Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

Copyright 1944, 1963 edition
Checked out 54 times in 46 years
Last checked out less than a year ago

I have to wonder if this is the most checked out book in the 811s, which in turn makes me wonder if it is being advocated by a junior high or high school teacher. The Spoon River Anthology is a peculiar project that stirs the gossip, as well as the truth-teller, in all of us. Edgar Lee Masters has over 200 hundred people from the town of Spoon River speak from the grave about their place in the world when they were part of it. It’s a singular project and deserves to be on the shelves of any library.

This particular copy’s cover is worn around the edges. Though the spine has been taped, it really needs to be rebound. The pages themselves, though getting a bit dingy, are holding up well. Considering the popularity of this book, I recommend getting a second copy, especially if my suspicion is correct and some English or drama teacher is recommending it.


About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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2 Responses to Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

  1. I do think that books are often checked out on the basis of a teacher/friend recommendation. It should be easy enough to find out if a school teacher is recommending it. I’m assuming you are in a public library – but make contact with your local school librarians – a good school librarian will be able to tell you what their teachers are recommending – but my gut feeling is that if this were recommended by a teacher, it would be checked out more frequently than you indicate…..


    • Hi Jan,

      I do intend to connect with local school librarians and English teachers eventually (time and the chores of life are not on my side). I’m particularly interested in seeing what poetry is represented in junior high and high school text books here.

      Spoon River Anthology‘s circulation at this public library might not seem exceptional to you but it certainly is for a volume of poetry at this library. I think the only other poetry I’ve seen here thus far with such regular interest are one by T.S. Eliot and one by William Blake, both of whom are part of the canon and frequently anthologized. Edgar Lee Masters is not–so it begged the question of why Spoon River Anthology was among the most checked out books of poetry at this public library.

      A casual internet search revealed that it is often used as an exercise in drama classes and is performed. We have a community college here with a drama program, so that may be another place that generates some interest in the book.

      If I ever figure out why it’s popular (by poetry in Albertville standards), I’ll post it here.

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