Chapter and Verse: The world of nineteenth-century American children’s poetry
Chapter and Verse is a series that features JHU Press authors and editors discussing the literary landscape of poetry and prose, whether their own creative work or the literature of others.
It isn’t often that three poets laureate (among others) praise a book prior to its publication. That was the case with Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Anthology of American Children’s Poetry, edited by Karen Kilcup and Angela Sorby. Kenn Nesbitt, Children’s Poet Laureate declared, “I have been wanting a book like this for as long as I can remember. It is a tremendous accomplishment; one of those rare books that is an absolute ‘must own’ for anyone with an interest in children’s poetry, and even poetry in general.” Nesbitt was so impressed he published Kilcup and Sorby’s blog post here on poetry4kids.com. One poem from this anthology follows.
“I’d Rather Have—” by Stephen Crane (about age 9)
Last Christmas they gave me a sweater,
And a nice warm suit of wool,
But I’d rather be cold and have a dog,
To watch when I come home from school.
Father gave me a bicycle,
But that isn’t much of a treat,
Unless you have a dog at your heels
Racing away down the street.
They bought me a camping outfit,
But a bonfire by a log
Is all the outfit I would ask,
If I only had a dog.
They seem to think a little dog
Is a killer of all earth’s joys;
But oh, that “pesky little dog”
Means hours of joy to the boys.
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