Poets of World War II by Harvey Shapiro, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Poets of World War II

Poets of World War II

by Harvey Shapiro
     
 
This anthology brings together 120 poems about World War II by 62 American poets, chosen, as editor Harvey Shapiro writes in his introduction, "with a purpose: to demonstrate that the American poets of this war produced a body of work that has not yet been recognized for its clean and powerful eloquence." The poets are generally unsentimental, ironic, and often

Overview

This anthology brings together 120 poems about World War II by 62 American poets, chosen, as editor Harvey Shapiro writes in his introduction, "with a purpose: to demonstrate that the American poets of this war produced a body of work that has not yet been recognized for its clean and powerful eloquence." The poets are generally unsentimental, ironic, and often astonished by what they have experienced, and their insights still have the power to shake up our perceptions of that war and of war in general. Most of the poets included in the volume served in the armed forces; some -- Louis Simpson, Anthony Hecht, Kenneth Koch -- saw combat in the infantry, while others -- James Dickey, Howard Nemerov, Richard Hugo, John Ciardi -- fought in the air. Also included: poets who experienced the war as civilians, including Robinson Jeffers, Marianne Moore, and Conrad Aiken; poems by conscientious objectors and draft resisters, including William Stafford and Robert Lowell; and an elegy by James Tate for his father, who was killed in action when Tate was an infant.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
… an intelligent and vital selection of 120 poems that are often hard-nosed and eloquent — John Palattella
The New York Review of Books
There's a freshness to the language of the best of these poems that finally speaks to the freshness of the combatants themselves—a haunted recognition that the corpses requiring contemplation were not men but boys, many of them still in their teens. Here were souls unfamiliar with the Homeric parallels their hacked, contorted bodies evoked....
Poets of World War II may well be the first anthology adequately to reflect the range of responses—and ultimately the depth of the hurt—of a war whose surviving veterans are now old men. -- Bard Leithauser
Library Journal
These inaugural volumes in "The American Poets Project" series form a useful introduction to the evolution of modern American poetry in loose historical progression. The volume on Whitman, father of modern American poetry, restores the voice of a poet who initiated free verse to speak of a growing America and thus takes us into the 20th century and beyond. Fortunately, editor Bloom ignores all of the psycho-social-sexual labels doled out to Whitman and lauds him simply as "the principal writer that America...has brought to us." Selections include some of Whitman's best, e.g., "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" and the spiritual bridge between Whitman and his future readers, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." Millay, one of America's strongest female poets, is similar in her metrics to 19th-century poets, but her flamelike intensity is pure 20th century. When she died in 1950, her poetry almost died with her; not until after the women's rights movements did her once acclaimed verse resurface. Editor McClatchy provides a generous sample of her poetry, highlighting her early years ("Renascence," "A Few Figs from Thistles"), the lesser-known poems never before published, and the posthumously published "Mine the Harvest." World War II sliced the 20th century in half and forever changed the American way of life as idealism and self-reliance ceded to franchising and instant gratification. The poets appearing in the World War II anthology-compiled by Harvey Shapiro, himself a poet of the war-portend this major mind shift by their tone, which questions rather than sanctions patriotism, valor, and the values of the 1940s. Arranged by the poets' birth dates, the poems include Robinson Jeffers's cynical nod to violence as a natural cause of earth events; Randall Jarrell's graphic depictions of airborne death; and John Ciardi's whimsical renditions of horror. Lastly, Karl Shapiro, one of the more influential voices of the late 20th century, displayed complex and contrary tendencies in both his life and his poetry. Editor Updike notes that Shapiro's experimentation with voices and forms alienated those who admired the metrical dexterity of his early poems. This commanding new series, which the Library of America will expand each spring and fall season by adding two or three titles, is a worthy addition to all libraries.-Nedra Crowe Evers, Sacramento P.L., CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781931082334
Publisher:
Library of America
Publication date:
07/28/2002
Series:
American Poets Project
Pages:
262
Sales rank:
1,136,809
Product dimensions:
4.85(w) x 7.85(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Harvey Shapiro, editor, flew thirty-five missions as an Air Force radio gunner during World War II and was decorated for his service. He has edited both The New York Times Book Review and The New York Times Magazine, and his many books of poetry include National Cold Storage Company (1988) and How Charlie Shavers Died and Other Poems (2001).

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