Why is Freneau an important American poet
Philip Freneau takes his place in American poetry as the third important American poet. [ Born 2 January 1752 in New York, Freneau actually becomes the first American poet born on American soil, as both Bradstreet and Taylor were born in England.
Freneau was a romantic at heart, but because of the nature of the political atmosphere in which he lived, he became a political satirist of the
British during the revolutionary era. He attended Princeton University, where he was a roommate of the future president James Madison. After graduating from Princeton, Freneau tried teaching but discovered he hated it. His first popular success with writing came in 1775 as he wrote satirical pamphlets.
He remained a creative writer his whole life but also earned his living as a farmer, a journalist, and a sea captain. He wrote "The House of Night," in the West Indies, where he traveled in 1776. According to F. L. Pattee, this poem was "the first distinctly romantic note heard in America."
Despite his many political and journalistic writings, Freneau was first a poet and a deeply spiritual man who would have preferred concentrating on writing about the mystery of God and the beauty of nature, had his times allowed such. It is, therefore, fitting that he be called the "Father of American Poetry." The following lines show this preference:
On these bleak climes by fortune thrown
Where rigid reason reigns alone,
Where lovely fancy has no sway,
Nor magic forms about us play-
Nor nature takes her summer hue,
Tell me, what has the muse to do?
It is surprising that Freneau's name is not more prominent in the world of poetry, but no doubt misunderstandings of his works have resulted from early judgments by political opponents who dubbed him "a writer of wretched and insolent doggerel, an incendiary journalist." Such harsh criticism surely helps account for the relative obscurity of this poet. ]
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