Synopses & Reviews
This highly respected anthology presents the works of 70 poets who have shaped the contours and direction of mainstream American poetry from 1960 to the present. Designed to provide a rich reading experience for both undergrad and graduate courses, more than 500 selections illustrate the variety and vitality of American poetry over the last few decades. For each poet, the collection features a generous sampling of their work along with a photo, biographical sketches, and bibliographies.
About the Author
A. Poulin, Jr., editor of the first six editions of Contemporary American Poetry, died in June, 1996. Michael Waters (Ph.D., Ohio University) teaches at Salisbury University in Maryland and in the New England College MFA Program. A widely-respected poet, he has published eight full-length volumes, and his work has appeared in numerous journals, including Poetry, American Poetry Review, Yale Review, and Kenyon Review. The recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, several Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and three Pushcart Prizes, he has been a resident fellow at Yaddo, MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (Ireland), Le Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland), and the St. James Cavalier Centre (Malta). He has read his poems at universities both here and abroad, and has been Visiting Professor of American Literature at the University of Athens, Greece, Banister Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College, Stadler Poet-in-Residence at Bucknell University, and Distinguished Poet-in-Residence at Wichita State University.
Table of Contents
Ai The Mother's Tale The Mortician's Twelve-Year-Old Son Twenty-Year Marriage Why Can't I Leave You? I Have Got to Stop Loving You So I Have Killed My Black Goat Finished Riot Act, April 29, 1992 John Ashbery Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror Marvin Bell The Self and the Mulberry To Dorothy The Mystery of Emily Dickinson To an Adolescent Weeping Willow White Clover Drawn by Stones, by Earth, by Things That Have Been in the Fire Sevens (Version 3): In the Closed Iris of Creation Ars Poetica at the Window John Berryman from The Dream Songs: 4 [Filling her compact and delicious body]; 14 [Life, friends, is boring]; 26 [The glories of the world]; 29 [There sat down, once]; 47 [April Fool's Day, or, St. Mary of Egypt]; 89 Op. posth. no.12; 91 Op. posth. no. 14; 129 [Thin as a sheet]; 172 [Your face broods]; 366 [Chilled in this Irish pub]; 382 [At Henry's bier]; 384 [The marker slants] Elizabeth Bishop The Fish At the Fishhouses In the Waiting Room One Art Robert Bly An Empty Place Snowbanks North of the House The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog Warning to the Reader Six Winter Privacy Poems Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter After Long Busyness The Dead Seal Looking into a Tide Pool The Yellow Dot The Russian Pitzeem and the Mare Gwendolyn Brooks from A Street in Bronzeville: the mother; a song in the front yard A Lovely Love The Lovers of the Poor Beverly Hills, Chicago We Real Cool The Egg Boiler Olga Broumas The Choir Caritas Calypso Lucille Clifton [i was born with twelve fingers] at the cemetery, walnut grove plantation, south carolina, 1989 the lost baby poem [at last we killed the roaches] homage to my hips wishes for sons poem to my uterus lumpectomy eve scar lorena moonchild the gift Billy Collins Litany Sonnet Japan Osso Buco Man in Space By a Swimming Pool outside Siracusa Writing in the Afterlife Robert Creeley I Know a Man After Lorca The Figures The Language The Flower Something The Warning The Act of Love James Dickey The Heaven of Animals The Sheep Child The Poisoned Man The Hospital Window Adultery Stephen Dobyns Long Story Bowlers Anonymous How to Like It Fragments Tenderly Tomatoes Cemetery Nights Rita Dove American Smooth Crab-Boil Wingfoot Lake The Breathing, the Endless News After Reading Mickey in the Night Kitchen for the Third Time Before Bed Parsley Testimonial Stephen Dunn The Stairway Instead of You The Routine Things Around the House Cohabiting The Insistence of Beauty Landscape at the End of the Century Louise Erdrich Jacklight The Strange People I Was Sleeping Were the Black Oaks Move Indian Boarding School: The Runaways Dear John Wayne Mary Magdalene Christ's Twin New Vows Carol Frost Chimera Homo Sapiens Sexual Jealousy Laws Fury Scorn To Kill a Deer The St. Louis Zoo Telling the Bees The Part of the Bee's Body Embedded in the Flesh The Undressing Allen Ginsberg from Howl America Ode to Failure Louise Glück Nostos The Mirror Mock Orange Retreating Wind The White Rose Midnight Parable of the Flight The Balcony Vespers Celestial Music Albert Goldbarth The Talk Show Ancestored-Back is the Overpresiding Spirit of This Poem Reality Organization Arguing Bartusiak The Whole Earth Catalogue Kimiko Hahn The Izu Dancer The Older Child The Shower The Artist's Daughter Reckless Sonnet Donald Hall Maple Syrup In the Kitchen of the Old House When the Young Husband The Porcelain Couple Ardor Digging Michael S. Harper We Assume: On the Death of Our Son, Reuben Masai Harper Reuben, Reuben Dear John, Dear Coltrane Love Medley: Patrice Cuchulain This Is My Son's Song:"Ungie, Hi Ungie" Studs Here Where Coltrane Is Robert Hass The Image Meditation at Lagunitas A Story About the Body Privilege of Being Happiness Our Lady of the Snows Spring Drawing 2 Faint Music Robert Hayden Those Winter Sundays Night, Death, Mississippi Middle Passage William Heyen The Return The Pigeons Witness Simple Truths Blackbird Spring Yellowjackets Andrew Hudgins The Chinaberry One Threw a Dirt Clod and It Ran Heat Lightening in a Time of Drought Grandmother's Spit In Ashes Supper Richard Hugo Living Alone Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg A Map of Montana in Italy The Lady in Kicking Horse Reservoir Death in the Aquarium Langaig Donald Justice Early Poems First Death Children Walking Home from School Through Good Neighborhood Psalm and Lament Absences Men at Forty Variations on a Text by Vallejo In Memory of the Unknown Poet, Robert Boardman Vaughn Galway Kinnell Blackberry Eating After Making Love We Hear Footsteps The Bear The Fundamental Project of Technology Flower of Five Blossoms Carolyn Kizer Thrall The Intruder A Widow in Wintertime from Pro Femina: One [From Sappho to myself, consider the fate of women] Semele Recycled The Skein Yusef Komunyakaa Audacity of the Lower Gods Blackberries Work In the Background of Silence Tu Do Street Thanks Boys in Dresses Ode to the Maggot Maxine Kumin Morning Swim To Swim, to Believe Heaven as Anus Requiem on I-89 The Grace of Geldings in Ripe Pastures Woodchucks The Highwayman In the Pea Patch In the Park Nurture Stanley Kunitz The Layers Robin Redbreast The Wellfleet Whale The Abduction The Portrait Touch Me The Long Boat Li-Young Lee The Gift Persimmons Eating Alone Eating Together My Indigo This Room and Everything in It You Must Sing Denise Levertov The Acolyte The Poem Unwritten Our Bodies The Mutes Wedding-Ring Where Is the Angel? Life at War Philip Levine The Simple Truth On the Birth of Good and Evil During the Long Winter of '28 Animals Are Passing from Our Lives You Can Have It What Work Is I Was Born in Lucerne They Feed They Lion The Two Robert Lowell Memories of West Street and Lepke "To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage" Skunk Hour Eye and Tooth For the Union Dead William Matthews Men at My Father's Funeral Housework In Memory of the Utah Stars Pissing Off the Back of the Boat into the Nivernais Canal Moving Again Grief The Cloister Onions James Merrill The Octopus Laboratory Poem Charles on Fire The Mad Scene A Renewal The Kimono Voices from the Other World A Downward Look b o d y An Upward Look W. S. Merwin The Poem How We Are Spared For the Anniversary of My Death Dead Hand The Chaff Field Mushrooms The Rose Beetle Fog-Horn St. Vincent's When You Go Away Air Marilyn Nelson A Wreath for Emmett Till A Minor Miracle Naomi Shihab Nye Vocabulary of Dearness Steps Arabic The Small Vases from Hebron The Shapes of Mouths at Parties Morning Paper, Society Page What Brings Us Out The Last Day of August The Traveling Onion Frank O'Hara Why I Am Not a Painter Poem [I don't know as I get what D. H. Lawrence is driving at] Personal Poem Steps Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!] For Grace, After a Party The Day Lady Died Getting Up Ahead of Someone (Sun) Sharon Olds Monarchs A Woman in Heat Wiping Herself Early Images of Heaven The Pope's Penis The Elder Sister The Lifting The Glass May 1968 Good Will Mary Oliver Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End? Spring Azures Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard University Hospital, Boston In Blackwater Woods The Summer Day Singapore Michael Palmer I Do Not Sun Dearest Reader Untitled [o you in that little bark] "or anything resembling it" Carl Phillips Glads Our Lady Luna Moth Toys Parable Aubade: Some :Peaches, After Storm Singing Sylvia Plath Stillborn Crossing the Water Daddy Cut Lady Lazarus Adrienne Rich Power Planetarium Diving into the Wreck The Novel One Life The School Among the Ruins Theodore Roethke My Papa's Waltz Root Cellar Cuttings (later) The Lost Son In a Dark Time Anne Sexton Her Kind With Mercy for the Greedy To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph The Abortion Man and Wife In Celebration of My Uterus The Room of My Life Charles Simic Charles Simic Poem Without a Title February Poem Stone Fork Solitude Fear Classic Ballroom Dances The Old World Entertaining the Canary Used Book Store My Noiseless Entourage errata Louis Simpson Working Late Riverside Drive Quiet Desperation In the Suburbs Physical Universe Dave Smith Fiddlers Blowfish and Mudtoad Night Fishing for Blues 2000 Pine Cones Allegheny Happiness The Tire Hangs in the Yard W. D. Snodgrass Viewing the Body from Heart's Needle: 9 [I get numb and go in] "After Experience Taught Me..." Old Apple Trees Love Lamp Gary Snyder "One Should Not Talk to a Skilled Hunter About What Is Forbidden by the Buddha" Bubbs Creek Haircut Hay for the Horses The Bath Axe Handles Gary Soto Black Hair Envying the Children of San Francisco Oranges Mexicans Begin Jogging The Tale of Sunlight Failing in the Presence of Ants Elizabeth Spires The Beds Sunday Afternoon at Fulham Palace The First Day The Celestial "In Heaven It Is Always Autumn" Glass-Bottom Boat Cemetery Reef David St. John Gin The Swan at Sheffield Park Lucifer in Starlight Last Night with Rafaella William Stafford How the Real Bible is Written At Fourth and Main, in Liberal, Kansas, 1932 Growing Up Ask Me Ceremony Traveling Through the Dark Vocation Adults Only Fifteen Widow The Light by the Barn A Wind from a Wing With Kit, Age 7, at the Beach Near Gerald Stern I Remember Galileo The Dancing Soap The Bull-Roarer Another Insane Devotion Lilacs for Ginsberg She Was a Dove Mark Strand Keeping Things Whole The Dress The Prediction My Life by Somebody Else A Morning The Idea A.M. from Dark Harbor: XXX [There is a road through the canyon]; XXXIX [When after a long silence one picks up the pen]; XLV [I am sure you would find it misty here] The Night, The Porch A Piece of the Storm Leopardi Jean Valentine Annunciations December 21st American River Sky Alcohol Father The Messenger Snow Landscape in a Glass Globe The Under Voice Skate Letter Ellen Bryant Voigt January The Hen The Trust The Lotus Flowers Two Trees Harvesting the Cows Richard Wilbur The Ride Love Calls Us to the Things of This World Playboy Cottage Street, 1953 The Writer In Trackless Woods The Lilacs Mayflies C. K. Williams Blades From My Window The Gas Station Bone The Singing C.D. Wright The Secret Life of Musical Instruments Wages of Love More Blues and the Abstract Truth Why Ralph Refuses to Dance Planks So Far Off and Yet Here Song of the Gourd Girl Friend Poem #3 Charles Wright Reunion Grace Snow Him California Dreaming Night Journal Relics James Wright Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota The Minneapolis Poem In Response to a Rumor That the Oldest Whorehouse in Wheeling, West Virginia, Has Been Condemned The Young Good Man The Old WPA Swimming Hole in Martins Ferry, Ohio A Blessing The Journey