In 1943, the book was published in Italy (translated by Fernanda Pivano)
In 1956, the German composer Wolfgang Jacobi (de) set a selection of four poems as a song cycle for baritone and accordion entitled "Die Toten von Spoon River".
On June 2, 1957, the CBS Radio Network broadcast a radio adaptation of Spoon River Anthology, "Epitaphs", as part of its CBS Radio Workshop series. The adaptation was directed and narrated by William Conrad, with a cast including Virginia Gregg, Jeanette Nolan, Parley Baer, Richard Crenna, John Dehner and John McIntire.
In 1963, Charles Aidman adapted Spoon River Anthology into a theater production that is still widely performed today.
In 1971, the Italian songwriter Fabrizio De André released Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo, a concept album inspired by Spoon River Anthology.
In 1985, the British Composer Andrew Downes set a selection of five poems as a song cycle entitled "Songs from Spoon River."
In 1987, the Spanish writer Jon Juaristi wrote a poem entitled Spoon River, Euskadi (included in his book Suma de varia intención) to denounce the crimes of the Basque terrorist group ETA.
In 2000, alt-country singer Richard Buckner adapted parts of the Spoon River Anthology for his album The Hill.
Since 2004, writer and songwriter Mariana Figueroa and artist and author Francisco Tomsich works on Rio Cuchara project, a cycle of songs after Spoon River Anthologypoems. in 2005, the Utah State University's Creative Learning Environment Lab created an serious game entitled Voices of Spoon River, in which the player explores an environment and solved puzzles based on the Spoon River Anthology.
Songwriter Michael Peter Smith's song "Spoon River" is loosely based on Spoon River Anthology.
In 2011 "Spoon River Anthology" was adapted into a theatre production with music, called The Spoon River Project. It was performed at the Green-Wood Cemetery inBrooklyn.
Spoon River Anthology was originally submitted as a couple of poems to Reedy's Mirror in 1914, and then first published in 1915 with a total of two-hundred and nine poems. Masters added thirty-five new poems in the 1916 addition, expanding on new characters with connections to some of the originals. Among those poems, Andy the Night-Watch, Isa Nutter, Plymouth Rock Joe, and The Epilogue were included in the new edition.
Each following poem is an epitaph of a dead citizen, delivered by the dead themselves. They speak about the sorts of things one might expect: some recite their histories and turning points, others make observations of life from the outside, and petty ones complain of the treatment of their graves, while few tell how they really died. Speaking without reason to lie or fear the consequences, they construct a picture of life in their town that is shorn of façades. The interplay of various villagers — e.g. a bright and successful man crediting his parents for all he's accomplished, and an old woman weeping because he is secretly her illegitimate child — forms a gripping, if not pretty, whole.
The subject of afterlife receives only the occasional brief mention, and even those seem to be contradictory.
The work features such characters as Tom Merritt, Amos Sibley, Carl Hamblin, Fiddler Jones and A.D. Blood. Many of the characters that make appearances in Spoon River Anthology were based on real people that Masters knew or heard of in the two towns in which he grew up, Petersburg and Lewistown, Illinois. Most notable is Ann Rutledge, regarded in local legend to be Abraham Lincoln's early love interest though there is no actual proof of such a relationship. Rutledge's grave can still be found in a Petersburg cemetery, and a tour of graveyards in both towns reveals most of the surnames