Poems for Modern Youth

edited by Adolph Gillis & William Rose Benet
Copyright 1938
Checked out 26 times in 23 years (acquisition unclear–determined from first due date stamp)
Last checked out 1 year ago

The poems in this volume are far from modern, as a glance at the copyright readily reveals; however, many of them have timeless appeal as the circulation of this anthology of poems for young people also reveals. Many of the poems are narrative, telling a story, and many of them rhyme, but there’s a great deal of variety encompassed within the 13 sections into which the editors sorted their collection.

I’m glad the patrons of Albertville Public Library have smiled on this book, not because it’s full of great poetry (much of it is passing-fair) but because it’s a fascinating snapshot of the time in which it was published, which was full of people who left a poetic legacy other than their own poems. Never before have I seen so many poems in one place by Witter Bynner (known now for the foundation he formed offering grants to poets), Harriet Monroe (famed editor of Poetry magazine), or Louis Untermeyer (a favorite anthologist of mine and great promoter of poetry during his life). So this anthology has a special appeal for those interested in the history of poetry. There are few of us though–not nearly enough for the steady circulation this book has had.

Thankfully, the editors of this book also did a wonderful job of gathering together poems that have continued to charm people young and not-so-young. Though this book was designed for high schools students of yesteryear, I doubt teenagers of today would get much out if these poems. They’re more for 9-13 year-olds and for those of us no longer interested in being edgy who are looking for relatively light enjoyable reads. Definitely keep this on the shelves as long as it holds up and people show interest.

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About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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