Poetry characterized by its metrical form is one of the most well-liked forms of literature. It served as a creative expression of one’s thoughts and emotions. There are poems that became famous and had been preserved and past down through generations. The American poetry had established its own identity from British poetry by varying the rhythms, forms, diction and tone. During the 1600 the history of American poetry formally began. During that time poems were mostly written and based on the British language standard. First there are the Puritan and Satirical poets that dominated earlier the American literature.
Later they were replaced by Revolutionary Era Poets and even African American poets. When the 19th century arrived there was optimism for major achievement in poetry. During this time the Fireside poet’s goals and works emerged and made significant impact in the world of American poetry. The Fireside poets later were recognized as the first group of American poets that had successfully competed British poets in terms of popularity. Fireside Poets: Goals and Works Who were these so called “Fireside poets” and why are they called in that name?
The Fireside Poets are composed of five persons namely Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), James Russell Lowell (1819-1891), Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) and lastly John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892). They are given this title of Fireside Poets because most of them have used the image of the hearth or the fireplace where the family gathered together to read stories and learn their poems. The goal of the Fireside Poets is to create poems that were based on traditions but can also be of equal level in terms of quality, breadth and creativity of content to that of the British poetry.
Their poems are highly notable for wisdom and flexibility in lines and themes. They preferred conventional forms over experimentation in poetic styles and had often used American legends, scenes of American life and even politics as themes in their poems. The careful attention given to rhymes or the strict metrical rhythm made their works popular for memorization and recitation activities in schools and even at homes. Among the five Fireside Poets the most popular then was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. One of his well known compositions is the Song of Hiawatha. Aside from these he was also a well known translator in several languages.
He became the first American to be honored with a bust at Westminster Abbey’s Poet Corner. Second to him was William Cullen Bryant who became famous for his work entitled Thanatopis, a poem that recognized death as the great equalizer of life. He worked as a lawyer and editor of New York Evening Post. Third is James Russell Lowell known for Biglow Papers, included among the American tradition of long satirical poems. Next one was Oliver Wendell Holmes a medical doctor that composed the poems Old Ironsides and The Chambered Nautilus. Lastly was John Greenleaf Whittier known for his poems Snow Bound and Legends of New England. Conclusion
The Fireside Poet’s greatest ambition was to be able to carve out their names, established their identity and be of equal to their British counterparts. Their poems have been a lasting legacy among the collections of American poetry. Although they are traditionalist they had been the first to made significant contributions in the area of American poetry. They have been able to use their poems to fight for a cause, portray the way of life or cultures, and share their imaginations and experiences to their readers. The Fireside Poets no longer exist but their compositions continue to live and inspire the new generation of poets.