James Whitcomb Riley

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

Riley, James Whitcomb



Born in Greenfield, Indiana, in June, 1853, and died at Indianapolis, July, 1916. He occupied a field unique in American literature and probably no poet came as near to the heart of the people. Popularly known as "The Hoosier Poet", because his verse was largely written in the dialect of the common people of his native State of Indiana, he was yet a poet of the truest gifts, and many of his dialect poems bid fair to become classic. Mr. Riley did not confine himself, however, to the use of dialect, but wrote some exquisite poetry in other fields. Unlike many poets, he lived to see himself not only the most beloved and honored citizen of his native State, which annually celebrates "Riley Day", but the most widely known and beloved poet of his period in America. Mr. Riley was so voluminous a writer that we have scarcely space to list all of his titles, but among the favorite volumes are: "The Old Swimmin' Hole, and 'Leven More Poems", 1883; "Afterwhiles", 1887; "Pipes o' Pan at Zekesbury", 1888; "Rhymes of Childhood", 1890; "Green Fields and Running Brooks", 1892; "Armazindy", 1894; "Love Lyrics", 1899; "Home Folks", 1900; "Farm Rhymes", 1901; "An Old Sweetheart of Mine", 1902; "Out to Old Aunt Mary's", 1904; "Raggedy Man", 1907; "The Little Orphant Annie Book", 1908; "When the Frost is on the Punkin, and Other Poems", 1911; "Knee Deep in June, and Other Poems", 1912; and the Biographical Edition of the complete works, 1913.

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