Spoon River Anthology


By Edgar Lee Masters

cover image of Spoon River Anthology

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The renowned poet’s classic collection of free verse exploring the lives of colorful characters in a fictional American small town.

In 1914, Edgar Lee Masters began writing a series of poems inspired by his early life in Western Illinois. These poems, which appeared in the St. Louis literary journal Reedy’s Mirror, were later published in book form as the Spoon River Anthology.

Innovative in both conception and style, these free verse poems take on the voices of characters who reveal the sordid secrets of their Midwestern hamlet from beyond the grave. Through interwoven stories of deceit, corruption, and infidelity, a sweeping tale of a town and its people emerges, bringing with it a knowing indictment of small-town hypocrisy that influenced a generation of authors, including Theodore Dreiser and William Faulkner.
Spoon River Anthology