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11.08.08 Lanier, Sidney Clopton, Poems of Sidney Lanier, published in 1884.

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Sidney Lanier (1842—1841), perhaps the South’s greatest poet of the post-Civil War period, was a Georgian.  He saw fighting in the Confederate army early in the war and then became a pilot, guiding blockade runners into Southern ports.  In this capacity he was captured and sent to the notorious Union prison at Point Lookout, Maryland.  There he contracted tuberculosis which troubled his health for the rest of his life and brought his early death at the age of 39.  After the war, Lanier supported his family with a variety of books—boys’ books, travelogues, literary criticism— some of which were quite popular.  Like a number of other Southerners he was appointed to the newly established Johns Hopkins Institute (University) as a lecturer in English literature.   Like Poe, Lanier’s poetry is musical.  Indeed, he was a composer and a self-taught flutist of concert quality.  His most popular poem, “The Marshes of Glynn,”  reveals his qualities well.  It reveals not only a great poet, but one with deep knowledge of nature.   Nearly all of Lanier’s works are in online versions.