Articles on American literature

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Poet Walt Whitman in his home in New Jersey in 1891. Born 200 years ago this week, Whitman is celebrated in America for his daring poetry collection Leaves of Grass. Samuel Murray/Wikimedia Commons

Guide to the classics: Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and the complex life of the ‘poet of America’

Walt Whitman is perhaps America's most admired poet. His work, now praised for its themes of equality and democracy, was once shunned for its experimental verse and discussion of sexuality.
Many authors born in Latin America have produced some of their finest work while living in the United States. Alvy Libros/flickr

5 Latino authors you should be reading now

Spanish-speaking writers have made exceptional contributions to American literature. Here are the best Latin American and Latino authors you probably haven't heard of.
Twain was an opinionated, prolific commentator on the personalities and political issues of his day. Terry Ballard/flickr

What would Mark Twain think of Donald Trump?

He probably would have been amused by – and maybe even befriended – Trump the entertainer. Trump the president? Not so much.
In order to support his young family, William Faulkner took a job shoveling coal at a power plant on Ole Miss’s campus. Mussklprozz/Wikimedia Commons

Under the spell of a generator’s thrum, a Faulkner masterpiece was born

Slated to be demolished this year, a crumbling brick building on Ole Miss' campus once operated as a power plant where novelist William Faulkner shoveled coal – and feverishly wrote.
The Atticus of To Kill a Mockingbird and the ‘new’ Atticus of Go Set a Watchman come across as caricatures in today’s context. Galaxy fm/flickr

The irrelevancy of Go Set a Watchman

The hoopla surrounding the novel's release is misguided; after all, how much power could a novel written 50 years ago wield in today's charged environment?
Former US Poet Laureate Philip Levine (1928-2015) was down to earth and humble. But he spared no rage towards those he deemed selfish and narcissistic. Brooklyn Book Festival/Flickr

Remembering former poet laureate Philip Levine

Kate Daniels, the director of Vanderbilt's creative writing program, recalls the life and work of her mentor, a man "devoted...to creating gritty and empathetic portraits of American blue collar workers."

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