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Edgar Lee Masters

Born: August 23, 1868 in Garnette, Kansas
Died: March 5, 1950

Pen Name: Webster Ford

Connection to Illinois: Masters was raised in Petersburg and Lewistown in Menard County. He also lived in Chicago.

Biography: Edgar Lee Masters was a poet, novelist and biographer. He was one of the most important poets of the Chicago Renaissance. His Spoon River Anthology (1915) beccame the single most widely read book of American poetry. He was raised in Petersburg and Lewistown, Illinois, and studied law and literature.Masters, along with Vachel Lindsay and Carl Sandburg, was one of the three important poets of the Chicago Renaissance. A Chicago lawyer, he wrote Spoon River Anthology (1915), a series of monologues in which residents of the small town of Spoon River speak from beyond the grave of the narrowness, constriction and disappointments of their lives. The book was immensely popular, becoming the single most widely read book of American poetry. It also had an important impact on the development of modern poetry, with its ironic, anti-romantic tone, freedom of form and plain, colloquial diction. Later works include a biography of Vachel Lindsay (1935), Across Spoon River (1936) and The Sangamon (1942).

  • -- Mark Twain Silver Medal, 1936
  • -- Poetry Society of America medal, 1941
  • -- Academy of American Poets Fellowship, 1942
  • -- Shelley Memorial Award, 1944
  • -- Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 1974
  • -- Name engraved on the frieze o

Primary Literary Genre(s): Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Across Spoon River :
ISBN: 0252060512 OCLC: 21518018

University of Illinois Press, Urbana : [1991], ©1936.

  Along the Illinois
ISBN: 1877869198 OCLC: 21051352

Mason County Members, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Havana, IL : 1989.

  Domesday book.
ISBN: 1313150630 OCLC: 926768790

Hardpress Ltd, [Place of publication not identified] : 2013.

  Mark Twain; a portrait.
ISBN: 0819601713 OCLC: 270967

Biblo and Tannen, New York, 1966 [©1938]

  New spoon river.
ISBN: 1568491204 OCLC: 948366450

Buccaneer Books, [Place of publication not identified] : 1993.

Poems that touch the heart
ISBN: 0385044011 OCLC: 16720393

Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y. : ©1956.

A collection of poems, compiled by A.L. Alexander, who used one of the inspirational verses to close each of his radio broadcasts of The Good Will Court, and The Court of Human Relations.

Singing America
ISBN: 0670861502 OCLC: 32399532

Viking, New York : 1995.

An anthology of poems that describe, celebrate and bring to vivid life the American experience.

  Spoon River Anthology
ISBN: 9600040014596 OCLC: 1078557284

The family album of favorite poems
ISBN: 0399129324 OCLC: 1358478

Grosset & Dunlap, New York : [1959]

A collection of more than 500 poems for the entire family, including nature poems, ancient ballads, story poems, love poems, inspirational verse, children's verse, occasional poems, patriotic poems, Christmas and New Year's verse, humorous poems--Jacket.

The golden fleece of California
ISBN: 188598328X OCLC: 463477794

Turtle Point Press, New York : ©1998.

The Sangamon
ISBN: 0252060385 OCLC: 484463

Farrar & Rinehart, New York : ©1942.