Kindilien, Carlin T.
American poetry in the eighteen nineties; a study of American verse,
Providence: Brown University Press, 1956.
Although editions of John Hay's Pike County Ballads continued to appear
during the Nineties, he added nothing of significance to the dialect poetry
he had written early in the Seventies. Another mid-westerner who came on
to the East and helped prolong the age of sentiment was Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
the composer of serviceable commonplaces like "Laugh and the world laughs
with you." Graduated from the school of Wisconsin farm girls who wanted
to be poets, she became popular for her fervid romantic gush during the
Eighties. Sententious and fluent, full of passionate conceits, amazingly
fertile in literary production, she held her audience through the Nineties
with such poems as "When Baby Souls Sail Out," "An Old Drawer," and "Custer."