Spoon River Anthology, a collection of poems by Edgar Lee Masters published in 1915-16, represents a milestone in the literary history of Illinois and the United States. It was recognized as innovative not only for its creative experimentation with poetic form but also for its unvarnished representation of life in a middle-American small town through the voices of inhabitants of its cemetery, who reflect upon their experiences from beyond the grave. Previously, most poets who wrote about American small communities portrayed them as idyllic and their residents as virtuous. Masters, however, has his characters speak not only of their virtues but also of their vices, internal and interpersonal conflicts, moral dilemmas, and failures. A native of west-central Illinois, Masters based those characters largely upon people he knew in and around Lewistown. Their recognizability initially scandalized the residents of that community but made them compelling and relatable to generations of readers.
Historical actors, Paddy and Jon Lynn will portray characters from this collection of poems.