Thursday, March 25, 2010

Literature Corner: Spoon River Anthology

Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

This book is truly unique. Essentially, Masters takes the reader on a literary tour of the graveyard on the hill overlooking the mythical Midwestern town of Spoon River. The poetry is interwoven from gravestone to gravestone, telling the stories of less than perfect people - mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, lovers, murderers, etc.

I definitely recommend this classic, especially for anyone interested in human nature or is a natural "people watcher." It's definitely fascinating the way Masters incorporates human foibles into a town that was considered a perfect place to live. I find it especially interesting that Masters highlighted less than perfect people in 1915, when society was different and more proper than it is now. Overall a great read. Here is an exerpt:

Ollie McGee
HAVE you seen walking through the village
A man with downcast eyes and haggard face?
That is my husband who, by secret cruelty
Never to be told, robbed me of my youth and my beauty;
Till at last, wrinkled and with yellow teeth, 5
And with broken pride and shameful humility,
I sank into the grave.
But what think you gnaws at my husband’s heart?
The face of what I was, the face of what he made me!
These are driving him to the place where I lie. 10
In death, therefore, I am avenged.