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Lindsay, Vachel. (1879 - 1931).

L i f e

- born in Springfield (Springfield’s 2nd most famous only to A. Lincoln)

- studied art in Chicago and NY > attempted to create a new amalgam of poetry and music

- spent years on the tours to preach ‘the gospel of beauty’: read his verse, lectured to promote various art projects, half-spoke, half-sang, and drew large audiences

W o r k

< influenced by W. Whitman: not Whitman the innovator x but: Whitman the all-embracing democratic poet of as much popular as populistic poetry

- formed his style in religious gatherings, rustic entertainment, and folk song performances

- did not disguise his populism, and celebrated the provincial virtues

- remained rather naive, did not fully develop his experiments x but: helped to form the American poetry, still remembered chiefly for this contribution

“William Booth Enters Into Heaven” (1913):

- people of all the races and religions sing the song of progress in a  mutual harmony

- published in H. Monro’s Poetry

“The Congo: A Study of the Negro Race”:

- a jazz motivated poem using a voodoo language

“Simon Legree” and “John Brown”:

- Negro revival chant motivated poems

“The Chinese Nightingale”:

- a poor Chinese worker in an American city dreams of his ancient culture


"Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room, / Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable, / Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table, / Pounded on the table, / Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom, / Hard as they were able".

From "The Congo".


(Photo: Britannica).

  • Author

    (Nicholas) Vachel Lindsay. (1879 - 1931). American.
  • Work

    Poet. Musician. Orator. Author of "The Congo".
  • Genres

    Folklore. African inspiration.


Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.

McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


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