Ralph Waldo Emerson once described Henry Thoreau's poetry as "the purest strain, and the loftiest, I think, that has yet pealed from this unpoetic American forest." Not always thus esteemed, Thoreau's verses were by no means ignored. Bronson Alcott applauded them; James Russell Lowell asserted their rawness; Nathaniel Hawthorne grudgingly approved them. As author of Walden and Civil Disobedience, Thoreau the writer of prose is world-renowned, but Thoreau the poet has been all but forgotten.
This collection has all of Thoreau's original verse--the glowing lines and the quiet, the prosaic and the Transcendental. And all have at the very least the large, astringent force of young genius.