Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty (1914) and A Handy Guide for Beggars (1916) are autobiographical accounts of Vachel Lindsay’s walking tours, narratives that simultaneously articulate the populist ideals of his life and identify the sources for much of his poetry, the themes and characters that preoccupied him in the years before his great success. These and other prose works and designs are collected in Adventures: Rhymes and Designs (1968; Robert Sayre, editor). Letters of Vachel Lindsay (1979; Marc Chénetier, editor) offers a fair sampling of Lindsay’s correspondence with the literary community after his fame was established. Lindsay produced quantities of broadsides and pamphlets on topics ranging from workers’ rights in the mines, to racial injustice, to his own peculiarly passionate brand of Christianity. These, frequently set in frames of hieroglyphs of his own design or scrawled sketches vaguely in the style of Art Nouveau, suggest both his wide-ranging ambition and his lack of focus, his mercurial temperament.