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Beyond the Gray Leaf

The Life and Poems of J.P. Irvine

By Dustin Renwick

Walt Whitman, John Burroughs, and J.P. Irvine represent a handful of the thousands of government clerks who worked in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War. But Irvine, a small-town poet from the Illinois prairies, was the one selected to address President Ulysses S. Grant and a crowd of 10,000 on Memorial Day 1873. Those words were lost, along with the legacy of the man. Until now. 

The Illinois poet excelled in his depictions of the Civil War, and the Chicago Tribune called Irvine’s nature poems "nearly pure gold." Dustin Renwick deftly weaves biography and historical context with the rediscovered poems of this forgotten literary figure from 19th-century America.