Oliver Scheiding, René Dietrich, Clemens Spahr (eds.)


A History of American Poetry

Contexts - Developments - Readings

Contents (PDF)



This handbook answers the need for fresh and informative readings of canonical and non-canonical poems. The thirty-one chapters engage revisionary trends in poetry scholarship. They unfold a critical history of American poetry that challenges conventional interpretations and provide insightful new readings of well-known poems and writers as well as introductions to poets and texts that may be more unfamiliar. Each chapter focuses on two poets set into dialogue with each other, presenting paired readings of one representative text from each author. In addition to a number of familiar texts and names that are necessary for students to understand basic developments in American poetry, the handbook offers chapters on multilingual colonial poetry, nineteenth-century Native American poetry, and contemporary experimental poetry.

The paired readings of poems in each chapter also invite interconnected lessons that make readers compare, for example, the communal conventions of colonial poetry to the collective poetics of contemporary performance poetry. The handbook encourages readings across and against literary periods, while annotated paired readings and additional reading suggestions should inspire students to analyze poems as particular sites of historical and political meaning. Being both a manual in terms of current theoretical directions in literary studies and a guide to practical criticism, A History of American Poetry helps students to further explore the diversity and multiple poetic traditions that make up American poetry in its intersections with historical contexts and other literatures.


Rezension von Till Kinzel: IFB 24 (2016),4[03]


ISBN 978-3-86821-610-3, 483 S., kt., € 39,50 (2015)

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