Twentieth-century modernism reduced the list of nineteenth-century American poets to Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and (less often) Edgar Allan Poe. The rest were virtually forgotten. This volume in the MLA series Options for Teaching marks a milestone in the resurgence of the study of the rest. It features poets, like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Lydia Huntley Sigourney, who were famous in their day, as well as poets who were marginalized on the basis of their race (Paul Laurence Dunbar, Alexander Posey) or their sociopolitical agenda (Emma Lazarus, John Greenleaf Whittier). It also takes a fresh look at poets whose work has been dismissed as sentimental (Frances Osgood), genteel (Oliver Wendell Holmes), or didactic (William Cullen Bryant).
The volume's twenty-two essays are grouped into parts: "Teaching Various Kinds of Poems," "Teaching Poets in Context," and "Strategies for Teaching." The fourth part is a selective guide to the field: an annotated bibliography of editions, anthologies, reference books, biographies, critical studies, and Web resources.