Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Our Native Writers Poem Analysis

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While verse was economically marginal in the early nineteenth century, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) became the first American poet who could live off his royalties (Gioia 74). He was also the first poet of the New World to achieve an international fame; his reputation reached Europe and even Latin America (64). Devoted to the creation of a native literature, Longfellow committed himself to developing an American poetic diction. In “Our Native Writers” (1825), his graduation address, Longfellow expressed his desire for a kind of poetry that would depict “our national character,” to be developed by writers who had “been nursed and brought up with us in the civil and religious freedom of our country” (qtd. in Wolosky 248). The Song of Hiawatha (1855) was an attempt to create such poetry. Like Leaves of Grass it was a language experiment. He collected Indian words, names and lore as an anxious figure for American culture itself (Wolosky 252). “The poem is on many levels about the possibilities of an American language and imagination, Longfellow’s epic …show more content…
Lucy Terry (1730-1821), was a slave of Ebenezer Wells of Deerfield, Massachusetts until 1756, when she received her freedom (19). "Bars Flight" (1746) is the earliest known formal written poem by an African American. It records a battle between whites and Indians. Haynes, Hammon and Wheatley, produced “the first significant body of African American writing, founded on revivalist rhetoric and revolutionary discourse” (Gray 33). They are considered the founders of African-American literature. Lemuel Haynes (1753–1833), influential African-American religious leader criticized slavery in his writings. He, as an evangelical minister, also wrote sermons for family

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