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The Body Electric: America's Best Poetry from "The American Poetry Review"

Overview

"The very existence of this book is news, and its contents are exquisite literature."—Philadelphia Inquirer
A breathtaking, incomparable overview of American poetry at the turn of the millennium, from experimental language poetry to traditional formal verse, with all the vital, monumental stops between, The Body Electric captures the spirit of contemporary American poetry. Among the 180 poets included in this collection are Ai, John Ashbery, John Berryman, Charles Bukowski, Lucille Clifton, Carolyn Forche, Allen ...

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Overview

"The very existence of this book is news, and its contents are exquisite literature."—Philadelphia Inquirer
A breathtaking, incomparable overview of American poetry at the turn of the millennium, from experimental language poetry to traditional formal verse, with all the vital, monumental stops between, The Body Electric captures the spirit of contemporary American poetry. Among the 180 poets included in this collection are Ai, John Ashbery, John Berryman, Charles Bukowski, Lucille Clifton, Carolyn Forche, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Hass, Seamus Heaney, Kenneth Koch, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Derek Walcott, plus a generous array of exciting new poets from recent years. The breadth and innovation of American poetry as well as the shifting styles and tastes of over a quarter of a century are represented in this volume. No other anthology gives such a complete and wide-ranging representation of American poetry today.

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Editorial Reviews

Philadelphia Inquirer
The very existence of this book is news, and its contents are exquisite literature.
Harold Bloom
The book enlightens and heartens, and gives me hope that standards of excellence will survive into the next century.
Library Journal
Whether you praise it or disdain it, there is no more visible venue for new poetry that the American Poetry Review (APR), which since 1972 has filled its homely tabloid pages with work by poets both belaureled and obscure. But you won't find many poems from the latter among the roughly 800 selected here. Almost every na e is familiar -- A. R. Ammons, John Ashbery, Lucile Clifton, W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich, Charles Simic, Gerald Stern, and Derek Walcott -- and some -- John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Charles Olson, Frank O'Hara, and Sylvia Plath -- are downright monumental. The result is a broad collective view of the American poet's concern between the waning of the Vietnam War and the rise of the dot-com day trader. It's fun to move from Jack Gilbert's skin-tight lyrics to Allen Ginsberg's baggy monologs in the space of a few pages or to compare the rhetorical similarities of Li-Young Lee and Denise Levertov via the accident of alphabetical adjacency. Harold Bloom's introduction, predictably contentious, faintly damns what follows for not being Whitmanic enough, but most readers aren't Bloom, and for some this anthology will serve as an amiable bedside companion for lovers of poetry everywhere. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393321708
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/17/2001
  • Pages: 864
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Berg is the founder of The American Poetry Review. He lives in Philadelphia.

David Bonanno has been an editor at APR since 1973.

Arthur Vogelsang has been an editor at APR since 1973.

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