The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

X. Later Poets

§ 15. Minor Figures

Harte, Miller, and Sill were born far from the Pacific coast region with which they are associated; the case is otherwise with the leading poets of the Middle West,—the Piatts, Carleton, Riley, and Moody. “The wedded poets,” John James Piatt (1835–1917), born in Indiana, and Sarah Morgan Piatt (1836–1912), born in Kentucky, together produced a large number of volumes of verse, little of which has survived its age. They used conventional forms, and wrote with care and skill; today, however, what interest they still have depends on the themes of their Western poems, such as The Mower in Ohio and Fires in Illinois. With the Piatts may be named Madison Cawein (1865–1915), of Kentucky, notable for his delicately fanciful sense of the camaraderie of nature. Will Carleton (1845–1912), born in Michigan and brought up on a farm, became a journalist, first in the West and later in the East, and a popular reader of his own work. In 1873 he published Farm Ballads, a group of crudely sentimental pieces directed at the common heart of humanity; forty thousand copies were sold within a year and a half. Poems like Out of the Old House, Nancy, and Gone with a Handsomer Man were not too good for anybody.