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Keywords: Poets

Historical Items

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Item 4120

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1840

Contributed by: Maine Historical Society Date: 1840 Media: Paper

Item 141

Edna St. Vincent Millay, ca. 1940

Contributed by: Maine Historical Society Date: circa 1940 Media: Photographic print

Item 15566

H. W. Longfellow of Cambridge, 1841

Contributed by: Bowdoin College Library Date: 1841-12-07 Location: Cambridge Media: Ink on paper

Exhibits

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Exhibit

Picturing Henry

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's popularity in the 19th century is reflected by the number of images of him -- in a variety of media -- that were produced and reproduced, some to go with published works of his, but many to be sold to the public on cards and postcards.

Exhibit

Longfellow: The Man Who Invented America

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a man and a poet of New England conscience. He was influenced by his ancestry and his Portland boyhood home and experience.

Exhibit

Drawing Together: Art of the Longfellows

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is best know as a poet, but he also was accomplished in drawing and music. He shared his love of drawing with most of his siblings. They all shared the frequent activity of drawing and painting with their children. The extended family included many professional as well as amateur artists, and several architects.

Site Pages

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Site Page

Home: The Wadsworth-Longfellow House and Portland - The Wadsworth-Longfellow House, 1786-1960

… Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, brother of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, probably made this photograph in 1885.

Site Page

Home: The Wadsworth-Longfellow House and Portland - The Wadsworth-Longfellow House, 1786-1960

Anne Longfellow Pierce, sister of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, lived in the house nearly her entire life.

Site Page

Home: The Wadsworth-Longfellow House and Portland - People of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House

… wanted the house to be a memorial to the popular poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who had died in 1882.

My Maine Stories

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Story

An allegory about the Vietnam war
by Bill Hinderer

An allegory about my service in the Vietnam War

Lesson Plans

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Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Longfellow Meets German Radical Poet Ferdinand Freiligrath

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
During Longfellow's 1842 travels in Germany he made the acquaintance of the politically radical Ferdinand Freiligrath, one of the influential voices calling for social revolution in his country. It is suggested that this association with Freiligrath along with his return visit with Charles Dickens influenced Longfellow's slavery poems. This essay traces Longfellow's interest in the German poet, Freiligrath's development as a radical poetic voice, and Longfellow's subsequent visit with Charles Dickens. Samples of verse and prose are provided to illustrate each writer's social conscience.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: "The Poet's Tale - The Birds of Killingworth"

Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Science & Engineering, Social Studies
This poem is one of the numerous tales in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Tales of the Wayside Inn. The collection was published in three parts between 1863 and 1873. This series of long narrative poems were written by Longfellow during the most difficult personal time of his life. While mourning the tragic death of his second wife (Fanny Appleton Longfellow) he produced this ambitious undertaking. During this same period he translated Dante's Inferno from Italian to English. "The PoetÂ’s Tale" is a humorous poem with a strong environmental message which reflects Longfellow's Unitarian outlook on life.

Lesson Plan

Longfellow Studies: Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith" and "Whitman's Song of Myself" - Alternative Constructions of the American Worker

Grade Level: 9-12 Content Area: English Language Arts, Social Studies
Most if not all of us have or will need to work in the American marketplace for at least six decades of our lives. There's a saying that I remember a superintendent telling a group of graduating high-school seniors: remember, when you are on your deathbed, you will not be saying that you wish you had spent more time "at the office." But Americans do spend a lot more time working each year than nearly any other people on the planet. By the end of our careers, many of us will have spent more time with our co-workers than with our families. Already in the 21st century, much has been written about the "Wal-Martization" of the American workplace, about how, despite rocketing profits, corporations such as Wal-Mart overwork and underpay their employees, how workers' wages have remained stagnant since the 1970s, while the costs of college education and health insurance have risen out of reach for many citizens. It's become a cliché to say that the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" is widening to an alarming degree. In his book Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips says we are dangerously close to becoming a plutocracy in which one dollar equals one vote. Such clashes between employers and employees, and between our rhetoric of equality of opportunity and the reality of our working lives, are not new in America. With the onset of the industrial revolution in the first half of the nineteenth century, many workers were displaced from their traditional means of employment, as the country shifted from a farm-based, agrarian economy toward an urban, manufacturing-centered one. In cities such as New York, groups of "workingmen" (early manifestations of unions) protested, sometimes violently, unsatisfactory labor conditions. Labor unions remain a controversial political presence in America today. Longfellow and Whitman both wrote with sympathy about the American worker, although their respective portraits are strikingly different, and worth juxtaposing. Longfellow's poem "The Village Blacksmith" is one of his most famous and beloved visions: in this poem, one blacksmith epitomizes characteristics and values which many of Longfellow's readers, then and now, revere as "American" traits. Whitman's canto (a section of a long poem) 15 from "Song of Myself," however, presents many different "identities" of the American worker, representing the entire social spectrum, from the crew of a fish smack to the president (I must add that Whitman's entire "Song of Myself" is actually 52 cantos in length). I do not pretend to offer these single texts as all-encompassing of the respective poets' ideas about workers, but these poems offer a starting place for comparison and contrast. We know that Longfellow was the most popular American poet of the nineteenth century, just as we know that Whitman came to be one of the most controversial. Read more widely in the work of both poets and decide for yourselves which poet speaks to you more meaningfully and why.