This book of poetry was printed in 1936. Please be patient as I describe what our country was like at that time. It was in the middle of the last great depression, and so it was a very bad economic time. However, it was bought and read by many people 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, editor of the New York Times, who died in 1935. Ochs was a poetry lover who began his career as a newspaper seller in Tennessee. While we can now “Google” information on almost anything, at the time the radio and the newspaper were our main source of information for those who could afford them.
Felleman worked for the Times, in the question and answer section of the book review area. He had received more requests for information on Poems than any other item to show him which were the public’s favorites. The Times was the “Google” for those days and applications were sent by mail from all over the country. As Edward Frank Allen says in the introduction, this book was edited by the American people. Your introduction is well written and interesting enough to be worth reading.
In that sense, let me quote a few sentences from the introduction. I think what he says in 1936 is still appropriate for today’s society. Allen declared: “Today poetry is an absolute necessity. The world needs it for its vitalizing force. Poetry has almost everything that music can give: melody, rhythm, feeling, but it has this advantage: it can get closer to the heart. A hunger for beauty that is part of the makeup of almost all normal people.
The book is quite well organized. Reading poetry is personal and we like different types or even individual poems in different categories. Therefore, the book is divided into 12 sections based on the theme of the poems. From love and friendship to various topics. 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 configured so that all the content can be easily accessed by all readers. It is a very good book for all people of a wide range of ages. It has poems by many famous poets and others less well known. Felleman includes some poems by Unknown Poets, whose poems were highly appreciated but the authorship was unknown.
You will find, as Hazel Felleman recounts, that all the poems are not necessarily your favorites, but were included because they were the favorites of the American people. Some of my favorites are not in this book, but many are there.
I googled and found that it is still in print and available both new and used in most bookstores. I find prices from 25 cents until 17.00. Quite a bargain for the shelf and your pleasure.
Turn off the television, throw the newspaper, find your quiet corner and enjoy. I am sure you will enjoy them.