The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry

The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry

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by Rita Dove
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 twenty-first 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.)
The Chicago Tribune
"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."
-Donna Seaman for Booklist
"Selecting poets and poems to represent a century of poetry, especially the riotous twentieth century in America, is a massive undertaking fraught with peril and complication. Poet Rita Dove-a Pulitzer Prize- winning former U.S. poet laureate, professor, and presidential scholar- embarked on what became a consuming four-year odyssey. She reports on obstacles and discoveries in an exacting and forthright introduction, featuring striking quotes, vivid profiles, and a panoramic view of the evolution of poetic visions and styles that helped bring about social as well as artistic change [...] 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."
-Elizabeth Alexander
"At last, 20th century poetry itself! Rita Dove's [anthology] is intelligent, generous, surprising, and altogether thrilling to read- literally, a heart-thumping collection. In her editorial hands the 20th century is broad but sharply contoured. Most other poetry anthologies give us schools, corners, clubs, and identities, but this one gives us something beyond representative that gets at the extraordinary accomplishment and range of multi-vocal American poetry in the century. Dove's selection-and this book-will long stand as the definitive anthology of American poetry."
-The Chicago Tribune
"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."
From the Publisher
"Former U.S. Poet Laureate Dove takes a fresh look at the canon of 20th century American poetry in this hefty anthology [...] This book is sure to become an important resource for those interested in poetry, and especially students, for decades to come." — Publishers Weekly [Starredreview]

"Selecting poets and poems to represent a century of poetry, especially the riotous twentieth century in America, is a massive undertaking fraught with peril and complication. Poet Rita Dove-a Pulitzer Prize- winning former U.S. poet laureate, professor, and presidential scholar- embarked on what became a consuming four-year odyssey. She reports on obstacles and discoveries in an exacting and forthright introduction, featuring striking quotes, vivid profiles, and a panoramic view of the evolution of poetic visions and styles that helped bring about social as well as artistic change [...] 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 for 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. In her editorial hands the 20th century is broad but sharply contoured. Most other poetry anthologies give us schools, corners, clubs, and identities, but this one gives us something beyond representative that gets at the extraordinary accomplishment and range of multi-vocal American poetry in the century. 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

Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Dove presents a hefty anthology of important poems written by American poets of the last century. To well-known poems by Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, and others, Dove has added lesser-known poems by African American and women poets. Melvin B. Tolson's evocative meditation on racial inequality, "Dark Symphony," is here, as is "The Idea of Ancestry," a moving poem, also with racial themes, by Etheridge Knight. VERDICT Overall, Dove's introduction is informative and insightful, offering an engaging discussion of trends in modern American poetry. However, as former U.S. poet laureate and former consultant in poetry for the Library of Congress, Dove knows her subject, which makes it all the more egregious that she has excluded works by some major American 20th-century poets. Among the excluded poets are Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, and the perhaps lesser-known Pulitzer Prize winner Karl Shapiro, also a U.S. poet laureate. Dove suggests some of the gaps occurred because the publishers' fees were beyond her budget, but that's a pity, because these are serious omissions.—Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143106432
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/25/2011
Pages:
656
Sales rank:
1,378,558
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.48(h) x 1.32(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Elizabeth Alexander
"At last, 20th century poetry itself! Rita Dove's [anthology] is intelligent, generous, surprising, and altogether thrilling to read- literally, a heart-thumping collection. In her editorial hands the 20th century is broad but sharply contoured. Most other poetry anthologies give us schools, corners, clubs, and identities, but this one gives us something beyond representative that gets at the extraordinary accomplishment and range of multi-vocal American poetry in the century. Dove's selection-and this book-will long stand as the definitive anthology of American poetry."

Meet the Author

Rita Dove is an award-winning poet, former U .S. Poet Laureate, and Presidential Scholar. She has published numerous volumes of poetry, fiction, plays, and essays. She is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, the writer Fred Viebahn.

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The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Ed_Tenderle More than 1 year ago
Typically, a new anthology of poetry is a little noticed event. Poetry critics at major newspapers question whether the art form itself has any relevance in the 21st Century. Thank you Rita Dove for parting the clouds! This is indeed a representative collection of the best poets from the last century. Insofar as such a task can be achieved, this work captures the rich, bold and varied voices of the big century. It was an era unparalleled for global strife, social and economic upheaval, advancement in industry, technology and science, and uniquely marked by rapid transformations in communications and the arts. Gratefully, this anthology has set off a firestorm. Credit for this goes to Poet Laureate Rita Dove for her innovative approach to compiling this work and to an important counterpoint provided by her longtime associate, Harvard Professor Helen Vendler. They have engaged in a well publicized debate on poetry, aesthetics, criticism and the relation of these to history. It is a debate well worth having. And more importantly, this is poetry worth the reading. Don't miss it!
John-Gregory-67 More than 1 year ago
This is a very good anthology and a very nice looking hard cover book. It is a great source for someone to discover and read samples from nearly every major American Poet of the twentieth century. I say "nearly" due to the exclusion of Allen Giensburg and Silvia Plath. The importance of Giensburg and Plath is made obvious by the fact that Rita Dove mentions their exclusion in her introduction. An editor's job is not always easy, and of course not every poet can appear in every anthology. I will say however, that for a volume that comes in at under seven hundred pages, Rita Dove, whose own poetry is well worth discovering, did a very good job. This collection is full of favorites as well as poems that for some, may be lesser known but are equally as good. Rita Dove has presented us with a volume that may not contain every important poet of the twentieth century, but certainly an anthology that will keep you up reading way past your bedtime. Enjoy!