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American Passages: A Literary Survey

Rhythms in Poetry – Timeline


– Ezra Pound, “To Whistler, American” (1912), “In a Station of the Metro,” “A Pact” (1913), Cantos (1917)
– Robert Frost, A Boy’s Will, “Mowing” (1913), North of Boston, “After Apple-Picking” (1914), “Birches,” “Out, Out–” (1916)
– William Carlos Williams, The Tempers (1913)
– H.D., “Oread” (1914), Sea Garden, “Mid-day” (1916), “Leda” (1919)
– Carl Sandburg, “Chicago” (1914), “Child of the Romans” (1916), “Cool Tombs” (1918)
– T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915)
– Claude McKay, Harlem Shadows (1918), “If We Must Die,” “The Lynching” (1919)
– Genevieve Taggard, “Everyday Alchemy” (1919)
The Great Migration begins, prompting over 4,800,000 African Americans to move from southern to northern cities (1900-60)
First movie studio opens in Hollywood (1911)
Igor Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring is performed (1913)
World War I begins in Europe (1914)
Panama Canal opens (1914)
D. W. Griffith’s film Birth of a Nation opens (1915)
The United States enters World War I (1917)
World War I ends (1918)
Prohibition begins, spurring an increase in illegal sales of alcohol (1919-33)
“The Red Summer”: race riots and the number of lynchings increase (1919)

[6556] Vincent Aderente, COLUMBIA CALLS (1916) courtesy of Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-8315].


– Ezra Pound, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley: Life and Contacts (1920)
– Claude McKay, “Tropics in New York,” Spring in New Hampshire (1920), “Africa” (1921), Home to Harlem (1928), Banjo (1929)
– Langston Hughes, “Mexican Games,” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (1921), The Weary Blues, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” “Brass Spittoons” (1926), “Mulatto” (1927)
– H.D., “At Baia” (1921), “Fragment 113” (1922), “Helen” (1924)
– Genevieve Taggard, “With Child” (1921), For Eager Lovers (1922), May Days (1926)
– Robert Frost, “Design” (1922), “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (1923)
– T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922), “The Hollow Men” (1925)
– William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow” (1923), In the American Grain(1925)
– Jean Toomer, Cane (1923)
Women gain the right to vote (1920)
The Harlem Renaissance makes Harlem a spot for many artists and writers (1920-40)
The Ku Klux Klan boasts a higher membership than ever (1921)
Shuffle Along, the first all-black musical, opens (1921)
First talking picture, The Jazz Singer, opens (1927) First experimental television broadcast in the United States (1928)
The Stock Market collapses, beginning the Great Depression (1929)

[5479] Winold Reiss, DRAWING IN TWO COLORS (c. 1920), courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-5687].


– T. S. Eliot, “Ash Wednesday” (1930), Murder in the Cathedral (1935)
– Genevieve Taggard, The Life and Mind of Emily Dickinson (1930), “At Last the Women Are Moving” (1935)
– Langston Hughes, “I Too” (1932)
– Jean Toomer, “The Blue Meridian” (1936)
– Robert Frost, “Two Tramps in Mud Time” (1936)
Nation of Islam founded (1930)
Technicolor introduces full color film (1930)
Maiden flight of first multipassenger commercial airliner (1933)
“The New Deal” is introduced (1933)
Artists’ Union founded (1934)
World War II begins in Europe (1939)


– Langston Hughes, “Ballad of Booker T” (1941), “Democracy,” “Note on Commercial Theater” (1949)
– Robert Frost, “The Gift Outright” (1942)
– T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets (1943), The Cocktail Party (1949)
– William Carlos Williams, “The Dance,” “Burning of the Christmas Greens” (1944), Paterson (1946)
– H.D., The Walls Do Not Fall (1944), Tribute to the Angels (1945), The Flowering of the Rod (1946)

Attack on Pearl Harbor brings the United States into World War II (1941)
Atlantic Charter issued by Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (1941)
Conference among Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin in Yalta (1945)
The United States drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; World War II ends (1945)
United Nations established (1945)
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established (1947)
Pan Am begins round-the-world commercial flights (1947)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established (1949)

[3075] William P. Gottlieb, PORTRAIT OF BILLIE HOLIDAY AND MISTER DOWNBEAT, NEW YORK, N.Y. (1947) courtesy of Library of Congress, American Memory, William P. Gottleib Collection [LC-GLB23-0428 DLC].