Poems for the Millennium is the first global anthology of twentieth-century poetry. Revolutionary in both its international scope and its innovative structure, this anthology brings together the poets and poetic movements that radically altered the ways that art and language express the human condition.
This invaluable collection, rather than gathering the most fully realized poetry of this century's first four decades, maps poetic possibility, thus demonstrating how poetry was literally remade during this period. A section of ``forerunners'' traces the revolutionizing of poetic intuition from Blake to Lautramont. Italian and Russian Futurism's typographical experiments, best seen through the ``manifestos'' are faithfully rendered; Dada and Surrealism are correctly treated as separate movements with differing aims. Aim Csaire's term Negritude defines a section of Black Francophone literature clearly influenced by Surrealism, but centered on its African and Caribbean beginnings. Three long ``galleries,'' collecting poems not necessarily related by nationality or subject matter, are interspersed among the sections of explicit poetic movements. Commentaries, many on individual poetsC.P. Cavafy, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Osip Mandelstam and Pablo Neruda among themand often in the poets' own words, give context to the unwieldy mass of these poems, many difficult to find in English. The next volume promises to show the use to which today's poets have put this rich legacy. (Nov.)
Any anthology of this size857 pages in its prepublication formnecessarily disarms criticism. How can anything coherent be said about hundreds of poets and a thousand poems? Drawing for this second volume (see LJ 10/1/95 for a review of the first) upon poets as familiar as Anne Sexton and Robert Duncan but also upon translations from the Japanese and Greek, the textual art of Tom Phillips, and the lyrics of Tom Waits, editors Rothenberg and Joris want not so much to make one statement through the voices of many poets as to pass along the overheard fragments of the endless poetic conversations of this century. Because so much that is considered essential in modern poetry is excludedthere is no Ashbery, no Heaney, no Plath, to name a few-this anthology should not be any reader's introduction to the art. But the editors' introduction, and many learned notes on the poets, full of principled, anti-traditionalist, postmodern statements, are both entertaining and provocative and certain to exert an influence on young poets. For larger collections of contemporary literature.Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, MA
Rothenberg and Joris have performed a heroic service to poets and poetry....For the reader of poetry, here is both archive and visionary adventure. -- Adrienne Rich
Jerome Rothenberg is a poet and one of the world's leading anthologists. His more than fifty books include Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania (California, 1985). He is Professor of Visual Arts and Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Pierre Joris is a poet and has published over twenty books and chapbooks of poetry as well as many anthologies and translations. He is Professor of English at the State University of New York, Albany.