The Wisdom of 101 Famous Poems

The Wisdom of
101 Famous Poems

Just about every American family has a copy of it in their living room:

The beloved poetry anthology 101 Famous Poems.

When I was a kid, its poems were like any other poems. But when I picked it up again as an adult, I realized that the anthology was unique – these were not random poems thrown together just because they were “famous” – they were about a certain kind of American philosophy of life. Unlike most modern poetry, they reflected values – often conservative values, and certainly the values that made America great.

What’s more, these are values we’re largely forgotten today. And they are values we all need today more than ever.

In my video project The Wisdom of 101 Famous Poems, a few friends and I put each poem onto video and add to an Essa about the values reflected in it – in the hope that maybe someone out there could use it a little perspective right now.

On Sympathy with the Devils of this World

by William Shakespeare

On the Inherent Selflessness of Christmas

Christmas Everywhere
by Phillips Brooks

The Miracle of Family

The Children’s Hour
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On the Constant Renewal of Life

The Snow-Storm
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Human Photosynthesis

by Joyce Kilmer

On Service to Your Country

The Spires of Oxford
by Winifred Letts

America is an empire of Ideas

by Rudyard Kipling

On Building the Houses of our Lives

The Builders
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Why Women are Always Beautiful

She was a Phantom of Delight
by William Wordsworth

On Giving in Secret

The Cloud
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Winning the Rat Race without Running It

The World Is Too Much With Us
by William  Wordsworth

On Suffering Well

How Did You Die?
by Edmund Vance Cooke