Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology

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Postmodern American Poetry is the first anthology since Donald Allen's groundbreaking collection to fully represent the movements of American avant-garde poetry.This groundbreaking anthology fills an enormous gap in the publication annals of contemporary poetry.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Concentration and magnification make the best anthologies work, and this may be one of them. Concentration: the focus on a body of writing with a heritage, an era, or a style in common that tests shared visions and constraints. Magnification: an expanse that seems to widen and deepen as we are allowed to take a look at it, and then another look. For anyone carping at the idea of the postmodern or the avant-garde as wanly intellectual, fiercely separatist, beside the point, or even nonexistent, Hoover's large-scale collection of recent experimental American poetry (and a concluding selection of essays about it) should persuade that it's not. He brings together more than 100 writers from the 1950s and since--Olson, Duncan, O'Hara, Ginsberg, Corso, Dorn, Major, Ashbery, Guest--whose adventures with the language renew it for far more than a readymade membership. The fact that some of the poets are sine qua nons and others aren't simply leaves the whole tribe more interesting. There's almost no point in listing names, except to indicate breadth; the same could be said for the ``schools'' represented. For literary positions have a way easing from their own strictures and outgrowing acolytic expectation when the words themselves are richly transformed and reformed--as they are here. Hoover is the editor of New American Writing. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Long regarded as the major purveyor of conservative, canonical literary anthologies for classroom use, the publisher here loosens up with a hefty gathering of 103 avant-gardists from the Beat, New York, Black Mountain, language, performance, and other experimental schools flourishing off-campus since World War II. It's an exceptionally rich vein but one well mined of late in American Poetry Since 1950 ( LJ 5/1/93), Out of this World ( LJ 10/1/91 ), and other works. Editor Hoover broadly defines postmodernism as ``an ongoing process of resistance to mainstream ideology'' whose poetry ``opposes . . . centrist values,'' yet, ironically, what separates this anthology from the others is its recasting of a half century's lively artistic spontaneity into a set of ``oppositional strategies'' aimed at supporting the jargon-plated theories of today's mainstream academic discourse. Half the 400-plus poems included were published only since 1980, and--bulk notwithstanding--there are surprising omissions (Oppen, Bronk, Dahlen, Oppenheimer). Thus, while this is a welcome survey of exciting territory, the Norton imprimatur should not imply that it is definitive.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.
Destined to be the standard anthology of the last half century of American experimental poetry. Essential for every library. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Publishers Weekly
Hoover, a highly regarded West Coast poet and deep practitioner of the poetics that are the focus of this book, has greatly expanded this important anthology for its second edition. First coined by the poet Charles Olsen in 1951, the term “postmodern” is defined by Hoover in his introduction as “an experimental approach to composition, as well as a worldview that sets itself apart from mainstream culture and the sentimentality and self-expressiveness of its life in writing.” That definition suggests both academic and theoretical nature of much of the poetry contained herein, as well as the many unusual formal devices often employed. But the range here is stunning, from Olsen’s panoramic histories to Frank O’Hara’s chatty cityscapes to Lyn Hejinian’s bottomless autobiography. What makes this edition so welcome, for both classroom and personal use, is its inclusion of many newer poets whose careers hadn’t yet begun when the first edition was published. Now we have K. Silem Mohammad’s Internet-infused lines, Claudia Rankine’s moral collages, Christian Bok’s vowel experiments, and more, including very new writers like Ben Lerner. There’s plenty of everything—especially strong emotion—if one knows where to look. This will be an essential book for students and serious fans of poetry. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393310900
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Pages: 744
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Hoover is a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University and coeditor of the literary magazine New American Writing. He has published nine books of poetry and a novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2001

    one of the must-have anthologies

    For anyone interested in postmodern poetry or for those who want to learn what postmodern poetry is, this is the anthology to have. It's loaded with some of the best poets: the gifted Robert Duncan, Ferlinghettis (one of the best of the beat poets), Bukowski (my first intro to him, and not a dissapointment), Levertov, Kenneth Koch (not his best poems, but still a good selection), the wonderful poetry of Frank O'Hara, Ginsberg, Robert Creely (and excellent selection), a selection from Ashbery so huge that i almost forgot i wasn't reading one of his books, the awesome Gary Snyder, Rothernberg's 'Cokboy', Dave Trinidad, Paul Hoover, Wanda Coleman, Charles Olson, Kerouac, Philip Whalen, Corso, Amiri Baraka, Diane di Prima, Anne Waldman, and many others, including a very strong Chicago appearance towards the end. The anthology starts with an essay by Hoover, which helps to clear up many questions about what postmodern poetry is and what many of the schools are. He concludes the anthology with a selection of essays on poetry.

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