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The Penguin anthology of twentieth-century American poetry
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2011
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  Library Journal Review

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Dove presents a hefty anthology of important poems written by American poets of the last century. To well-known poems by Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, and others, Dove has added lesser-known poems by African American and women poets. Melvin B. Tolson's evocative meditation on racial inequality, "Dark Symphony," is here, as is "The Idea of Ancestry," a moving poem, also with racial themes, by Etheridge Knight. VERDICT Overall, Dove's introduction is informative and insightful, offering an engaging discussion of trends in modern American poetry. However, as former U.S. poet laureate and former consultant in poetry for the Library of Congress, Dove knows her subject, which makes it all the more egregious that she has excluded works by some major American 20th-century poets. Among the excluded poets are Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, and the perhaps lesser-known Pulitzer Prize winner Karl Shapiro, also a U.S. poet laureate. Dove suggests some of the gaps occurred because the publishers' fees were beyond her budget, but that's a pity, because these are serious omissions.-Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

Selecting poets and poems to represent a century of poetry, especially the riotous twentieth century in America, is a massive undertaking fraught with peril and complication. Poet Rita Dove a Pulitzer Prize-winning former U.S. poet laureate, professor, and presidential scholar embarked on what became a consuming four-year odyssey. She reports on obstacles and discoveries in an exacting and forthright introduction, featuring striking quotes, vivid profiles, and a panoramic view of the evolution of poetic visions and styles that helped bring about social as well as artistic change. Dove credits Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Ezra Pound with building the framework for modern poetry in the U.S., then applauds the first women poets who breached the ramparts of male power Amy Lowell, H. D., and Gertrude Stein. Dove writes incisively about African American poets and other poets of color and has included poems by Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sherman Alexie, Sandra Cisneros, Kevin Young, and Elizabeth Alexander. Dove's incisive perception of the role of poetry in cultural and social awakenings infuses this zestful and rigorous gathering of poems both necessary and unexpected by 180 American poets. This landmark anthology will instantly enhance and invigorate every poetry shelf or section.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
Summary
Penguin proudly presents an unparalleled survey of the best poems of the past century. <p>Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U .S. Poet Laureate, introduces readers to the most significant and compelling poems of the past hundred years. Selecting from the canon of American poetry throughout the twentieth century, Dove has created an anthology that represents the full spectrum of aesthetic sensibilities-from styles and voices to themes and cultures-while balancing important poems with significant periods of each poet. Featuring poems both classic and contemporary, this collection reflects both a dynamic and cohesive portrait of modern American poetry and outlines its trajectory over the past century.</p>
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