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Songs for the Open Road: Poems of Travel and Adventure

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Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced wanderlust. For many, the desire to explore is almost irresistible. Now for devotees of poetry, and for those who long for the open road, this highly affordable collection contains a rich selection of poems about travel and adventure. You’ll find more than 90 poems by 50 American and British masters (mainly from the ninet Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced wanderlust. For many, the desire to explore is almost irresistible. Now for devotees of poetry, and for those who long for the open road, this highly affordable collection contains a rich selection of poems about travel and adventure. You’ll find more than 90 poems by 50 American and British masters (mainly from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries), including Whitman, Byron, Millay, Sandburg, Service, Bliss Carman, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Masefield, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Shelley, Tennyson, Yeats, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Claude McKay, Christina Rossetti, and other fellow travelers. Their poems celebrate the real and metaphorical journeys each of us takes in the course of our lives towards love, discovery, loss, leaving the nest, and coming home. Whatever your mode of transportation, and wherever you are going, take this literary traveling companion with you for hours of reading enjoyment and insight into the road that lies ahead.


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Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced wanderlust. For many, the desire to explore is almost irresistible. Now for devotees of poetry, and for those who long for the open road, this highly affordable collection contains a rich selection of poems about travel and adventure. You’ll find more than 90 poems by 50 American and British masters (mainly from the ninet Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced wanderlust. For many, the desire to explore is almost irresistible. Now for devotees of poetry, and for those who long for the open road, this highly affordable collection contains a rich selection of poems about travel and adventure. You’ll find more than 90 poems by 50 American and British masters (mainly from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries), including Whitman, Byron, Millay, Sandburg, Service, Bliss Carman, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Masefield, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Shelley, Tennyson, Yeats, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Claude McKay, Christina Rossetti, and other fellow travelers. Their poems celebrate the real and metaphorical journeys each of us takes in the course of our lives towards love, discovery, loss, leaving the nest, and coming home. Whatever your mode of transportation, and wherever you are going, take this literary traveling companion with you for hours of reading enjoyment and insight into the road that lies ahead.

30 review for Songs for the Open Road: Poems of Travel and Adventure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jo Walton

    Really excellent selection, pulling together a lot of great poetry in a very good mix of things I already liked and things I hadn't previously encountered. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wish there were more books like this.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I have had a copy of this book for years and love to re-read it every once in a while. The yellowed pages are lined with notes and dog-eared to favorite pages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Donna Craig

    Travel is my main hobby, along with my husband. Every year, we plan for one major domestic and one major international vacation, plus several weekend trips within easy driving distance. Needless to say, Covid has not been kind to our lifestyle. Just when my wanderlust threatened to overwhelm me, this skinny little book of poetry came to my rescue! Poems about the open road, ships on the sea, trains, flight, even spiritual journeys fill the 61 pages. I was surprised to discover a poem about train Travel is my main hobby, along with my husband. Every year, we plan for one major domestic and one major international vacation, plus several weekend trips within easy driving distance. Needless to say, Covid has not been kind to our lifestyle. Just when my wanderlust threatened to overwhelm me, this skinny little book of poetry came to my rescue! Poems about the open road, ships on the sea, trains, flight, even spiritual journeys fill the 61 pages. I was surprised to discover a poem about train rides by one of my personal favorites, Ogden Nash! I had never read that one before. I spent longer than I expected to, savoring these verses. Poetry shouldn’t be rushed. My passport is starving.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This was my first introduction to Edna St. Vincent Millay and I'm excited to read more of her work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Lovely! Poems whose themes are traveling, moving... a very thoughtful gift from my wife!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Littrell

    A lovely, inexpensive collection of poems, perfect to inspire the entire gamut of emotions traveling engenders, from wanderlust to homesickness. If you want to travel or to go home, to go by air or by sea or by foot, you will have no trouble finding the right poem for you, with a variety of poets and styles to choose from. Although it's also a strength, I found the selection of poems could have been trimmed, or at least better arranged. Too often, the next poem would be a little too similar and t A lovely, inexpensive collection of poems, perfect to inspire the entire gamut of emotions traveling engenders, from wanderlust to homesickness. If you want to travel or to go home, to go by air or by sea or by foot, you will have no trouble finding the right poem for you, with a variety of poets and styles to choose from. Although it's also a strength, I found the selection of poems could have been trimmed, or at least better arranged. Too often, the next poem would be a little too similar and thus hurt by comparison. Nevertheless, this is a must-have poetry collection for anyone longing to hit the road, with enough to please anybody. Some of my personal favorites: "what is" by E. E. Cummings -- its syntax is as jarring as a ship at sea. And that's what makes it marvelous. You must read this one aloud. "Death of an Old Seaman" by Langston Hughes -- A quiet, touching ode to a human but seabound soul. "Recuerdo" by Edna St. Vincent Millay -- a backpacking couple's anthem. Guaranteed to inspire envy. I will definitely be revisiting this collection from time to time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    An enjoyable collection of mostly mid-19th to mid-20th century poetry, including poems by, among many others, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. I particularly liked this Imagist poem by Carl Sandburg: Night from a railroad car window Is a great, dark, soft thing Broken across with slashes of light. Also if you're the type to appreciate found poetry, take a few minutes to scan the index of authors, titles, and first lines. In a small colle An enjoyable collection of mostly mid-19th to mid-20th century poetry, including poems by, among many others, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. I particularly liked this Imagist poem by Carl Sandburg: Night from a railroad car window Is a great, dark, soft thing Broken across with slashes of light. Also if you're the type to appreciate found poetry, take a few minutes to scan the index of authors, titles, and first lines. In a small collection like this in which the poems are all working on similar topics and themes, the titles and first lines can sometimes come together in rather pleasing ways. For example: Out in the sky the great dark clouds are massing; Out where the handclasp's a little stronger, Out Where the West Begins and The Railroad track is miles away, The sea is flecked with bars of grey, The tide rises, the tide falls The world's an inn, and I her guest

  8. 4 out of 5

    Justin Wiggins

    Reading this volume of poetry by many great poets filled with a great sense of adventure, and reminded me that everyday itself is quite an adventure. This book will be one that I return to again and again. My two particular favorites were There Is No Frigate Like A Book by Emily Dickinson, and The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jane Erickson

    A great short anthology to fill you with longing for an adventure. It included a mixture of well-known classics, along with some lesser-known poems I'd never read, but thoroughly enjoyed. Some new discoveries worth mentioning: - Columbus by Joaquin Miller - High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. - Exultation is in the Going by Emily Dickinson - The Winds of Fate by Ella Wheeler Wilcox - America for Me by Henry Van Dyke - Escapist—Never by Robert Frost - Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay - Taking the Ni A great short anthology to fill you with longing for an adventure. It included a mixture of well-known classics, along with some lesser-known poems I'd never read, but thoroughly enjoyed. Some new discoveries worth mentioning: - Columbus by Joaquin Miller - High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. - Exultation is in the Going by Emily Dickinson - The Winds of Fate by Ella Wheeler Wilcox - America for Me by Henry Van Dyke - Escapist—Never by Robert Frost - Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay - Taking the Night Train by John James Piat

  10. 4 out of 5

    William

    Mostly familiar names. Good stuff, but nothing ground breaking. Nice inclusion in my collection. Nice Mother's Day gift in anticipation for a family trip this summer. Beyond that, there are better ways to experience these poems, I think.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Many familiar favorites, many new to me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Casey Carter

    Great collection from Frost to Edward Arlington Robinson to Longfellow to Poe.

  13. 5 out of 5

    ruby vozza

    Really nice assortment of poetry (Romantic, Victorian, and Modern), lots of Longfellow, Lord Byron, Whitman, Hughes, Service, Dickinson, etc...but I didn't like that there was a fair amount of excerpting (like with Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Little Gidding).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    This is the third of four Dover poetry anthologies that I am reviewing. As is the case with the others, this is an inexpensive, easily portable volume. There are 99 poems by 62 different poets. Includes 'A' Listers such as Browning, Cummings, Dickinson, Eliot, Frost, Longfellow, Nash, Poe, Sandburg, Whitman, and Yeats. Though the narrow focus of the subject matter also allows for inclusion of lesser known poets who might not be recognized otherwise. The pieces are organized into three sections: S This is the third of four Dover poetry anthologies that I am reviewing. As is the case with the others, this is an inexpensive, easily portable volume. There are 99 poems by 62 different poets. Includes 'A' Listers such as Browning, Cummings, Dickinson, Eliot, Frost, Longfellow, Nash, Poe, Sandburg, Whitman, and Yeats. Though the narrow focus of the subject matter also allows for inclusion of lesser known poets who might not be recognized otherwise. The pieces are organized into three sections: Songs For the Open Road; Sea, Rail, and Sky; and Home, Rest, and Final Voyages. There is an index of poets' names, titles, and first lines. I have selected ten poems that deserve special mention: "The Sacred" - Stephen Dunn "Get Up, Blues" - James Emanuel "The Road Not Taken" - Robert Frost "Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" - Frost "The New Colossus" - Emma Lazarus "Sea-Fever" - John Masefield "Exiled" - Edna St. Vincent Millay "Riding On A Railroad Train" - Ogden Nash "Night Journey" - Theodore Roethke "America For Me" - Henry Van Dyke

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nate Jordon

    For my thesis research... Here I discovered Robert Service - a phenomenal poet in my respect. His poems sit beside Walt Whitman's, e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, and even the Bible in this collection. It's a nice menagerie of poems and poets, though very small - about seventy pages total. My only issue with the text is the range of works does not solely focus on the "open road" - there's poems of sea, air, and rail travel too. This would be more aptly titled "Wanderlust: Poems for the Nomad" or som For my thesis research... Here I discovered Robert Service - a phenomenal poet in my respect. His poems sit beside Walt Whitman's, e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, and even the Bible in this collection. It's a nice menagerie of poems and poets, though very small - about seventy pages total. My only issue with the text is the range of works does not solely focus on the "open road" - there's poems of sea, air, and rail travel too. This would be more aptly titled "Wanderlust: Poems for the Nomad" or something...

  16. 4 out of 5

    D.M. Kilgore

    An excellent collection of poems about traveling by cars, trains, ships, planes, even chariots! The feel of the entire book is one of wandering inspiration. If you have a gypsy soul these poems are sure to stir it. There are as wide a variety of topics as there are vehicles by which to enjoy them. It covers works by Frost and Longfellow, which I really enjoyed reading (as always) but there are so many great poets in the pages that I simply can't list them all here. By the final page you'll be re An excellent collection of poems about traveling by cars, trains, ships, planes, even chariots! The feel of the entire book is one of wandering inspiration. If you have a gypsy soul these poems are sure to stir it. There are as wide a variety of topics as there are vehicles by which to enjoy them. It covers works by Frost and Longfellow, which I really enjoyed reading (as always) but there are so many great poets in the pages that I simply can't list them all here. By the final page you'll be ready to set out on the open road by any means you fancy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    A great collection of poems about traveling. Trains, cars, ships, planes, chariots, and so many other types of vehicles are mentioned in this book. It's got a wide range of topics, such homesickness, life at sea, Greek myths... there's even one poem about fairies! My favorite ones were by Robert Frost and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, but there were so many great authors beside them. By the end of the book you'll be yearning for new places and adventure.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Faith McKay

    As others have pointed out, this is a collection of poems by various authors, not just Walt Whitman. This is a really great, fun (albeit short) collection of poems all about travel! This is exactly what I was looking for. It's fun, inspiring, and I found some new poets to check out, I definitely recommend going through this little book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    A nice collection of poetry. I enjoyed reading them and doing my best to figure out meanings. Some beautiful and some sad but all wonderful! My favorites where "Acquainted with the Night" by Robert Frost and "The Stolen Child" by William Butler Yeats

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liz Banks

    I started this right after a vacation. It is an anthology of poets. The chapters are: The Open Road; Sea, Rail and Sky; and Home, Rest and Final Voyages. I was in the mood and this slim volume was right on.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    I love the "old-fashioned" poetry, like Longfellow, Byron, Poe even, but modern poetry isn't for me. Besides, a well-chosen collection

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Got it in the glove compartment of my brand new '98 VW Golf, which was awesome.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Looper

    Nice collection of travel/adventure-related poetry! Although Whitman comes up as the author of this book, there are numerous poets included in this book. Enjoyed it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Marie

    Not very exciting choices.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachelfm

    Worth it to know Ogden Nash calls cars "chromium weasels" and to discover Constantine Cavafy's "Ithaka"

  26. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    This book can be compared to the bible of poetry and should be read by anyone who enjoys diving into the depths of poetry.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Landon

    I liked this book and the song/poems that were in this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This was an ok book how ever I do wish the author had done more to make it more interesting. I look forward to reading more of this author's work.

  29. 4 out of 5

    E. T. Brother

    Not a bad read

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    This is not just the Walt Whitman poem, it is a collection of American poems about travel. Rucksack revolution indeed!

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