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[258] Riley, more completely than any American poet since Longfellow, succeeded in expressing the actual poetic feelings of the men and women who composed his immense audience. Riley, like Aldrich, went to school to Herrick, Keats, Tennyson, and Longfellow, but when he began writing newspaper verse in his native Indiana he was guided by two impulses which gave individuality to his work. “I was always trying to write of the kind of people I knew, and especially to write verse that I could read just as if it were spoken for the first time.” The first impulse kept him close to the wholesome Hoosier soil. The second is an anticipation of Robert Frost's theory of speech tones as the basis of verse, as well as a revival of the bardic practice of reciting one's own poems. For Riley had much of the actor and platform-artist in him, and comprehended that poetry might be made again a spoken art, directed to the ear rather than to the eye. His vogue, which at his death in 1915 far surpassed that of any living American poet, is inexplicable to those persons only who forget the sentimental traditions of our American literature and its frank appeal to the emotions of juvenility, actual and recollected. Riley's best “holt” as a poet was his memory of

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