Synopses & Reviews
This substantial anthology charts the development of this influential journal decade by decade, making clear that although it has close ties to a particular region, it has consistently maintained a national scope, publishing poets from all over the United States. SPRs goal has been to celebrate the poem above all, so although there are poems by major poets here, there are many gems by less famous, perhaps even obscure, writers too. Here are 183 poems by nearly as many poets, from A. R. Ammons, Kathryn Stripling Byer, James Dickey, Mark Doty, Claudia Emerson, David Ignatow, and Carolyn Kizer to Ted Kooser, Maxine Kumin, Denise Levertov, Howard Nemerov, Sharon Olds, Linda Pastan, and Charles Wright.
This superb selection from an enduring, flagship journal holds work by many of our most indispensable poets and, remarkably often, what went on to become their signature poems. This anthology reminds us of those poems first public life: in the pages of a small magazine with, as it turns out, a freighter-sized wake. The prose introductions to each section are lucid microcosms, outlining each decades shifting cultural concerns. If some imagined Alexandrian Library of American Poetry were to burn, this anthology could, on its own, convey an important part of our literary seed-stock.” Jane Hirshfield, author of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry and After: Poems No reader will leave this harvest table hungryhere is nourishment for all. Eleanor Ross Taylors title poem invites us to a playful sacrament: eat the bright flesh of birdsong, drink the momentary blood of a wave, and All thy sins are teggen away, teggen away. Fifty years of the best American poetry is spread out before us, grouped by decade with James Smiths extraordinarily helpful essays giving us a quick context for each, from the Me Decade of the seventies to the Greed Decade of the eighties and our current Security Decade. These poems epitomize their eras yet move beyond, rise beyond as poetry always does, capturing time and place and lived life in a way no other art can manage. . . . This fine collection offers us fare for the journey.” Lee Smith, author of On Agate Hill
About the Author
James Smith is associate professor of English at Armstrong Atlantic State University and associate editor of Southern Poetry Review.