University Studies of the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



1943 Martin Severin Peterson


The only appeal that needs to be made for the poet, Henry Meade Bland, is that he deserves to be better known. The shadow of obscurity has fallen upon a number of our American regional poets and their places in the sun usurped by practitioners of the more currently popular forms of literature. When interest in poetry some day revives, it will be useful to have a record of the poets who responded to their surroundings because of an inward urge to sing. Some of the truly indigenous literature of our own and earlier times is to be found in regional poetry. Bland, it can be stated with assurance, was dedicated to his native region, California, and his poetry is indigenous thereto.

No extended biographical account of the poet Bland has appeared in the years since his death in 1931. A short sketch or two may be found in journalistic sources, the Overland Monthly, to specify one, and from the hand of the poet himself we are provided with a few hundred words of autobiography. The present short biographical essay was undertaken to supply this lack. The systematic preservation of the poet's letters, notes, and papers by Mrs. Gwendolen Penniman of San Jose, California, materially simplified the task of preparing the essay, and numerous interviews with surviving friends of the poet, particularly Mr. Roland Eberhart, provided authentic echoes from the life of a noble and gifted man.