Stephen Vincent Benet

Pennsylvania / United States
Stephen Vincent Benet
Pennsylvania / United States
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American Names

I have fallen in love with American names,
The sharp names that never get fat,
The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims,
The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat,
Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat.

Seine and Piave are silver spoons,
But the spoonbowl-metal is thin and worn,
There are English counties like hunting-tunes
Played on the keys of a postboy's horn,
But I will remember where I was born.
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Saturday, January 17, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: america
Jake Rosenberg 23 March 2021
When I read the poem, I say Blue-Gummed Brother. That's what it ought to be.
0 0 Reply
sojournist 16 October 2020
How about simply " a blue-gummed black to sing me blues."
0 0 Reply
Molly Fisk 09 July 2020
Have always wondered who they were, John Andrews! And have never memorized the poem because of that blue-gum line. Liking the suggestions below, but not sure about the ethics of changing someone else's line, no matter how distasteful and archaic it is.
0 0 Reply
John Andrews 01 July 2020
Chris Flannery featured this on his American Story podcast recently, very moving. Who do you think he means by Henry and John in stanza 6? Some blogger suggested two American expats tending to favor Europe over the USA, Henry Adams and John Dos Passos. I'm not persuaded. One could be Henry James, though. The other perhaps John Reed. Your guesses?
1 0 Reply
Jeannie Dunn 06 April 2021
Henry James and John Dos Passos.
0 0 Reply
David Toll 25 December 2019
How about a New Orleans man to sing me the blues?
3 1 Reply
Reaa Fuerth 13 October 2018
How wonderful! He captured that essence that belongs only to us.
1 0 Reply
Modern Translator 23 January 2018
Substitute “and a Muddy Waters to sing me blues” in the next-to-last line of the 4th stanza.
5 1 Reply

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