazione di quell'ora ho ricavato una felicità infinita. Sei stato saggio a incidere per me: «Strappato al male a venire». ALBERT SCHIRDING Jonas Keene si riteneva sfortunato perché i suoi figli erano tutti falliti. Ma io conosco una sorte peggiore: essere un fallito quando i tuoi figli hanno successo. Allevai una nidiata di aquile che finirono per volare via, lasciandomi come una cornacchia sul ramo abbandonato. Poi, per l'ambizione di farmi chiamare onorevole, e per conquistarmi così l'ammirazione dei figli, mi candidai sovrintendente alle scuole della contea, spendendo i miei risparmi per farcela-e fui sconfitto. Quell'autunno mia figlia ricevette a Parigi il primo premio per un quadro intitolato Il vecchio mulino- (il vecchio mulino ad acqua prima che Henry Wilkin ci mettesse il vapore). L'idea che non ero degno di lei mi uccise. FRANKLIN JONES Se avessi vissuto ancora un anno avrei potuto finire la mia macchina volante, e sarei diventato ricco e famoso. Per questo motivo ha agito bene l'artigiano che ha tentato di scolpire una colomba per me e l'ha fatta che assomiglia a una gallina. Che cos'è mai la vita se non uscire da un guscio d'uovo e correre intorno all'aia, fino al giorno del colpo d'accetta? Salvo che l'uomo ha il cervello di un angelo e vede la scure fin dal primo momento! IL GIUDICE SOMERS Come mai, ditemi, io, il più dotto degli avvocati, che conoscevo Blackstone e Coke quasi a memoria, che feci la più bella arringa mai sentita in tribunale, e scrissi una difesa che, meritò l'elogio del giudice Breese- come mai, ditemi, mi trovo qui senza un segno dimenticato, mentre Chase Henry, l'ubriacone del villaggio, ha un blocco di marmo, sormontato da un'urna, su cui la Natura, in vena d'ironia ha seminato un'erbaccia in fiore? KNOWL HOHEIMER Io fui il primo frutto della battaglia di Missionary Ridge. Quando sentii la pallottola entrarmi nei cuore mi augurai di esser rimasto a casa e finito in prigione per quel furto dei porci di Curl Trenary, invece di fuggire e arruolarmi. Mille volte meglio il penitenziario che avere addosso questa statua di marmo alata, e il piedistallo di granito con le parole "Pro Patria". Tanto, che vogliono dire?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    244 dead residents of the Midwestern town of Spoon River (some based on real people and some fictional) tell the stories of their triumphs, frustrations, unrequited longings, their secrets -- often harboring lingering grudges about people buried alongside them. Whole families and neighbors, cross-talking in death. Each poem is titled with the name of the person speaking; each is short and most of them are heartbreaking. The wife and husband and the doctor, all scandalized by an abortion, the boy 244 dead residents of the Midwestern town of Spoon River (some based on real people and some fictional) tell the stories of their triumphs, frustrations, unrequited longings, their secrets -- often harboring lingering grudges about people buried alongside them. Whole families and neighbors, cross-talking in death. Each poem is titled with the name of the person speaking; each is short and most of them are heartbreaking. The wife and husband and the doctor, all scandalized by an abortion, the boyfriend who caused the pregnancy, the wife of the doctor, defending her husband. The respectable judge, resentful that the town drunk is more remembered than he is... With its revelations of spousal abuse, sexual dalliances and more, this book was almost as controversial as Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." It's appropriate to be reading this at the same time I'm getting through "Leaves..." and Sinclair Lewis' expose of small-town secrets, "Main Street." It would probably make a good companion to "Winesburg, Ohio," I'm thinking. The poetry is free verse, so the short pieces are easy to understand. This is such a beautiful, and cleverly conceived work of American poetry and literature. ([email protected]; slightly amended in 2016)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karla

    I've trawled through many a 19th century small town newspaper for various research projects, and one's dirty linen was often hung out to dry for public view in the printed word. Old men running off with the serving girls, errant wives being tracked down and found in flagrante with their lovers, etc. I've even got a great-great-uncle whose wife was run out of town on a rail by "The Community" for her illicit affair with a neighbor. Nasty little Victorian Peyton Places. Reading Spoon River Antholo I've trawled through many a 19th century small town newspaper for various research projects, and one's dirty linen was often hung out to dry for public view in the printed word. Old men running off with the serving girls, errant wives being tracked down and found in flagrante with their lovers, etc. I've even got a great-great-uncle whose wife was run out of town on a rail by "The Community" for her illicit affair with a neighbor. Nasty little Victorian Peyton Places. Reading Spoon River Anthology is like revisiting those musty old papers, and the anger, resignation, joy, sadness, and all the other emotions that roil in a small town, past and present, are beautifully conveyed by Masters' easy-to-process verse. I'm not much of a poetry reader - in fact, I tend to loathe it. But Homer, Shel Silverstein and Masters are the exceptions.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simona

    In quest'antologia Lee Masters dà voce al mondo dei morti di un villaggio americano del Midwest, Spoon River, appunto. I morti vogliono raccontare la loro verità, che è stata molto spesso taciuta e ignorata. In quest'antologia Lee Masters dà voce al mondo dei morti di un villaggio americano del Midwest, Spoon River, appunto. I morti vogliono raccontare la loro verità, che è stata molto spesso taciuta e ignorata per ipocrisia, convenienza, ecc. Un'antologia di imprecazioni, lamenti, epitaffi sull In quest'antologia Lee Masters dà voce al mondo dei morti di un villaggio americano del Midwest, Spoon River, appunto. I morti vogliono raccontare la loro verità, che è stata molto spesso taciuta e ignorata. In quest'antologia Lee Masters dà voce al mondo dei morti di un villaggio americano del Midwest, Spoon River, appunto. I morti vogliono raccontare la loro verità, che è stata molto spesso taciuta e ignorata per ipocrisia, convenienza, ecc. Un'antologia di imprecazioni, lamenti, epitaffi sulla vita e la morte raccontata con grande semplicità e maestria. Sono epitaffi sulla vita e la morte che fanno male al cuore, struggenti, ma sublimi.

  12. 5 out of 5

    sigurd

    "non mi rassegno alla reclusione dei cuori appassionati nella nuda terra"... recitava Edna St.Vincent Millay. di questa fattura dovevano essere i pensieri di Edgar Lee Masters. sembra che a Spoon River non ci siano uomini o donne tiepidi. ognuno di loro cova un'ambizione, ognuno di loro ha un segreto, ognuno di loro è pronto a fare una confessione. duecento epitaffi immaginari che possono parlare di una tragedia così come di una beffa, con lo stesso tono. leggiamo la storia di questa cittadina d "non mi rassegno alla reclusione dei cuori appassionati nella nuda terra"... recitava Edna St.Vincent Millay. di questa fattura dovevano essere i pensieri di Edgar Lee Masters. sembra che a Spoon River non ci siano uomini o donne tiepidi. ognuno di loro cova un'ambizione, ognuno di loro ha un segreto, ognuno di loro è pronto a fare una confessione. duecento epitaffi immaginari che possono parlare di una tragedia così come di una beffa, con lo stesso tono. leggiamo la storia di questa cittadina del midwest e ci sembra di bere l'oceano, eppure come direbbe Flaubert continuiamo a pisciare in una tazza: quanta vita è racchiusa nella letteratura! ma c'è che leggendo questi epitaffi ho sempre avuto l'impressione che tutti questi uomini sembrino ancora troppo giovani per morire. hanno come un'urgenza. di essere vendicati, ricordati, amati. e mi sono emozionato, perché potrei essere uno di loro. quando Auden diceva che se si trovava in una stanza con alcune persone, aveva sempre l'impressione di essere quello più giovane diceva una cosa che anche a me capita spesso di provare, nonostante l'anagrafica incominci ad andare a mio sfavore. forse Auden pensava che la sua vita intima pullulasse così tanto di emozioni vitali che non c'era spazio per le rughe dell'anima. Si cessa di essere giovani, dice Pavese, quando si capisce che dire un dolore lascia il tempo che trova. Quindi è in questo che consiste forse la giovinezza perenne degli uomini e delle donne di Spoon River: nel coraggio di dire a tutti il proprio tormento, sperando anche da morti di trovare nell'ascolto altrui un conforto, una consolazione. «Amico, ti racconterò la storia della mia vita; e se fosse soltanto la storia della mia vita credo che non la racconterei, perché che cosa è un uomo per dar importanza ai suoi inverni, anche quando sono già così numerosi da fargli piegare il capo come una pesante nevicata? Tanti altri uomini hanno vissuto e vivranno la stessa storia, per diventare erba sui colli. È la storia di tutta la Vita che è santa e buona da raccontare, e di noi bipedi che la condividiamo con i quadrupedi, e gli alati, e tutte le cose verdi; perché sono tutti figli di una stessa madre ed il loro padre è un unico Spirito» (da Alce Nero Parla)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I, like many people, had read some of the pieces in "Spoon River Anthology" in college, but I have to recommend reading the entire work. It is a unique and very fulfilling experience. Edgar Lee Masters' greatest work was published as a unified whole in 1915 and is 244 individual poems, each from the perspective of a different dead person in the cemetery. Their name serves as the poem's title. Woven throughout the 244 pieces are 19 stories that are pieced together through interwoven portraits fro I, like many people, had read some of the pieces in "Spoon River Anthology" in college, but I have to recommend reading the entire work. It is a unique and very fulfilling experience. Edgar Lee Masters' greatest work was published as a unified whole in 1915 and is 244 individual poems, each from the perspective of a different dead person in the cemetery. Their name serves as the poem's title. Woven throughout the 244 pieces are 19 stories that are pieced together through interwoven portraits from the dead. It is a different and surprisingly accessible way to create a history of a town and its people. With only a handful of obtuse and esoteric pieces, the vast majority of the poems are easily understood and interesting. Their themes run the gamut of possibilities, and "Spoon River Anthology" is an excellent choice for book clubs. The text continually reminds us of the variety of perspectives every event in a community or family engenders and one of the joys of the text is seeing how different people interpreted and reacted to the same events. Great examples are the contrasting pomes of "Albert Schrding" and "Jonas Keene" which beautifully demonstrate how one's attitude and perspective affects the events of our lives. One criticism I have heard readers level at this book is that it is so dark and that none of the people were happy in life. While I agree that a lot of the pieces in the text are dark, bitter, and weary in their tone I don't think that Masters is being nihilistic about life. Rather I think he is pointing the finger at us and telling us that we take this gift and make it that way by our thoughts and actions. There are harsh pieces in this text, especially the "Indignation Jones" and "Minerva Jones" pieces. They resound with the cruelties of life. Abortion is even rather openly addressed which I was surprised to find considering the time of publication. However for every dark storyline, like Indignation and Minerva's, there is a poem like "Fiddler Jones" which resounds with the love and joys of life. There are lots of great moments in this text, my favorite being the wonderful poem "Lucinda Matlock" which is one of the most encouraging and uplifting poems in all of literature. It extols the simple joys of life, and finds satisfaction enough in that. There are many pieces I could talk about, but you need to decide on your own which poems and characters speak to you. I will conclude by saying that the "Epilogue" will need to be reread. There is an elusive beauty and depth to it that a second reading will open up. It is a fine ending to this masterwork.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Edgar Lee Masters nasceu, no Kansas, a 23 de Agosto de 1868 e morreu a 5 de Março de 1950. Uma destas datas serviu-me de pretexto para comprar este livro; o de Masters, para o escrever, foi o seu encontro com o romancista Theodore Dreiser, cuja audácia e realismo o impressionou. Spoon River Anthology é uma obra singular, composta por 244 epitáfios, narrados pelos defuntos da localidade imaginária de Spoon Rider que, em poucas palavras, - dirigindo-se aos visitantes do cemitério - resumem a sua v Edgar Lee Masters nasceu, no Kansas, a 23 de Agosto de 1868 e morreu a 5 de Março de 1950. Uma destas datas serviu-me de pretexto para comprar este livro; o de Masters, para o escrever, foi o seu encontro com o romancista Theodore Dreiser, cuja audácia e realismo o impressionou. Spoon River Anthology é uma obra singular, composta por 244 epitáfios, narrados pelos defuntos da localidade imaginária de Spoon Rider que, em poucas palavras, - dirigindo-se aos visitantes do cemitério - resumem a sua vida e morte; os seus amores e ódios; desejos e frustrações; vitórias e derrotas. Uma galeria de fantasmas composta por assassinos, prostitutas, poetas, músicos, advogados, bailarinas, jovens, velhos, religiosos, ateus,... e todo o tipo de pessoas que fazem parte de uma comunidade. Apesar do tema ser tétrico, não achei os textos/poemas muito dramáticos, pois quase todos os mortos aceitam bem a sua condição e, alguns, com muito humor. Dos 75 seleccionados nesta edição, escolho o "meu epitáfio", narrado por DORCAS GUSTINE : "As pessoas da vila não gostavam de mim, porque eu dizia sempre o que pensava e também porque atingia abertamente, com protestos, aqueles que me atacavam, sem ocultar a mágoa ou alimentar o rancor. Louva-se muito o acto desse rapaz espartano que escondeu sob a sua túnica um lobo, deixando, sem um único lamento, que este o devorasse. Eu penso que há mais valentia em agarrar o lobo e combatê-lo abertamente, mesmo em plena rua, por entre a poeira levantada e os uivos de dor. A língua pode ser desordeira, mas o silêncio envenena a alma. Quem quiser, que me censure - eu estou satisfeito." (Marc Chagall, Cemetery Gates)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    Not a bad book, but not one I would read again or recommend to others. It's a collection of free-verse poems, crafted as epitaphs of the former citizens of the Midwestern town Spoon River. While there were some meaningful poems and well-developed characters, there were quite a few sections that I did not care for at all. I've never been an ardent fan of poetry, though, and this one, while a good read, did nothing to change that. Here's my favorite poem from the book: "George Gray: I have studied ma Not a bad book, but not one I would read again or recommend to others. It's a collection of free-verse poems, crafted as epitaphs of the former citizens of the Midwestern town Spoon River. While there were some meaningful poems and well-developed characters, there were quite a few sections that I did not care for at all. I've never been an ardent fan of poetry, though, and this one, while a good read, did nothing to change that. Here's my favorite poem from the book: "George Gray: I have studied many times The marble which was chiseled for me- A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor. In truth it pictures not my destination But my life. For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment; Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances. Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. And now I know that we must lift the sail And catch the winds of destiny Wherever they drive the boat. To put meaning in one's life may end in madness, Of restlessness and vague desire- It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Agnes

    Letto e commentata una “ poesia “ al giorno con un gruppo di amiche. È stata lunga la salita alla collina ma, assieme ce l’abbiamo fatta ! Grazie Donna Elvira ,Elettra e Fausta! Bellissimo averlo letto tutto !

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Masters coltivò le sue storie in un clima pregno di tragedia, un tempo nel quale le piccole realtà facevano da intermezzo tra grandi alleati e grandi nemici, vecchi miti e nuovi eroi. La gente normale non era interessante, non faceva presa. Eppure era proprio quella gente che, nella sua semplicità, deteneva la "verità umana". http://startfromscratchblog.blogspot....

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This was so very lovely.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I have read this book about 50 times, in bits and pieces, and about a half-dozen from start to finish in order. I love it. Let me start with what the book is about. This is a book of free-form poems that serves as a narrative, each poem told from the point of view of a resident of Spoon River who has died and who is telling their story after the fact, their own epitaph. Some poems go together, some stand alone, but they form the elaborate portrait of a community. A seeming non-sequitur, perhaps, I have read this book about 50 times, in bits and pieces, and about a half-dozen from start to finish in order. I love it. Let me start with what the book is about. This is a book of free-form poems that serves as a narrative, each poem told from the point of view of a resident of Spoon River who has died and who is telling their story after the fact, their own epitaph. Some poems go together, some stand alone, but they form the elaborate portrait of a community. A seeming non-sequitur, perhaps, but it will come back around in the end: I love cemeteries. I love that there is a solid, physical record of a person’s life in the form of a stone or plaque, left behind to show something for their life, something that doesn’t deteriorate like their body. When I did a year abroad in Italy, I spent a lot of time in Venice. The cemetery there is on a separate island. There’s a part of the cemetery that’s basically a mausoleum built like a wall instead of a cube, and it’s all for kids who died. They were mostly babies and toddlers, but here’s the part I liked best: Each plaque had a portrait of the child next to it, painted onto porcelain, like photo transfer paper onto cloth, before transfer paper. Each person in that place had something specific to them, shaped by the person they were in life, which lived on after their death. It moved me to the point of tears. A year or so after I got back, I saw a photo in a gallery that I would have LOVED to own but it was too pricey. I’m not sure who shot it, so I’ll just describe it: a couple of rows of grey headstones with just last names carved on them. On several of them, there are silhouettes of the occupants of the graves, one guy with a cowboy hat, one woman with long hair, etc…. not sure how the artist did it, as it was a photograph of shadows, but it was pretty awesome. Ok, here’s where it fits together: Even though Spoon River is fiction, the community becomes so vivid in the epitaphs of its residents that it feels real and timeless. I can only hope that there’s something so real left of me when I am gone. That was a bit of a downer. Here’s an upper: It’s FREE on the Kindle (though there’s no formatting or chapter index… that’s what happens when it’s free…) (It’s probably also available in other e-book formats for free, since it’s out of copyright.) That is all.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ben Loory

    i admit that i probably love the idea of this book more than the actual book, but i love the idea of it so damn much that the actual thing still gets five stars. a portrait of a small american town through the from-the-dead poem-soliloquies of hundreds of its departed inhabitants, it's unlike any other book i've ever read. the dead folk discuss their lives and deaths and thoughts and beliefs and relationships with each other, the town, and the larger world. it's from the dead so there's a pronou i admit that i probably love the idea of this book more than the actual book, but i love the idea of it so damn much that the actual thing still gets five stars. a portrait of a small american town through the from-the-dead poem-soliloquies of hundreds of its departed inhabitants, it's unlike any other book i've ever read. the dead folk discuss their lives and deaths and thoughts and beliefs and relationships with each other, the town, and the larger world. it's from the dead so there's a pronounced metaphysical aspect (though masters never takes a particular religious stand). it spans generations of american history. there are people (well, a person) who remembers george washington, and others who fought in the civil war and WWI. Anne Rutledge, Abe Lincoln's first love, is here. There's a young Chinese boy who came from far away and was killed by the minister's son. Others who fell from water towers, were murdered in lover's quarrels, who died of heartbreak and disease. it's a heartbreaking book and also a hopeful one, but never sentimental or bleak. it's very quiet. it has a shape, a novelistic arc, but not an overly pronounced one. it's subtle. it's kind of like The Country of the Pointed Firs and kind of like Winesburg, Ohio, but it's more spacious and experimental-- more formally interesting-- than either, though a lot simpler and less realistic. this book seems to be part of my personal reader's mythology. i don't know exactly how it got there, but it's there. like catch-22 and the catcher in the rye, it's a book that just won't go away, won't leave me alone. i don't know if it's for everyone, but it seems to be for me. Sometimes I talked with animals-- even toads and snakes-- Anything that had an eye to look into. Once I saw a stone in the sunshine Trying to turn into jelly. -Willie Metcalf

  21. 4 out of 5

    Guido

    Se i morti potessero parlare, sarebbero sinceri: liberi dall'obbligo della buona educazione, dal dover mantenere la necessaria discrezione tra vicini e familiari, dalla necessità di salvare le apparenze in nome dell'onore, insomma da tutti i meccanismi che hanno regolato l'ipocrisia della loro vita sociale, direbbero finalmente quello che, in vita, non hanno mai potuto dire. Un intero villaggio di morti improvvisamente coscienti della propria libertà di parola dà vita, in maniera quasi teatrale, Se i morti potessero parlare, sarebbero sinceri: liberi dall'obbligo della buona educazione, dal dover mantenere la necessaria discrezione tra vicini e familiari, dalla necessità di salvare le apparenze in nome dell'onore, insomma da tutti i meccanismi che hanno regolato l'ipocrisia della loro vita sociale, direbbero finalmente quello che, in vita, non hanno mai potuto dire. Un intero villaggio di morti improvvisamente coscienti della propria libertà di parola dà vita, in maniera quasi teatrale, all'"Antologia di Spoon River". Alcuni di loro, semplicemente, raccontano la propria morte; altri si lamentano della propria sepoltura, se la trovano indecorosa o, al contrario, se ne vantano se si rendono conto di essere stati sepolti con onori che in vita non hanno meritato. La maggior parte di loro, però, dice quello che non ha mai potuto dire: così troviamo i coniugi che si detestavano da decenni e il cui matrimonio è stato salvato da un prete impiccione, il quale, da parte sua, ritiene di aver fatto il suo dovere nel migliore dei modi; il banchiere che racconta del fallimento della sua banca, e poi puttane, falegnami, poeti, sindaci, giudici, ladri, assassini, bambini, mendicanti, fabbri, anarchici, preti, soldati, imprenditori, ubriaconi. Tutti loro, nella morte, hanno pari dignità e diritti; e quasi tutti, tra malinconia, rimorso e dubbi post-esistenziali, fanno riferimento ad altri personaggi, accusandoli o scusandosi con loro a seconda dei casi, confessando amori mai corrisposti, paure mai sconfitte, rancori rimasti inespressi. Chi leggerà questo libro troverà una feroce critica della società benpensante; un invito a coltivare, se non l'anarchia (nella sua forma pacifista così ben compresa da De Andrè), la libertà dai pregiudizi e dal finto buonismo a cui siamo troppo spesso costretti. Ciascun lettore troverà personaggi a cui affezionarsi, le cui poesie possono essere lette e rilette, preziose e toccanti come poche. Non ci sono "buoni" e "cattivi" qui, ci sono soltanto esseri umani, e per questo amo tanto questo libro.

  22. 4 out of 5

    S©aP

    L'ombra della morte, per ridare alla vita le sue dimensioni. Per restituire il giusto senso alle cose, oltre lo scempio delle millanterie dei vivi. Una geniale intuizione, quella di di E.L.Masters, capace di rendere, in pochi tratti di poesia, tutte le profondità dell'esistenza. PS - Interessantissimi e illuminanti i saggi introduttivi, di Fernanda Pivano e Cesare Pavese

  23. 5 out of 5

    Οδυσσέας Μουζίλης

    http://pepperlines.blogspot.gr/2016/1...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Perkins

    When I'd see the title of this book, published more than one hundred years ago, it always sounded as if it were written by a Southern writer. In a sense, it was. Though the author grew up in small towns in Illinois and eventually went to practice law with Clarence Darrow in Chicago, his family had Southern roots. He always maintained sympathy for the Confederacy and wrote scathing "biographies" of both Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain. This book of blank verse poetry, focusing on the character and When I'd see the title of this book, published more than one hundred years ago, it always sounded as if it were written by a Southern writer. In a sense, it was. Though the author grew up in small towns in Illinois and eventually went to practice law with Clarence Darrow in Chicago, his family had Southern roots. He always maintained sympathy for the Confederacy and wrote scathing "biographies" of both Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain. This book of blank verse poetry, focusing on the character and fate of different people, is intended as a blunt expose of small town life. In 2008, during the presidential campaign, vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin lionized small towns. "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity," she said. She was quoting journalist Westbrook Pegler, a Mencken-like critic of politicians, who became more extreme as he got older, with his last gig at the John Birch Society. But this version of small towns appealed to some. I have a friend who grew up in LA who bought the whole thing. One of his favorite TV shows as a kid was "Andy of Mayberry"and believed. that's what small towns were like. I was born and grew up for awhile in a small town in northern New Hampshire. My father was the town doctor. The main sources for civic revenue were a paper mill, that heavily polluted the river that ran through town (I can still remember the smell) and tourism. At age 45, my father had a mid-life crisis and through a series of events we ended up in the SF Bay Area, where I still live. He told me many stories of the small town and observed that the novel and soap, Peyton Place, were based on a town like ours in New Hampshire. My hometown was more Twin Peaks than Mayberry. The thrust of Spoon River is that people are people, they are no different than people in big cities except that people in small towns know a good deal about the personal business of their neighbors. There is no privacy. These towns do not match Palin's fantasy. (And, indeed, accounts of Palin's own family in small town Alaska underline the dark side). But students of human nature should not be surprised.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This is a conceptually intriguing book in which the residents (represented by over 200 poems) of a small town cemetery speak from the grave about the truth as they see it, being free from social pressure or potential retribution to present themselves or others in a good light. I think it's important to remember that Masters was a lawyer by profession, a person who had heard people's testimonies about incidents and different people and had seen how judges and juries dealt with them. This book isn' This is a conceptually intriguing book in which the residents (represented by over 200 poems) of a small town cemetery speak from the grave about the truth as they see it, being free from social pressure or potential retribution to present themselves or others in a good light. I think it's important to remember that Masters was a lawyer by profession, a person who had heard people's testimonies about incidents and different people and had seen how judges and juries dealt with them. This book isn't simply about a small town, it's about humanity and justice, sometimes in the legal sense and sometimes in the larger sense. It's also about how people perceive themselves and others. We get more than one perspective on different characters or events that come up as the individuals speak. This is a book-length work that was written in sections that appeared serially before being collected into a single volume. As many people note, the poems at the beginning of the book are almost unremittingly depressing. They're largely about people who experienced injustice or floundered in the face of events they couldn't control. This lets up in the last third of the book, though not necessarily to good effect. I felt that Masters continued the project after it's vital energy had waned. Women may be a little dissatisfied with the book because so few women are represented, 50 out of 244, and often in stereotypical ways. This isn't surprising considering that most of these poems appeared before women had even been granted the right to vote. Though the lack of representation is still a disappointment, it's worth acknowledging that he did give women a voice and laid bare some injustices toward them and community attitudes toward stereotypes represented that were unjust. He doesn't let things be simple. The copy I read had a had an introduction by John Hollander and footnotes clarifying the many historical and literary allusions in the poems. I highly recommend people get a volume with the footnotes. Much has been written about this work. In fact, it's the only book of poetry I've ever heard of that has its own website (spoonriveranthology.net), essentially a fan site. It's worth reading and rereading. By the end, I the many people/poems had become a blur and I'm not able to say which were my favorites. The next time through I'll mark them. And there will definitely be a next time through. Not all of the poems were great but many of them were superb and I'd like to find them again. I don't think this book is for everyone but it struck me as a good book to have students read and discuss at the high school level because if offers so much to talk about, whether matters of poetics or history or justice. I intend to give a copy to my brother, who is a lawyer and would appreciate the many perspectives that turn up in the book. I also think any serious student of poetry should read it as an example of a big project. In our formal education, we so rarely presented with even remotely contemporary examples of book-length poems or projects. I was quite miffed to be left clueless about this book until running into it at my local library. I want to warn the readers of this review that Spoon River Anthology is generally considered the only work of Masters worth preserving. As John Hollander put it, a "quite uninspired poet, who in the unique format, and under imaginative pressures, excelled himself by producing a masterpiece." His other poetry is very conventional rhymed verse and only in throwing off convention in middle age was he able to speak in a variety of voices and from a variety of perspectives to produce this fascinating work.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    The whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Edgar Lee Masters' great work is impressive in its scope; with over two hundred "epitaphs," each one an individual person, the collection takes apart small-town America in the early 20th century with astonishing precision. Masters makes no bones about the presence of corruption and cruelty (Thomas Rhodes is frequently indicted by the other dead), secret sins, everything that those who would have lived in a town like Spoon River saw every day of The whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Edgar Lee Masters' great work is impressive in its scope; with over two hundred "epitaphs," each one an individual person, the collection takes apart small-town America in the early 20th century with astonishing precision. Masters makes no bones about the presence of corruption and cruelty (Thomas Rhodes is frequently indicted by the other dead), secret sins, everything that those who would have lived in a town like Spoon River saw every day of their lives. Some of these stories are particularly heart-wrenching, as in the paired poems "Elsa Wertman" and "Hamilton Greene", or biting, as with "Mrs. Charles Bliss" and "Rev. Lemuel Wiley". He gets to the roots of a place, using the actual Spoon River as a (sometimes even still living) model for his characters, but in doing so creates a mirror of the soul of all such places. This makes the whole Anthology an intriguing and powerful look at a segment of society under the microscope. The various stories are connected brilliantly--often, each participant tells his side of the story absolutely without deception and exposes the way no one can really understand what goes on in any other mind through the contradictions in the accounts. Some poems stand alone, with little to no connection to any of the various story arcs; of those: "Lucinda Matlock", with her famous pronouncement of "It takes life to love Life"; "Percival Sharp", who sees "anchors, for those who never sailed./ And gates ajar--yes, so they were; You left them open and stray goats entered your garden"; "Fiddler Jones", who "ended up with a broken fiddle--/And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories"; and "George Gray", who is "a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid" are among the best. Unfortunately, most of the poems that do not contribute significantly to one or another of the stories add very little to the overall feel of the town, and so do not add much to the work as a whole. The book can also be a little short on "poetry". Published in 1915, Spoon River Anthology is near the forefront of free-verse poetry and Masters, at times, loses sight of the flow of his words. The poems of the bulk of the book fall between the best of Whitman or Sandburg and the worst of the same in terms of their relative lyricism. At the end of the collection, "The Spooniad" and "Epilogue" make an effort to find lyricism in blank verse and a rhyming verse play respectively, but neither of these efforts is entirely successful in style and neither approaches the intelligence and power of the epitaphs that make up the Anthology. I would definitely recommend this book as a whole and advise reading it is as few sittings as possible; Masters' brilliance is not so much in the poems themselves as in they way they interact.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Franky

    Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology is a series of poems representing the voices of Spoon River, a fictional Southern town. The citizens, who speak from beyond the grave on The Hill, tell of their lives and those they knew, lamenting on various aspects of their past life. The poems have a dramatic monologue, epitaph-like quality; they are snapshots of emotion, philosophy, wisdom and morals from these residents. The individual voices of Spoon River are quite diverse, as you might imagine. Mu Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology is a series of poems representing the voices of Spoon River, a fictional Southern town. The citizens, who speak from beyond the grave on The Hill, tell of their lives and those they knew, lamenting on various aspects of their past life. The poems have a dramatic monologue, epitaph-like quality; they are snapshots of emotion, philosophy, wisdom and morals from these residents. The individual voices of Spoon River are quite diverse, as you might imagine. Murderers and thieves, jealousies and scandals, love and hope, crushed dreams and suicide, moral wisdom and philosophy, bitter hatred and regret, optimism and nostalgia all make up Spoon River. Some citizens express the guilt and regret of not having lived life better. Others offer clues about failed and hopeless love. Others give perspective on what mattered most to them in life. Still others give clues and perspective on how they lived, and how they died. There is a slice of small town community in each, and Masters presents these snapshots in a hauntingly, poignant way. Most viewpoints have a dark, pessimistic quality to them, and others that offer moral wisdom from beyond, a “life lesson.”. One passage that stood out to me was that of George Gray, who muses about not being afraid to explore life to one’s fullest: “To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, But life without meaning is the torture Of restlessness and vague desire— It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid..” There is an undercurrent of repetitiveness within the collection of poems, many dealing with weighty topics like death, isolation, failed love and despair. For that reason, there were several times I had to put the book aside and read something else. That’s not to say that there isn’t a beautiful, lyrical quality to this collection of poems, but rather, that this anthology is not a “quick read” and requires a little patience because of its “heavy” themes. Not all outlooks from Spoon River are so dark in tone; there a few, like Lucinda Matlock, that look at their life at Spoon River with no regrets: “At ninety-six, I had lived enough, that is all, And passed to a sweet repose.” What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness, Anger, discontent, and drooping hopes?” Masters adeptly captures so many varying perspectives and tells the story of so many lives in this small community that you can’t help but admire the sheer beauty and artistic quality of his work.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I grew up in Northwestern Illinois. I knew the land to the Southeast of us was fertile ground for poets, with Galesburg’s Carl Sandburg and Springfield’s Vachel Lindsay, and with Spoon River’s Edgar Lee Masters about halfway between. I have long known that Master’s “Spoon River Anthology” was a series of short poems based on names on the gravestones in a cemetery near the river, having learned that from my Dad’s copy of his high school Literature book. I’m not sure how my Dad ended up with a cop I grew up in Northwestern Illinois. I knew the land to the Southeast of us was fertile ground for poets, with Galesburg’s Carl Sandburg and Springfield’s Vachel Lindsay, and with Spoon River’s Edgar Lee Masters about halfway between. I have long known that Master’s “Spoon River Anthology” was a series of short poems based on names on the gravestones in a cemetery near the river, having learned that from my Dad’s copy of his high school Literature book. I’m not sure how my Dad ended up with a copy of his high school Literature book, but it had the funniest graffiti on the many author pictures. Growing up, I remember this book as having a distinct and memorable personality, what with all the glasses, scars, fangs and arrows through heads adorning the authors of the classics. There was the original book’s style, then a different one that was added on by years of bored high school seniors. And that’s how I think of Master’s vignettes. He took the names and dates from stones and created linkages and a variety of stories that were obviously were his creations reflecting his style, as it were. I wasn’t expecting the amount of linkages between the characters in the cemetery, and I found this quite a nifty way to write about over a hundred folks. I also appreciated that when he gave voice to these folks, some for a few lines, some for a few pages, they all had something to say from the grave. Many told of how they died. A few told of how they lived. Some even had messages for the living. Quite an interesting thought experiment determining what all these folks would say. Masters put in lots of humorous or ridiculous death descriptions, likely to lighten the mood for such a somber subject. I listened to the audio version of this with, was it 50 different voice actors? Including Ed Asner. I found that a good way to listen, the variety kept the interest up, and there were a few music trills mixed in that closed a line of discussion, it seems.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Arwen56

    Herbert Marshall Tutto il tuo dolore, Louise, e l'odio per me nacquero dalla tua illusione che fosse capriccio dello spirito e disprezzo dei diritti della tua anima a spingermi verso Annabelle e lasciarti. In realta' tu arrivasti a odiarmi per amore, perche' ero la gioia della tua anima, formato e temprato per risolverti la vita, ma non volli. Tu invece eri il mio strazio. Se tu fossi stata la mia felicita', non mi sarei forse aggrappato a te? Questo e' l'amaro della vita: che solo in due si puo' Herbert Marshall Tutto il tuo dolore, Louise, e l'odio per me nacquero dalla tua illusione che fosse capriccio dello spirito e disprezzo dei diritti della tua anima a spingermi verso Annabelle e lasciarti. In realta' tu arrivasti a odiarmi per amore, perche' ero la gioia della tua anima, formato e temprato per risolverti la vita, ma non volli. Tu invece eri il mio strazio. Se tu fossi stata la mia felicita', non mi sarei forse aggrappato a te? Questo e' l'amaro della vita: che solo in due si puo' essere felici; e che i nostri cuori sono attratti da stelle che non ci vogliono.

  30. 5 out of 5

    J.

    After a full summer battling Infinite Jest (and thoroughly enjoying it), this book was welcome relief. It is a mix of homespun wisdom and incredibly insightful commentary. While very accessible, Masters is astute. He has a lot to say about living, death, and regret (and a surprising amount on lawyers). This is the kind of book you can give to your Grandma, with a nice note that says "I love you," and then have something to discuss over the holidays as you help her wash the dishes. On morality's After a full summer battling Infinite Jest (and thoroughly enjoying it), this book was welcome relief. It is a mix of homespun wisdom and incredibly insightful commentary. While very accessible, Masters is astute. He has a lot to say about living, death, and regret (and a surprising amount on lawyers). This is the kind of book you can give to your Grandma, with a nice note that says "I love you," and then have something to discuss over the holidays as you help her wash the dishes. On morality's drive, for instance, from Sexsmith the Dentist: "Why, a moral truth is a hollow tooth / Which must be propped with gold." Some wisdom from old Lucinda Matlock: "What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness, / Anger, discontent and drooping hopes? / Degenerate sons and daughters, Life is too strong for you -- / It takes life to love Life." And something about living from Davis Matlock: "Well, I say to live it out like a God / Sure of immortal life, though you are in doubt, / Is the way to live it. / If that doesn't make God proud of you / Then God is nothing but gravitation, / Or sleep is the golden goal." I'm now heeding the call of George Gray: "To put meaning in one's life may end in madness, / But life without meaning is the torture / Of restlessness and vague desire -- / It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid." And I'm living life as Fiddler Jones, my acreage be damned (you'll have to read that one on your own: http://tiny.cc/796r5).

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