“(1915) A volume of verse epitaphs by Edgar Lee Masters. The men and women of Spoon River narrate their own biographies from the cemetery where they like buried. Realistic and sometimes cynical, the free-verse monologues often contradict the pious and optimistic epitaphs written on the gravestones. The poems made their first appearance in Reedy’s Mirror in 1914 and 1915, and William Marion Reedy himself was partly responsible for their inception: he gave Masters a copy of J.W. Mackall’s Select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology. And the style of the Greek poems impressed Masters deeply. New Spoon River (1924) was a less successful sequel.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.