James Whitcomb Riley


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Indiana poet, contributed to the Indianapolis Journal (1877–85) a series of genial poems in rustic dialect, ostensibly written by “Benj. F. Johnson, of Boone.” The series, which included “When the Frost Is on the Punkin,” was published in The Old Swimmin'-Hole and 'Leven More Poems (1883). This was the first of a number of books marked by the frequent use of Hoosier dialect, a simple sentimentality, a quaint whimsical kindliness, and cheerful philosophy, blended with a frequently obtrusive pathos. The most popular of the poems were “Little Orphant Annie,” “The Old Man and Jim,” “Knee-Deep in June,” and “The Raggedy Man.”

Subjects: Literature.

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