The Poetry and Prose of Vachel Lindsay

Beginning in 1983 Spoon River Poetry Press sought, with the assistance of the Illinois Arts Council and the energies of editor Dennis Camp, to refurbish the sagging stock of Vachel Lindsay, one of the Midwest’s most fervent and visionary boosters, and, unfortunately, one of its most politically incorrect. At that moment Lindsay’s work had dropped out of most anthologies, out of most classrooms, out of the public consciousness, and out of print. The Spoon River Poetry Press editions of Lindsay’s poetry and prose did not much rescue Lindsay’s reputation, but they have brought his work back into print and revealed Lindsay to be, whatever his other weaknesses and excesses, a writer and artist of very great genius. “The Spoon River edition,” noted Timothy Hunt in American Literary Scholarship, 1985, “clearly supersedes the Collected Poems of 1925.”

Editor Dennis Camp arranged Lindsay’s poems in chronological order and integrated text with drawings. Volume 1 (1984) took Lindsay from 1909 through 1920. Volume 2 (1985) carried the poetry from 1920 through 1929, and included uncollected and unpublished poems and juvenilia. Volume 3 (1986) contained Camp’s notes, appendices, and a title index.

The Spoon River Poetry Press edition of Lindsay’s prose began in 1988 with the three prose texts for which Lindsay is most remembered: Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty, The Village Magazine, and the Art of the Moving Picture, still a standard text for film courses. Volume 2 of the prose (devoted mostly to The Golden Book of Springfield) is not yet published.

“Opening The Poetry of Vachel Lindsay after reading the [Macmillan] Collected Poems is like turning from a 1925 black-and-white movie to a 1984 Technicolor one . . . Camp has dropped Lindsay’s categories and followed a strictly chronological progression, from published book to published book. The result is as if Lindsay had suddenly been brought into sharp focus, with the gaps, the blurred sequences, and the mistakes of Collected Poems filled in and corrected to create a fully fleshed-out figure.”—James Hurt, The Chicago Reader

“Even his lesser work has its color, its energy, its curiosity value,”—John Gross, New York Times Book Review

“Lindsay’s faithfulness to his feelings and devotion to his art merit attention and respect. An important addition to collections of early 20th century American poetry.”—Choice

“Handsomely printed on glossy paper and remarkably free from typographical errors.”
—John Flanagan, Resources for American Literary Study

“Two beautiful editions, all errors corrected from the original Macmillan editions, plus, in volume 2, poems and drawings from Lindsay’s last four books, omitted by Macmillan, and other uncollected work. This is a collector’s item.”—George Meyers, Jr., Columbus Dispatch

“Buy or borrow this book and read it. IF you love poetry and dreamers, you’ll not regret it.”—Cary Peterson, The Capital Times

The Poetry of Vachel Lindsay
Volume 1
408 pages
$9.95 cloth

The Poetry of Vachel Lindsay
Volume 2
408 pages
$9.95 cloth

The Poetry of Vachel Lindsay
Volume 3
200 pages
$14.95 cloth

The Prose of Vachel Lindsay
Volume 1
338 pages