Poems of New York

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Overview

New York City has always been a larger-than-life, half-mythical place, and this collection offers an appropriately stunning mosaic of its many incarnations in poetry–ranging from Walt Whitman’s exuberant celebrations to contemporary poets’ moving responses to the September 11 attack on the city.

All the icons of this greatest of cities swirl and flash through these pages: taxis and subways, bridges and skyscrapers, ghettos and roof gardens and fire escapes, from the South Bronx ...

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Overview

New York City has always been a larger-than-life, half-mythical place, and this collection offers an appropriately stunning mosaic of its many incarnations in poetry–ranging from Walt Whitman’s exuberant celebrations to contemporary poets’ moving responses to the September 11 attack on the city.

All the icons of this greatest of cities swirl and flash through these pages: taxis and subways, bridges and skyscrapers, ghettos and roof gardens and fire escapes, from the South Bronx to Coney Island to Broadway to Central Park, and from Langston Hughes’s Harlem to James Merrill’s Upper East Side. Wallace Stevens, e. e. cummings, W. H. Auden, Dorothy Parker, Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg, and Audre Lorde are just a few of the poets gathered here, alongside a host of new young voices.

Encompassing as many moods, characters, and scenes as this multifaceted, ever-changing metropolis has to offer, Poems of New York will be treasured by literary lovers of New York everywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
In 1811, city planners unveiled the urban grid that would become the New York we know; not long afterward, the city's first poet, Walt Whitman, came along to chronicle its particular nexus of enthusiasm, expansiveness, and elegant ennui. This well-selected volume of New York poems, conceived in the days following September 11, 2001, includes not only the tried-and-true anthology pieces but an assortment of excellent lesser-known poems; we're reminded that in New York all things end "Too soon! Too soon!" (as Ferlinghetti exclaimed), although the city's sophisticated residents will murmur only "It gets so terribly late" (Elizabeth Bishop, teasing a friend). There are some stirring September 11th elegies here, but Whitman's words speak most consolingly, across the century, to the city's new sense of strength imperilled: "It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall, / The dark threw its patches down upon me also."
Adam Kirsch
Poems of New York, a new entry in the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series, succeeds extraordinarily well in capturing the major strands of New York poetry. Part of the charm of the book is simply in the details, the familiar things transformed by metaphor.
The New York Observer
Publishers Weekly
From Walt Whitman's "Mannahatta" to Ted Berrigan's "Whitman in Black" and beyond to Hettie Jones's "Dust A Survival Kit, Fall 2001," Poems of New York collects poetic responses to Gotham's many facets. Selected and edited by Open City contributing editor and New York Times Book Review poetry reviewer Elizabeth Schmidt, the more than 125 poems here tend toward less familiar works from familiar names. Instead of Frank O'Hara's "A Step Away from Them" we get "Steps" ("all I want is a room up there/ and you in it") though Auden's "September 1, 1939" and Williams's famous "The Great Figure" the figure `5' glimpsed on a fire truck are here. As Schmidt notes in her introduction, "Poets who have written about New York are masters at preserving, and allowing us to cherish, moments of life in this theater of chance and change."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375415043
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/13/2002
  • Series: Everyman's Library Pocket Poets
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 460,835
  • Product dimensions: 4.36 (w) x 6.48 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Read an Excerpt

If I Should Learn by Edna St. Vincent Millay

If I should learn, in some quite casual way,
That you were gone, not to return again—
Read from the back-page of a paper, say,
Held by a neighbor in a subway train,
How at the corner of this avenue
And such a street (so are the papers filled)
A hurrying man—who happened to be you—
At noon to-day had happened to be killed,
I should not cry aloud—I could not cry
Aloud, or wring my hands in such a place—
I should but watch the station lights rush by
With a more careful interest on my face,
Or raise my eyes and read with greater care
Where to store furs and how to treat the hair.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892)
Mannahatta
Broadway
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

HERMAN MELVILLE (1819–1891)
The House-Top: A Night Piece

AMY LOWELL (1874–1925)
The Taxi
Anticipation

WALLACE STEVENS (1879–1955)
Arrival at the Waldorf

WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS (1883–1963)
The Great Figure

SARA TEASDALE (1884–1933)
Union Square
Broadway

MARIANNE MOORE (1887–1972)
New York

CLAUDE MCKAY (1889–1948)
The Tropics in New York
The City’s Love
A Song of the Moon

EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY (1892–1950)
Recuerdo
‘‘If I should learn’’

DOROTHY PARKER (1893–1967)
Observation

E. E. CUMMINGS (1894–1962)
“Taxis toot whirl people moving”

CHARLES REZNIKOFF (1894–1976)
“Walk about the subway station”

FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA (1898–1936)
Dawn

HART CRANE (1899–1933)
To Brooklyn Bridge
The Harbor Dawn
The Tunnel

LANGSTON HUGHES (1902–1967)
The Weary Blues
Good Morning
Harlem
Juke Box Love Song
Subway Rush Hour

HELENE JOHNSON (1906–1995)
The Street to the Establishment

W. H. AUDEN (1907–1973)
Refugee Blues
September 1, 1939

GEORGE OPPEN (1908–1984)
Pedestrian

ELIZABETH BISHOP (1911–1979)
The Man-Moth
Letter to N.Y.

MURIEL RUKEYSER (1913–1980)
Seventh Avenue

MAY SWENSON (1913–1989)
Staying at Ed’s Place
At the Museum of Modern Art

KARL SHAPIRO (1913–2000)
Future-Present

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI (1919– )
“The Pennycandystore beyond the El”

AMY CLAMPITT (1920–1994)
Dancers Exercising

GRACE PALEY (1922– )
The Nature of This City
Fear
On Mother’s Day

HOWARD MOSS (1922–1987)
The Building
The Roof Garden

DENISE LEVERTOV (1923–1997)
The Cabdriver’s Smile

JAMES SCHUYLER (1923–1991)
This Dark Apartment
An East Window on Elizabeth Street
March Here

WISLAWA SZYMBORSKA (1923– )
Photograph from September 11

KENNETH KOCH (1925– )
Girl and Baby Florist Sidewalk Pram Nineteen
Seventy Something

GERALD STERN (1925– )
96 Vandam
Let Me Please Look Into My Window

FRANK O’HARA (1926–1966)
Steps
Gamin

JAMES MERRILL (1926–1995)
An Urban Convalescence
164 East 72nd Street

ALLEN GINSBERG (1926–1997)
I am a Victim of Telephone
My Sad Self

W. S. MERWIN (1927– )
St. Vincent’s

GALWAY KINNELL (1927– )
Room of Return
Running on Silk

JOHN ASHBERY (1927– )
A Sendentary Existence
So Many Lives

CHARLES TOMLINSON (1927– )
All Afternoon

PHILIP LEVINE (1928– )
Get Up

RICHARD HOWARD (1929– )
209 Canal
Among the Missing

L. E. SISSMAN (1929–1976)
Tears at Korvette’s
Visiting Chaos

ADRIENNE RICH (1929– )
Upper Broadway

GREGORY CORSO (1930–2001)
Eastside Incidents
The Whole Mess . . . Almost

DEREK WALCOTT (1930– )
The Bridge

AMIRI BARAKA (1934– )
Return of the Native

MARK STRAND (1934– )
Night Piece

AUDRE LORDE (1934–1992)
To My Daughter the Junkie on a Train
A Trip on the Staten Island Ferry

TED BERRIGAN (1934–1983)
Whitman in Black

HETTIE JONES (1934– )
Dust— A Survival Kit, Fall 2001

JUNE JORDAN (1936–2002)
Toward a City that Sings
“If you saw a Negro lady”

C. K. WILLIAMS (1936– )
Love: Wrath
From War

CHARLES SIMIC (1938– )
Couple at Coney Island
For the Very Soul of Me

THOMAS M. DISCH (1940– )
The Argument Resumed; or, Up Through Tribeca
In Praise of New York

BILLY COLLINS (1941– )
Man Listening to Disc

ERICA JONG (1942– )
Walking Through the Upper East Side

SHARON OLDS (1942– )
Boy Out in the World

NIKKI GIOVANNI (1943– )
Just a New York Poem
The New Yorkers

RONALD WARDALL (1947– )
Three Weeks After

DAVID LEHMAN (1948– )
The World Trade Center
October 11, 1998
September 14, 2001

LAWRENCE JOSEPH (1948– )
In the Age of Postcapitalism

DOUG DORPH (1949– )
Love

EDWARD HIRSCH (1950– )
Man on a Fire Escape

JORIE GRAHAM (1951– )
Expulsion

ROBERT POLITO (1951– )
Overheard in the Love Hotel

NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER (1951– )
Construction Site, Windy Night
1972, #43
The Last Hours of Laódikê, Sister of Hektor

ELIZABETH MACKLIN (1952– )
A Married Couple Discovers Irreconcilable Differences

VICKIE KARP (1953– )
Glass

LAURIE SHECK (1953– )
In the South Bronx
The Subway Platform

CORNELIUS EADY (1954– )
The Amateur Terrorist
Dread

PHILLIS LEVIN (1954– )
Out of Chaos

VIJAY SESHADRI (1954– )
A Werewolf in Brooklyn
Immediate City

JUDITH BAUMEL (1956– )
You weren’t Crazy and You weren’t Dead

LI-YOUNG LEE (1957– )
From The City in Which I Love You

MARTÍN ESPADA (1957– )
The Owl and the Lightning

JAMES LASDUN (1958– )
Woman Police Officer in Elevator

REGINALD SHEPHERD (1963– )
Antibody

DEBORAH GARRISON (1965– )
Worked Late on a Tuesday Night
I Saw You Walking

MALENA MÖRLING (1965– )
Let Me Say This

WILLIE PERDOMO (1967– )
123rd Street Rap

DAVID BERMAN (1967– )
New York, New York

KEVIN YOUNG (1970– )
City-as-School

MELANIE REHAK (1971– )
Adonis All Male Revue, November 24

DAVID SEMANKI (1971– )
Rain

NATHANIEL BELLOWS (1972– )
Liberty Island

Acknowledgments

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    I rarely read poetry, but decided to buy Poems of New York, because I miss NYC very much. This is a terrific anthology with selections from poets of the 19th century to the present. A wide sampling of the different flavors of NY captures the essence of this imperfect yet beloved city.

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