New England Poetry

Ronald A. Bosco and Jillmarie Murphy

in The Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195187274
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

New England Poetry

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)



Metrical composition from New England is the main focus of this article. It focuses on the poetry which originated in New England. Until the 1960s, the dominant critical view of colonial New England verse held that it was deficient in poetic sensibility. This supposed deficiency was attributed to the Puritans' reliance on what was commonly called the “plaine stile,” the narrative form to which William Bradford announced he would adhere in his History of Plymouth Plantation to demonstrate his “singular regard unto the simple trueth in all things”, but then proceeded to ignore as he spun out one of the finest prose epics of New World settlement composed in the seventeenth century. The article cites examples of various poets like Taylor as well as Emily Dickinson. Louis L. Martz's observation that American Poetry is “a bold, probing, adventurous intellect that deliberately tries to bend the toughest matter toward his quest for truth” concludes the article.

Keywords: poetry; metrical composition; verse; new England verse; poetic sensibility; prose epics; Taylor; Emily Dickinson; Louis L. Martz; American poetry

Article.  11926 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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