Mid-American Chants
by Sherwood Anderson

ISBN: 0-9744503-4-0
Perfect Bound, $13.00
Reissue Date: March 2006
5.25 x 8 inches, 84 pages

Individuals: Order directly from Small Press Distribution,
1-800-869-7553 ; or Amazon.com.

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Originally published in 1918, Mid-American Chants is Sherwood Anderson's first book of poems. Undeniably influenced by Walt Whitman, Anderson seeks in this collection to sing of the "heart" (geographically) of the United States, and to sing of the rising age of industrialism. The lines are long, and the rhythms almost prosiac; in fact, some view these poems as prototypical American prose poems.

From Mid-American Chants...


Bring hither the beams of the corncribs, my children. The dung
heaps are burned. Strong hands have gripped the rope whereby
the horses were tied. The fish nets of the Northwest and the
sheep gates of Michigan are opened to me.

I have put my neck and my hands to the work, O my children. How
black your eyes have become. They gleam in the darkness. The
souls of Ulysses and of Abraham have been opened to me. By the
coal heaps near the factory door my men are assembled.

Tipping the water-gates of the rivers the night riders assemble.
In the cities the grey little foxes lie low. By the howling of
dogs in the silence the decay of men is proclaimed.

Long nights we were weeping the prelude, my brothers. The madness
and washing of hands has been done. The sweetness of apples--the
fatness of cornfields--the whoring of men for strange gods is begun.

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