The purpose of this book is to provide an affordable compilation of good, popular American poetry for the enjoyment of students and the general public.
When considering whether to buy this book, it is important to note that the title is *not* _The 101 Greatest American Poems_. It is more modestly, _101 Great American Poems_, which were selected for a variety of reasons.
These are mostly old favorites, which is to be expected because the back of the book reads, "selected for both popularity and literary quality..."
The publishers appear to have tried to include poems from blacks and other people that historically had a hard time publishing. There are 35 poets, ten of whom are women, and four are black. Only William Carlos Williams represents anyone of Hispanic descent. Historically, in terms of poems that have been appreciated and loved by the majority of Americans, this is a fair representation. On the other hand, we know now that many other great poems were not published or publicized because of the color of the author's skin, or her sex. Therefore, depending on what you are looking for, you may or may not be happy with this compilation. Our family is happy with it as an introduction to well-known poems but we'll probably supplement with less-known poetry using other collections.
The poems are arranged in chronological order. If you are looking to introduce a child to poetry, they are generally of quite manageable length. There are several which are appropriate for recitation, reading at the dinner table, or reading at bedtime.
Many of the poems deal with death so it might not be the ideal introduction for the very sensitive child who is reading on her own.