Welcome to Boston in the early years of the republic. Prepare to journey by stagecoach with a young man moving to the bustling city ; stop by a tavern for food, drink, and conversation; eavesdrop on clerks and customers in a dry-goods shop; get stuck in what might have been Boston's first traffic jam; and enjoy arch comments about spouses, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and poets. As Paul Lewis and his students at Boston College reveal, regional vernacular poetry-largely overlooked or deemed of little or artistic value-provides access to the culture and daily life of the city. Selected from over 4,500 poems published during the early national period, the works presented here, mostly anymous, will carry you back to Old Boston to hear the voices of its long-forgotten citizen poets. A rich collection of lost poetry that will beguile locals and visitors alike.
Paul Lewis is a professor of English at Boston College specializing in the literary history of Boston and American humor.