Ralph Waldo Emerson once described Henry Thoreau's poetry as the purest strain, and the loftiest, I think, that has yet pealed from this unpoetic American forest. Not always thus esteemed, Thoreau's verses were by means igred. Bronson Alcott applauded them; James Russell Lowell asserted their rawness; Nathaniel Hawthorne grudgingly approved them. As author of Walden and Civil Disobedience, Thoreau the writer of prose is world-rewned, but Thoreau the poet has been all but forgotten. This collection has all of Thoreau's original verse-the glowing lines and the quiet, the prosaic and the Transcendental. And all have at the very least the large, astringent force of young genius.
Literary and cultural historian, biographer and poet, Carl Bode (1911-1993) taught for many years in the English Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, and authored or edited scores of books. He was founder and first president of the American Studies Association and chairman of the Maryland Arts Council.