The following is a list of useful general poetry criticism, and useful sources on New England life and culture. For poetry criticism or other sources about a particular poet we're studying, please see that poet's individual page.


Abrams, M.H. The mirror and the lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition. New York: Norton, 1953-1958.


Anderson, Benedict R. O'Gorman. Imagined Communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London, New York: Verso, (2nd edition) 1991.


Bagby, George F. Frost and the Book of Nature. Knoxville: U Tennessee P, 1993.


Baker, George M., ed. Medley Dialect Recitations (Yankee Dialect Recitations). 1887.


Blackmur, R.P. Form & Value in Modern Poetry. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1957.


Borges, Jorge Luis. An introduction to American literature L. Clark Keating & Robert O. Evans, tr. New York: Schocken, 1971.


Brooks, Van Wyck. The Flowering of New England, 1815-1865. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1936.


Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action. New York: Random House, 1957. See “The Philosophy of Literary Form,” 3-117; “On Musicality in Verse,” 296-304.


Bushman, Richard. The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities. New York: Knopf, 1992.


Cabranes-Grant, Leo. “Intercultural Poetics: Thinking for (and from) Diversity.” in Profession 97


(N.Y.: MLA, 1997), 180-191.


Cook, R.J. One Hundred and One Famous Poems, with a Prose Supplement. Chicago: 1924.


Davison, Peter. The fading smile: poets in Boston, 1955-1960 from Robert Frost to Robert Lowell to Sylvia Plath. New York: Knopf, 1994.


Gallagher, Winifred. The Power of Place: How our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions. New York: Poseidon, 1992.


Gamm, Gerald. Urban Exodus: Why the Jews Left Boston and the Catholics Stayed. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard UP, 1999.


Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. “Both Sides Now,” New York Times Book Review: May 4, 2003, 31.


Gifford, Henry. Poetry in a divided world .Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1986.


Hale, Edward Everett. James Russell Lowell and his Friends. New York: AMS, 1965, orig. pub. in Cambridge in 1899.


Hall, Donald. Their ancient glittering eyes : remembering poets and more poets : Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, Archibald MacLeish, Yvor Winters, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound. New York : Ticknor & Fields, 1992.


Hall, Granville Stanley. “Boy Life in a Massachusetts Country Town Thirty Years Ago,” American Antiquarian Society 7.5 (October 1890): 107-128.


Hammond, Jeffrey. Sinful Self, Saintly Self: The Puritan Experience of Poetry. Athens: U Georgia P, 1993.


Hartmann, Geoffrey. Beyond Formalism. New Haven: Yale UP, 1970. See “The Maze of Modernism: Reflections on MacNeice, Graves, Hope, Lowell, and Others,” 258-282; “Language from the Point of View of Literature,” 337-355.


Heaney, Seamus. The place of writing; introduction by Ronald Schuchard.Atlanta, Ga. : Scholars Press, [c1989]


Herringshaw, Thomas William, 1858- ed. Local and national poets of America, with interesting biographical sketches and choice selections from over one thousand living American poets; ed. and comp. under the supervision of Thos.W. Herringshaw. Chicago, American publishers' association, 1890.


Heymann, C. David..American aristocracy : the lives and times of James Russell, Amy, and Robert Lowell. New York: Dodd, Mead, c1980.


Howe, Susan. The Birth-Mark: Unsettling the Wilderness in American Literary History. Hanover, NH: UP of New England, 1993.


Jantz, Harold Stein. The first century of New England verse.New York : Russell & Russell, 1962 [c1943]


Jarrell, Randall. Poetry and the Age. New York: Random House, 1953. See “From the Kingdom of Necessity,” 188-199; “Poets,” esp. 212-214; “Three Books,”227-240.


Jewett, Sarah Orne, “The Country of the Pointed Firs” in Cynthia Griffin Wolf, ed., Four Stories by American Women: Rebecca Harding Davis; Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Sarah Orne Jewett; Edith Wharton. New York: Viking Penguin, 1990: 59-201.


Kraft, Stephanie. No Castles on Main Street: American Authors and Their Homes. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1979. Includes chapters on Dickinson, Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edith Wharton.


Lukacs, John. A Thread of Years. New Haven: Yale UP, 1997.


Martin, Wendy. An American Triptych: Anne Bradstreet, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich. Chapel Hill: U North Carolina P, 1984.


Menand, Louis. The Metaphysical Club. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001.


Moyers, Bill. Fooling with Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft. N.Y.: Wm. Morrow, 1999.


Ostriker, Alicia Suskin. Stealing the Language, The Emergence of Women's Poetry in America. Boston: Beacon, 1986.




Perloff, Marjorie. The dance of the intellect: studies in the poetry of the Pound tradition. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge UP, 1985.


---------, -----------, Poetry on & off the page: essays for emergent occasions. Evanston, Ill: Northwestern UP, 1998.


Perrine, Laurence. Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1963.


Pinsky, Robert. The situation of poetry: contemporary poetry and its traditions. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton, UP, 1976.


---------, ---------. The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998.


Rotella, Guy L. Reading & Writing Nature: The Poetry of Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, and Elizabeth Bishop. Boston: Northeastern UP, 1991.


Sielke, Sabine. Fashioning the Female Subject: The Intertexal Networking of Dickinson, Moore and Rich. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1987.


Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1993.




Valade, Roger M, III. The Essential Black Literature Guide. NY: Visible Ink Press, 1996.


Vendler, Helen. Poemns/Poets/Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology. Boston & New York: Bedford-Martin, 1997.


Voices and Visions video series (available at AIMS Library in Goodell Building). Elizabeth Bishop Emily Dickinson Robert Lowell Sylvia Plath


Waldrop, Rosmarie. Against language? Dissatisfaction with language as theme and as impulse towards experiments in twentieth century poetry.The Hague, Mouton, 1971.


Wimsatt, W.K. Hateful Contraries: Studies in Literature and Criticism. Lexington, Kentucky: U. of Kentucky Press, 1965. See “What to Say About a Poem,” 215-244.


-----------, ----- The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry. Lexington, Kentucky: U. Of Kentucky Press, 1967.


Zea, Philip. Useful Improvements, Innumerable Temptations: Pursuing Refinement in Rural New England, 1750-1850. Deerfield, MA: Historic Deerfield, 1998.