From the Poet Who Brought You "The Wreck of the Hesperus"

A bit of Purgatory as the poem of the week

It is a shame that Longfellow is so little read these days.  A fine poet with a great hand at meter, he did produce a few potboilers in the way of verse, but he also produced poetry that sticks in one's head--the imagery and the song stay long after the poem has left--I remember from sixth grade "The Village Smithy"  and how we subtly varied it--"The muscles of his brawny arms are as strong as rubber bands."

It's easy to take shots at some of the poems--but the body of work as a whole is as strong and as flexible and resilient as that of any other poet of his time.  He has merely suffered the fate of over-reading of his lesser work--resentful school-children grew to resentful adults and refuse to read his verse.  C'est dommage ça!


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