Early American Poetry "Beauty in Words" - A Review
Author: Stephanie Buckwalter
Publisher: Enslow Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 13: 978-0-7660-3277-4
ISBN: 10: 0-7660-3277-9
Early American Poetry “Beauty in Words” explores poetry in America from colonial days to the end of the nineteenth century. It is a wonderful stepping stone for children to journey into the world of verse. Illustrations and pictures of the authors lend an air of informality to the book while the poems, facts, information, and descriptions enlighten the child to poets such as Anne Bradstreet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickenson, and Walt Whitman, to name a few.
In a complete package, Buckwalter includes the elements of poetry, such as stanzas and poetic meter. She also includes explanations of words and terminology featured in the poems and time period of the poems. Along with this, there are very interesting, yet brief, biographies of the poets, including details of their writings, bringing to light the hows and whys of the poems. In addition, Buckwalter sheds light on romanticism, reality, and poetic license and technique. This detailed analysis is provided in easy to read content.
As an added feature, at the end of each poets section, Buckwalter provides further reading resources. This is a valuable tool for the child who is sparked by a particular poet and wants to learn more.
I fondly remember as a youth reading a couple of the poems Buckwalter included in Early American Poetry “Beauty in Words.” Without this type of children’s book, our youth would miss out on learning about a beautiful form of writing and a certain perspective of the world around us.
In the introduction, Buckwalter explains: “Poets often see the world differently from most people. Some can see things hidden in the mundane; others scale lofty heights of philosophy. They all take words that capture ideas, feelings, and truth, and arrange them in ways that illuminate those realities.” I love this explanation; it’s simple, yet profound.
I highly recommend this book for children with the grade levels recommended.
Reviewed by Karen Cioffi, author and freelance writer