Will Carleton

William McKendree Carleton (21 October 1845 - 18 December 1912) was an American poet. Carleton's poems were most often about his rural life.

Early years

Born in rural Lenawee County, Hudson, Michigan, Carleton was the fifth child of John Hancock and Celeste (Smith) Carleton. In 1869, he graduated from Hillsdale College and delivered on that occasion the poem, Rifts in the Cloud.


After graduating from college in 1869, Carleton first worked as a newspaper journalist in Hillsdale. He had been in the habit of writing poetry as a youngster. His first significant work published was Betsy and I Are Out, a poignant tale of a divorce which was first published in the Toledo Blade, but then reprinted by Harper's Weekly. Betsy and I Are Out was written in 1871 when Carleton was only twenty-five and employed as editor of the Detroit Weekly Tribune. This poem was soon followed in 1872 by Over the Hill to the Poor House developing the plight of the aged and those with indifferent families. This piece captured national attention and catapulted Carleton into literary prominence -a position he held the rest of his life as he continued to write and to lecture from coast to coast".

In 1878, Carleton moved to Boston, where he married Anne Goodell, and they moved to New York City in 1882. Carleton remained active in his college fraternity and served as the New York City Delta Tau Delta alumni chapter's president. In 1907, he returned to Hudson as a renowned poet. Carleton's quotes are also well known throughout America. With the Public Act 51 of 1919, the Michigan legislature passed into law making it a duty upon teachers to teach at least one of his poems to children in school, and October 21st was officially named as Will Carleton Day in Michigan. Furthermore, a school in Hillsdale has been named after him, Will Carleton Academy. On top of that, a section of the M-99 in Hillsdale is dubbed Will Carleton Road.

On June 24, 2007, it was reported that "the neglected burial plot of the family of rural Michigan poet, Will Carleton, whose 1872 work, Over the Hill to the Poor House, thrust him into national prominence, is getting a makeover".

His works

"What Robert Burns did for the Scottish cotter and the Reverend William Barnes has done for the English farmer, Will Carleton has done for the American-touched with the glamour of poetry the simple and monotonous events of daily life, and shown that all circumstances of life, however trivial they may appear, possess those alternations of the comic and pathetic, the good and bad, the joyful and sorrowful, which go to make up the days and nights, the summers and winters, of this perplexing world".

  • Rifts in the Cloud (1869)
  • Poems (1871)
  • Betsy and I Are Out (1871)
  • Over the Hill to the Poorhouse (1872)
  • Farm Ballads (1873)
  • Farm Legends (1875)
  • Young Folks' Centennial Rhymes (1876)
  • Our Travelled Parson (1879)
  • Farm Festivals (1881)
  • The First Settler's Story (1881)
  • Her Tour (1882)
  • The Old Reading Class (1883)
  • The Hero Of the Tower (1884)
  • City Ballads (1885)
  • The Convict's Christmas Eve (1887)
  • An Ancient Spell (1887)
  • City Festivals (1892)
  • The Vestal Virgin (1893)
  • Four Dogs (1894)
  • Rhymes of Our Planet (1895)
  • The Lianhan Shee (1900)
  • Out of the Old House, Nancy (1900)
  • Songs of Two Centuries (1902)
  • The Little Black-Eyed Rebel (1906)
  • A Thousand Thoughts with Index of Subjects (1908)

This biography was taken verbatim from the Wikipedia. We're providing a snapshot just in case the Wikipedia servers were temporarily unreacheable. The original page is not only much more up-to-date, it also features links to other pages and sites. This snapshot was last updated: 09/13/2011. (mm/dd/yyyy)

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