From the Publisher
“Wesleyan’s characteristic independence in scooping up unfound poets and publishing them welland in sustaining the ongoing publication of established writers like David Ignatow and James Tateis shown to advantage in this anthology . . . The quality is as high as the range is broad.”Publishers Weekly
“Having published nearly 250 books by more than 150 poets in 35 years, the Wesleyan series has gone further than any other in defining the prevailing trends and styles of postwar university-based poetry. ...Libraries concerned with building and maintaining a meaningful poetry collection are urged to enter a blank order for all the Wesleyan poetry program entries…They represent some of our more important younger poets and a few older members…[The program] is highly recommended.”Library Journal
“A valuable collection that celebrates the unceasing vitality and fluidity of American poetry”Booklist
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wesleyan's characteristic independence in scooping up unfound poets and publishing them well--and in sustaining the ongoing publication of established writers like David Ignatow and James Tate--is shown to advantage in this anthology of work drawn from books issued over 34 years. James Wright, Donald Justice, James Dickey, Philip Levine, Ignatow and John Haines appear with 24 others in part one; Tate, Charles Wright and William Harmon, among others, in the ``second decade''; Elizabeth Spires, Heather McHugh, Garrett Hongo, Brenda Hillman, Yusef Komunyakaa et al., in part three; and Maria Flook, Joy Harjo and 11 more in part four, the last and most recent decade represented. Assembling such different writers could impose uneasy choices on a reader, if the quality weren't as high as the range is broad. Happily, no drastic choices are needed, but, as with all anthologies, readers are likely to linger more over some pages, return to others later and search out additional books by some of the writers. The fables of Russell Edson, witty and compressed, draw us into a gnarled and interesting place; the lyricism of Agha Shahid Ali wafts in, out; Gregory Orr's intensely personal drama tugs. A boon of the good anthology is a refusal to be summarized, and this one makes the refusal persuasively. (Dec.)
Having published nearly 250 books by more than 150 poets in 35 years, the Wesleyan series has gone further than any other in defining the prevailing trends and styles of postwar university-based poetry. Decade by decade, this anthology charts the rise and influence of Deep Imagism, surrealism, confession, and the ``prose lyric'' through works by 86 poets, many of whom (Bly, Justice, Levine) have become fixtures on the Masters of Fine Arts syllabus. But the urgency and inventiveness of the early decades fades as the poetry grows homelier, longer-winded, less assured of its authority and strength. Luckily, some glimmerings at the fringe of the Nineties (Susan Howe, Campbell McGrath, Walid Bitar) offer proof of a new vitality that Wesleyan would do well to encourage in the years to come. For more scholarly collections and informed lay readers.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.
The Wesleyan University Press poetry program has been a major force in American poetry since its inception in 1959. This anthology collects the "strongest and most representative work" of more than 80 poets published under Wesleyan auspices. Collier's solid introduction profiles some of the more prominent members of this distinguished group and summarizes the styles they've evolved, from deep imagism to confessional poetry, prose and "scenic" lyrics, and poems saddled with the labels new formalism and language poetry. Whatever their critical affiliation, these are burnished and pristine poems of distinctive and memorable voices expressing resonant nuances of melancholy, bemusement, sensuality, nostalgia, loneliness, love, anger, and gratitude. We're talking about poets such as James Wright, Donald Justice, and Philip Levine of the 1960s; Charles Wright, James Tate, and Ellen Bryant Voigt of the 1970s; Elizabeth Spires, Garrett Hongo, and Heather McHugh of the 1980s; and Joy Harjo and Mark Jarman of the 1990s. A valuable collection that celebrates the unceasing vitality and fluidity of American poetry.