For those of you who don't know, the American Romantic Period (1830-1865) was marked by sensibility, passionate adoration for nature and "natural man," and a strange fixation with the Middle Ages. You thought people dressing up in cloaks and chain mail and reenacting tournaments was a modern thing? Nope. People were doing it in 1850 too.
|Awkwardly Modern Looking People in Cloaks|
Anyway, they were all about nymphs and how marvelously peaceful being dead would be and were, to quote my professor, "about a millionth of an inch deep" and badly rhymed. Unfortunately, I can't post this awesomeness for you to read for yourselves right now. They are so epically bad they have not been preserved on the Internet. I will have to ask my professor for copy and then transcribe them for you. They really were wonderful.
While listening to my professor reading these poems (one of which was published in Edgar Allen Poe's literary magazine--How did something like that get past him???), I had a mini epiphany about what people mean when they say "books with heart." These poems had all the sincerity of tofu bacon.
There is a reason these poems didn't survive to be honored as part of the regular curriculum. They were forced, insincere and shallow. I believe my professor whipped out the word "trite" at some point. Ouch.
I feel like I have read a story or two like that recently.
They were both mine, but I
The moral of bad Romantic poetry:
Tell your truth as slant as you like, but for God's sake, tell it somehow.
*An amusing side note: there is a girl in my class named Emily Dickinson. I always have the strange urge to adopt an English accent and call her "Miss Dickinson." She must have had cruel parents.