Walt Whitman, John Burroughs, and J.P. Irvine represent a handful of the thousands of government clerks who worked in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War. But Irvine, a small-town poet from the Illinois prairies, was the one selected to address President Ulysses S. Grant and a crowd of 10,000 on Memorial Day 1873. Those words were lost, along with the legacy of the man. Until now.
Dustin Renwick tracked down that piece and more for his book, which explores Irvine’s life from his pioneer upbringing in western Illinois to his years in the nation’s capital. The poet excelled in his depictions of the Civil War, and the Chicago Tribune called some of Irvine’s nature poems “nearly pure gold.”
Beyond the Gray Leaf weaves biography and historical context with the rediscovered poems of this forgotten literary figure from 19th-century America.
Rating: 5 stars
Beyond the Gray Leaf by Dustin Renwick is a fascinating book. One that contains a collection of poems that readers everywhere can loose themselves within and enjoy. This book represents a poet’s life story and the poems he wrote. A wonderful way of bringing poetry to readers worldwide. Dustin Renwick knew exactly how to put together an educational yet entertaining read. It was like stepping back in time. Each word took me into the story and poetry presented to me. Each poem was beautifully written. I love poetry and this was by the best book I have seen featuring a poet. Overall, I highly recommend Beyond the Gray Leaf to all readers.