David A. Walton
, April 2001
Much of American poetry before Whitman, Dickinson, and Frost is passé today. College anthologies rarely include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow or John Greenleaf Whittier or William Cullen Bryant, those Great American Poets of the 1800s. This excellent selection of 65 American poems brings back those names, along with "Hiawatha," "The Raven," "Annabel Lee," "Old Ironsides," and "The Indian Student," all the favorites from our collective childhood—omitting only, it seems, "The Skeleton in Armor" and "Evangeline." It takes a certain courage and incredible skill to deliver all the verses of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Frankie and Johnny" without falling into melody, and this skilled ensemble delivers a highly accomplished reading of a host of American classic poems, in the tones and accents in which they have traditionally been heard.