Synopses & Reviews
When Harriet Monroe founded Poetry
magazine in Chicago in 1912, she began with an image: the Open Door. “May the great poet we are looking for never find it shut, or half-shut, against his ample genius!” For a century, the most important and enduring poets have walked through that door—William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens in its first years, Rae Armantrout and Kay Ryan in 2011. And at the same time, Poetry
continues to discover the new voices who will be read a century from now.
Poetry’s archives are incomparable, and to celebrate the magazine’s centennial, editors Don Share and Christian Wiman combed them to create a new kind of anthology, energized by the self-imposed limitation to one hundred poems. Rather than attempting to be exhaustive or definitive—or even to offer the most familiar works—they have assembled a collection of poems that, in their juxtaposition, echo across a century of poetry. Adrienne Rich appears alongside Charles Bukowski; poems by Isaac Rosenberg and Randall Jarrell on the two world wars flank a devastating Vietnam War poem by the lesser-known George Starbuck; August Kleinzahler’s “The Hereafter” precedes “Prufrock,” casting Eliot’s masterpiece in a new light. Short extracts from Poetry’s letters and criticism punctuate the verse selections, hinting at themes and threads and serving as guides, interlocutors, or dissenting voices.
The resulting volume is an anthology like no other, a celebration of idiosyncrasy and invention, a vital monument to an institution that refuses to be static, and, most of all, a book that lovers of poetry will devour, debate, and keep close at hand.
"Former U.S. Poet Laureate Dove takes a fresh look at the cannon of 20th-century American poetry in this hefty anthology. Dove by no means seeks to include an example of every kind of poem written during the century; rather, as she poetically says in her introduction, she picked 'the poems I see emblazoned on pennants along the road we have just traversed.' Later she writes, 'This is the proper moment to look back after the first decade of the 21st century has given us the illusion of distances, after we have reconciled ourselves to owning this scary new millennium....The past is never more truly the past than now.' Of course readers will find classroom staples — Eliot's 'Prufrock' and 'The Waste Land'; Williams's 'The Red Wheelbarrow'; Hughes's 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers'' — but also less of some poets (James Dickey gets only one poem, for instance) and longer poems (by poets such as John Ashbery and Frank Bidart) than one might expect in such a book. Dove shifts the emphasis slightly, suggesting, perhaps, that a highly esoteric poet like Nathaniel Mackey is as worthy of our attention as, say Carolyn Forché. This book is sure to become an important resource for those interested in poetry, and especially students, for decades to come. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Dove's incisive perception of the role of poetry in cultural and social awakenings infuses this zestful and rigorous gathering of poems both necessary and unexpected by 180 American poets. This landmark anthology will instantly enhance and invigorate every poetry shelf or section." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"At last, 20th century poetry itself! Rita Dove's [anthology] is intelligent, generous, surprising, and altogether thrilling to read — literally, a heart-thumping collection....Dove's selection — and this book — will long stand as the definitive anthology of American poetry." Elizabeth Alexander
"The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry has the solid, respectable, upright feel of a book bound for the syllabuses of myriad college courses. But it also has enough surprises to make it ideal for the rest of us too. It belongs on the bedside table as well as in a backpack." The Chicago Tribune
Penguin proudly presents an unparalleled survey of the best poems of the past century.
Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U .S. Poet Laureate, introduces readers to the most significant and compelling poems of the past hundred years. Selecting from the canon of American poetry throughout the 20th century, Dove has created an anthology that represents the full spectrum of aesthetic sensibilities — from styles and voices to themes and cultures — while balancing important poems with significant periods of each poet. Featuring poems both classic and contemporary, this collection reflects both a dynamic and cohesive portrait of modern American poetry and outlines its trajectory over the past century.
Penguin proudly presents an unparalleled survey of the best poems of the past century.
Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U .S. Poet Laureate, introduces readers to the most significant and compelling poems of the past hundred years. Selecting from the canon of American poetry throughout the twentieth century, Dove has created an anthology that represents the full spectrum of aesthetic sensibilities-from styles and voices to themes and cultures-while balancing important poems with significant periods of each poet. Featuring poems both classic and contemporary, this collection reflects both a dynamic and cohesive portrait of modern American poetry and outlines its trajectory over the past century.
In time for the holiday season, a beautiful paperback edition of Penguins landmark poetry anthology
Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States, introduces readers to the most significant and compelling poems of the past hundred years in The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Now available in paperback, this indispensable volume represents the full spectrum of aesthetic sensibilitieswith varying styles, voices, themes, and cultureswhile balancing important poems with vital periods of each poet. Featuring earlier works by Robert Frost, James Weldon Johnson, and Wallace Stevens along with examples from the new generation of critically acclaimed poets, including A. E. Stallings, Terrance Hayes, and Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Doves selections paint a dynamic and cohesive portrait of modern American poetry.
About the Author
Rita Dove is an award-winning poet, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. She has published numerous volumes of poetry, fiction, plays, and essays. She is currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, the writer Fred Viebahn.
Table of Contents
Mastery and Mystery: Twenty-One Ways to Read a Century
Ezra Pound In a Station of the MetroKay Ryan Sharks TeethMarie Ponsot Anti-Romantic Roddy Lumsden The YoungLeRoi Jones Valéry as DictatorEdwin Arlington Robinson Eros TurannosAnge Mlinko It Was a Bichon Frisés Life . . .Muriel Rukeyser SongAugust Kleinzahler The HereafterT. S. Eliot The Love Song of J. Alfred PrufrockLaura Kasischke LookWeldon Kees From “Eight Variations”Robert Creeley For LoveMary Karr DisgracelandLucille Clifton sorrowsA. E. Stallings On Visiting a Borrowed Country House in ArcadiaCharles Wright Bedtime StoryDelmore Schwartz In the Naked Bed, In Platos CaveWilliam Matthews Mingus at the ShowplaceDonald Justice Men at FortyRuth Stone ForecastCraig Arnold Meditation on a GrapefruitJosephine Miles The Hampton Institute AlbumP. K. Page My Chosen LandscapeTheodore Roethke Florists Root CellarWallace Stevens Tea at the Palaz of HoonBasil Bunting From BriggflattsLouise Bogan NightRodney Jack After the DiagnosisMargaret Atwood Pig SongMichael S. Harper Blues AlabamaIsaac Rosenberg Break of Day in the TrenchesGeorge Starbuck Of LateRandall Jarrell ProtocolsTom Disch The Prisoners of WarSeamus Heaney A Dog Was Crying To-Night in Wicklow AlsoHart Crane At Melvilles TombRobert Hayden O Daedalus, Fly Away HomeCharles Bukowski A Not So Good Night in the San Pedro of the WorldAdrienne Rich Final NotationsW. H. Auden The Shield of AchillesAlbert Goldbarth He HasAlice Fulton What I LikeEdna St. Vincent Millay RendezvousSylvia Plath Fever 103Lisel Mueller In the Thriving SeasonEleanor Wilner MagnificatAtsuro Riley HutchThomas Sayers Ellis Or,Marianne Moore No Swan So FineJohn Berryman The TravelerAverill Curdy Sparrow Trapped in the AirportH. D. His PresenceRae Armantrout TransactionsGwendolyn Brooks The Children of the PoorE. E. Cummings What If a Much of a Which of a WindFrederick Seidel Mu‘allaqaGeoffrey Hill The Peacock of AldertonMay Swenson Green Red Brown and WhiteAnne Stevenson Inheriting My Grandmothers NightmareJeanne Murray Walker Little Blessing for My FloaterBrooklyn Copeland Prayers EndJack Spicer “Any fool can get into an ocean . . . ”Alan Dugan Fabrication of AncestorsEdward Dorn Dark CeilingW. S. Merwin Search PartyLorine Niedecker Three PoemsDenise Levertov Our BodiesJames Wright The BlessingRobinson Jeffers Grass on the CliffW. S. Di Piero Big City SpeechCid Corman From “Cahoots”Richard Wilbur Hamlen BrookRita Dove Old Folks Home, JerusalemDon Paterson The LieMaxine Kumin NurtureWilliam Carlos Williams Paterson, Book V: The River of HeavenTed Hughes HeatwaveFrank OHara Chez JaneReginald Dwayne Betts “For you: anthophilous, lover of flowers”Rachel Wetzsteon On Leaving the Bachelorette BrunchAdrian Blevins How to Cook a WolfA. R. Ammons Gravelly RunSamuel Menashe HereRobert Duncan Returning to Roots of First FeelingLangston Hughes Blues in StereoJames Schuyler Korean MumsJacob Saenz Sweeping the StatesGeorge Oppen Birthplace: New RochelleGary Snyder Song of the TangleBelle Randall A Childs Garden of GodsIsabella Gardner The Widows YardThom Gunn Lines for a BookFrank Bidart From “The Third Hour of the Night”William Meredith The IlliterateRhina P. Espaillat ChangelingMaria Hummel StationJames Merrill The Mad SceneW. S. Graham The Beast in the SpaceWilliam Butler Yeats The Fisherman