In Monticello in Mind, poet Lisa Russ Spaar collects fifty contemporary poems--most original to this anthology--that engage the complex legacy of Thomas Jefferson and his plantation home at Monticello. Many of these poems wrestle with the history of race and freedom at the heart of both Jefferson’s story and America’s own. Others consider Jefferson as a figure of Enlightenment rationalism, who scrupulously excised evidence of the supernatural from the gospels in order to construct his own version of Jesus’s moral teachings. Still others approach Jefferson as an early colonizer of the West, whose purchase of the Louisiana territory and launch of the Lewis and Clark expedition anticipated the era of Manifest Destiny.
Featuring a roster of poets both emerging and established--including Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, Claudia Emerson, Terrance Hayes, Robert Hass, Yusef Komunyakaa, Tracy K. Smith, Natasha Tretheway, Charles Wright, and Kevin Young--this collection offers an aesthetically and culturally diverse range of perspectives on a man whose paradoxes still abide at the heart of the American experiment.
Cloth cover, 168 pages.
About the author
Lisa Russ Spaar, Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose and the editor of All That Mighty Heart: London Poems (Virginia).