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Before Columbus Foundation Poetry Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards, 1980-1990

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Touted as ``multicultural,'' this is a ragtag collection of work by well-known poets (Ai, Amiri Baraka, Edward Dorn, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg) and a large selection of poetry from the margins of American culture. Some of these poems surprise with their freshness (as does the work of Quincy Troupe), but the majority of the writing is indeed of marginal quality. Take for example Maurice Kenny's poem: ``The day I was born my father bought me a 22. / A year later my mother traded it for a violin. / Ten years later my big sister traded that / for a guitar, and gave it to her boyfriend . . . / who sold it. / Now you know why I never learned to hunt, / or learned how to play a musical instrument, / or became a Wall St. broker.'' While good-natured and unpretentious, this poem is neither memorable nor intellectually provocative. Phillips's convoluted introduction is full of nonsensical ideas such as the following: ``When Jewish-American poet Hilton Obenzinger writes poetry sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians he places his health and safety in jeopardy right here in the land of the free and home of the brave.'' (Feb.)
Library Journal
This companion to The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology reviewed in this issue, p. 179.--Ed. presents work by an assortment of postmodern graybeards (Charles Olson, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder); language poets (Leslie Scalapino, Susan Howe); gay/lesbian writers (Judy Grahn, John Weiners); Hispanic, African, Native, and Asian Americans (Jimmy Santiago Baca, Ai, Elizabeth Woody, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge); and 33 others whose work is considered marginalized by the dominant Eurocentric culture. However, most of these poets are already widely praised and anthologized, so their presence here makes the trumpeting polemics of Phillips's introduction seem moot. Anthologies compiled in angry opposition to the establishment are an American tradition, but this one--under the aegis of a major publisher--is likely to reach larger audiences than its predecessors.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393030563
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/1992
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.64 (h) x 1.18 (d)

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