I have a teacher who'd like to include some period pieces in her social studies classes this fall. She'd like the poetry to be written from Colonial times through the 1880's Any ideas or resources would be great.
Walt Whitman's poetry is an excellent source for classroom reading. He is considered the father of American poetry and certainly a poet of democracy. LEAVES OF GRASS (1855) is his most notable collection and it includes one of his most famous poems (Song of Myself) and his civil-war themed poems like the "wound-dresser".
Anthologies are pretty easy to come by these days for collections of notable American poets. There is an old one that contains a good selection: THE AMERICAN POETS: 1800-1900 edited by Edwin Cady-- it is probably out of print and best found in used books stores.
Here are some others who are well-known for American poetry during this time:
Edgar Allan Poe
John Greenleaf Whitter
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
James Russell Lowell
Paul Lawrence Dunbar
The internet has many poetry resources these days for finding American poets. Try Academy of American Poets at www.poets.org There is a rich database with many resources for teaching poetry on that site.
Hope this helps! If I think of more, I will post a reply again!