American Cycle, a sequence of long poems inspired by our folklore and past, was written over a period of forty-seven years. Its forms are invented out of the traditions of the language, as appropriate to its subjects. Its styles are deeply connected to American speech: Spanish words loaned from Old California, the rough colloquialisms of Paul Bunyan, the power of African-American vernacular English in John Henry, the bare oratory of Chief Joseph, the old west phrases in Wyatt Earp, the circus ballyhoo of P. T. Barnum, the aviation jargon in Amelia Earhart, the backwoods dialect of Blue Ridge, and U. S. Rivers braids eyewitness history, legends, and old folk songs. Plot, as a literary device, is replaced with life, in varying shapes, and character, with the universe inside. The Cycle’s themes are love, local mythology, history, justice, memory, accomplishment, time. I hear America singing, the varied carols. . .