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American Lyricon

A Poet Sings of America

American Lyricon by Joel L. Young
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From war-time to peace-time and in between, these historical poems capture the imagination and give pride to anyone who calls themselves 'American.'
SynergEbooks; October 2000
166 pages; ISBN 9780097038520
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Title: American Lyricon
Author: Joel L. Young
Introduction The premise of "American Lyricon"* is my vision of America through her eyes and mine. A personal anthology, this is a poetic replay of my own travels and flights of fancy concerning my idea of the ideal American. In the book, I have penned my experiences from Appalachia to the Rockies. Influenced by the Florida town where I live extending to the streets of New York, I have written of the American people, their music and ideals, and the struggles they have faced since the 1600s to the present. As a teen, I was deeply inspired by the John Wayne classic recitation, "America, Why I Love Her." John Mitchum, actor, poet, singer, songwriter, and brother of the legendary actor Robert Mitchum, wrote this poem for Wayne. The first poem in this anthology, "Under Wide, Wide Skies," was prompted by the long-lasting effects Wayne's words had upon my soul. Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" served as a partial blueprint for this anthology. You will hear Whitman's words echo throughout, from the shipyards of Brooklyn to the San Francisco Harbor and songs of the open road. Music plays a large role in my life. Woody Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty" to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" to John Mellancamp's "Pink Houses" and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" are era-specific songs that have provided profound inspiration to my poetry. In the 60s and early 70s, artists like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel's sang of America’s struggles. Thirty years later, country duo Brooks & Dunn reminds us that dreams still do come true, "Only in America." Song artists in America have always written songs in times of strife. America will prevail as Aaron Tippin sings, "Where the Stars & Stripes and the Eagle Fly." Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti provide a framework for this anthology's poetical beatitudes. You'll hear echoes of Langston Hughes and protest poet and professor orator Amari Baraka (Leroi Jones) as well as Longfellow, Poe, Whittier, Strindberg, Frost, Robert Service, and Seigfried Sassoon. Written in 1999, the long poem, "American Lyricon," is narrated as a series of monologues fashioned after the protest rallies of the 60s. The poem was written as a protest for what was going on at the time. Now after 9/11, questions are being raised again with confusion, frustration, and anger. There are no easy answers, though the fight will continue on all sides. Most of the work in "American Lyricon" was written prior to 9/11 and was originally released as an eBook in early September of 2000. Since then, about a dozen poems have been added. Two deal directly with the crises; one is a tribute poem and an ancestor of sorts to Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus." Part of that poem was used on the plaque held by the Statue of Liberty. Another poem, "Autumn (9/21/01)," originally titled "American Autumn," deals with the aftereffects of the 9/11 tragedy and the farming community, stressing that, above all, America is a family that gathers together and provides support in times of trial. "American Lyricon" has received some positive critical attention, winning an Honorable Mention from the Clara Awards 2001. I dedicate this book to our military men and women, the civil service workers, firefighters, policemen, EMTs, and others who serve, honor, and protect Americans. Ladies & gentlemen, I thank you. I would be remiss in not mentioning my father who passed away ten years ago. I feature a tribute poem to him. This book is also dedicated to my immediate family, mother, brother, sister, relatives, friends, former teachers, and other inspirers who encouraged me when others thought I was a lost cause. Joel L. Young - July 2002 *lyricon - a poem in a combined form
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