The Fireside Poets

The Fireside Poets were a group of New England poets whose work was morally uplifting and romantically engaging. The group’s name came from the family custom of reading poetry aloud beside a fire, a common form of entertainment in the 19th century. With the Fireside Poets, the poetry of American writers was, for the first time, on equal footing with that of their British counterparts.

Literary Analysis:

Stanza - the compact unit in which poets often organize their ideas and images. The groups of lines are sometimes characterized by a repeated pattern of rhyme and number of lines. Each stanza generally develops a separate idea, image, or example of figurative language; recognizing stanzas will help you trace this development.

Rhyme Scheme - the pattern of end rhyme in a stanza or an entire poem. Rhyme helps to make the words of a poem memorable and is often used to emphasize important words in the poem.

Meter - one of the tools used by poets to make language memorable and pleasing to the ear. It is defined as the repetition of a regular rhythmic unit in a line of poetry. Each unit, known as a foot, has one stressed syllable and either one or two unstressed syllables.

What gives life purpose?

People who live with purpose may be more likely to feel a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. What is it that gives life value or meaning? Is it self-expression, creativity, following one’s dream, or serving humanity?

Reading Skill:

Making inferences involves “reading between the lines”— making logical guesses based on evidence in the text to figure out what is not directly stated.

Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

A Psalm of Life and The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls

Henry Wordsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works include Paul Revere's Ride, The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and was one of the five Fireside Poets from New England.

Born: February 27, 1807, Portland, Maine

Died: March 24, 1882, Cambridge, Massachusetts

How do you view change?

Sometimes people have to choose between cherishing the past and looking toward the future. For example, when you move out of your parents’ house, will you expect them to keep your room exactly as it is or to convert it to a home office? How do you deal with change?


Oliver Wendell Holmes

The Chambered Nautilus and Old Ironsides

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. was an American physician, poet, and polymath based in Boston. A member of the Fireside Poets, he was acclaimed by his peers as one of the best writers of the day.

Born: August 29, 1809, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Died: October 7, 1894. Boston, Massachusetts

John Greenleaf Whittier was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Frequently listed as one of the Fireside Poets, he was influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Whittier is remembered particularly for his anti-slavery writings as well as his book Snow-Bound.
Born: December 17, 1807 Haverhill, MassachusettsDied: September 7, 1892 Hampton Falls, MA
James Russell Lowell was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets that rivaled the popularity of British poets.



Born: February 22, 1819 Cambridge, MassachusettsDied: August 12, 1891 Cambridge, Massachusetts