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American Poets Project
John Greenleaf Whittier Brenda Wineapple
 

John Greenleaf Whittier: Selected Poems

edited by brenda wineapple

 
Overview
About the Editor
Table of Contents

Above: John Greenleaf Whittier, Brenda Wineapple.

 

A beloved figure in his own era—a household name for such poems as "Barbara Frietchie" and "The Barefoot Boy"—John Greenleaf Whittier remains an emotionally honest, powerfully reflective voice. A Quaker deeply involved in the struggle against slavery (he was harassed by mobs more than once) he enlisted his poetry in the abolitionist cause with such powerful works as "The Hunters of Men," "Song of Slaves in the Desert," and "Ichabod!", his mournful attack on Daniel Webster's betrayal of the anti-slavery cause.

Whittier's narrative gift is evident in such perennially popular poems as "Skipper Ireson's Ride" and the Civil War legend "Barbara Frietchie," while in his masterpiece "Snow-Bound" he created a vivid, flavorful portrait of the country life he knew as a child in New England. "His diction is easy, his detail rich and unassuming, his emotion deep," writes editor Brenda Wineapple. "And the shale of his New England landscape reaches outward, promising not relief from pain but a glimpse of a better, larger world."

Whittier photo courtesy Haverhill Public Library; Wineapple photo © Joyce Ravid

 
John Greenleaf Whittier: Selected Poems book jacket
Presented by The Library of America
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