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Book Review: Arthur Guiterman’s The Mirthful Lyre

I learned about Arthur Guiterman because several of his poems were included in the Library of America’s book American Wits: An Anthology of Light Verse (American Poets Project). I was so taken by the poems I read there that I decided to find some of his books online. They’re all out of print, but fairly easy — and relatively inexpensive — to find.

The Mirthful Lyre was published in 1918, when Guiterman was in his late 40s. It’s divided into several sections: Folks And Things; A Few Children; To The Littlest Of All; Fauna And Flora; and All-Out-Doors. Many of the funny poems are in the first section, but I was most impressed and moved by the All-Out-Doors section, Guiterman’s series of love songs about nature.

The nature poems are sensitive and adoring, displaying the poet’s obvious passion for escape from his city life. He seems to be completely at home in the woods, lovingly describing the animal life, the sound of the wind in the trees, and the stillness of travel by canoe.

Guiterman is well worth searching out. Highly recommended.

Published in Book Reviews Poetry


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