Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Best Loved Poems of The American People - By Hazel Felleman

This Book of Poetry was printed in 1936. Bear with me as I describe what our country was like at that time. It was in the middle of the last great depression, and so a very bad economic time. However it was purchased and read by many folks for the same reasons that I have read it many times. Tom Brokaw called it "The Greatest Generation".

The book was dedicated to Adolph S. Ochs publisher of the New York Times, who died in 1935. Ochs was a lover of poetry who began his career as a newsboy in Tennessee. While we now can "Google" information about most anything, at that time the radio and newspaper were our main source of information for those that could afford them.

Felleman worked for the Times, in the Question and Answer section of the Book Review area. She had received more requests for information about Poems, than any other items that showed her which ones were the public's favorites. The Times was the "Google" for those times and requests were mailed in from all over the nation. As Edward Frank Allen states in the introduction this book was edited by the American People. His introduction is well enough written and interesting that it will merit you reading it.

In that wise let me quote a few sentences from the introduction. I think what he says in 1936 is still fitting for today's society. Allen stated: "Today poetry is an absolute necessity. The world needs it for it's vitalizing strength. Poetry has nearly everything that music can give-melody, rhythm, sentiment-but it has this advantage: it can come closer to the heart. It satisfies a hunger for beauty that is a part of nearly every normal person's make-up.

The book is organized quite well. Reading Poetry is a personal thing and we like different types or even individual poems in different categories. Therefore the book is divided into 12 sections based on the subject of the poems. From Love and Friendship to Various Themes. Humor, patriotism, poems that tell a story and more. The first poem is by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the last by Robert Browning. You will find an index listed by Authors, First Lines, and Titles. The 670 pages are well set up for easy access to all content by all readers. It is a very good book for all people of a wide range of age.. It has Poems by many famous Poets and others less known. Felleman includes some poems by Unkown Poets, whose poems were well liked but the authorship was not known.

You will find, as Hazel Felleman relates, all the poems are not necessarily her favorites but they were included because they were the favorites of the American People. A few of my favorites are not in this book but many are there.

I "Googled" and found that it is still in print and is available both new and used at most Book Stores. I find prices from 25 cents to 17.00. Quite a bargain for the bookshelf and your pleasure.

Turn off the TV, toss the Newspaper, find your quiet nook and enjoy. I am sure you will enjoy it.

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