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The Norton Anthology of Poetry 5th Edition

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393979206
ISBN-10: 0393979202
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About the Author

Margaret Ferguson (Ph.D. Yale University) is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California―Davis. She is author of Dido’s Daughters: Literacy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France (2003) and Trials of Desire: Renaissance Defenses of Poetry (1984). She is coeditor of Feminism in Time, Women, Property, and the Letters of the Law, Literacies in Early Modern England and a critical edition of Elizabeth Cary’s Tragedy of Mariam.

Mary Jo Salter (M.A. Cambridge University) is Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities at Mount Holyoke College, where she teaches poetry and poetry-writing. She has published several books of poems, including Henry Purcell in Japan (1985), Unfinished Painting (1989), Sunday Skaters (1994), A Kiss in Space (1999), and, most recently, Open Shutters (2003). A vice president of the Poetry Society of America, she has also served as poetry editor of The New Republic.

Jon Stallworthy (M.A. and B.Litt. Oxford) is Senior Research Fellow at Wolfson College of Oxford University, where he is an Emeritus Professor of English Literature. He is also former John Wendell Anderson Professor at Cornell, where he taught after a career at Oxford University Press. His biography of Wilfred Owen won the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the W. H. Smith Literary Award, and the E. M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His biography of Louis MacNeice won the Southern Arts Literary Prize. He is also the author of Rounding the Horn: Collected Poems and Singing School: The Making of a Poet, and editor of the definitive edition of Wilfred Owen’s poetry, The Complete Poems and Fragments; The Penguin Book of Love Poetry; The Oxford Book of War Poetry; and coeditor of The Norton Anthology of Poetry. Stallworthy has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 2182 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 5th edition (December 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393979202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393979206
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 86 people found the following review helpful By NikonDon on January 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Reading the new (5th edition) Norton Anthology of Poetry is like embarking on a voyage around the world: there is much that is familiar and much that is new and exotic. This a a mammoth book, one that a person can dive into and swim around in for ages and never come up. It is a vault of the best of humankind's poetic writings waiting to be unlocked and appreciated.

This text is improved over the fourth edition with the addition of an excellent essay on poetic syntax in addition to the essay on versification. The short biographies of each poet are welcome also.

It is the sheer volume of glorious poety that sets this book apart, however. There is something for everyone and every poetical taste. From Milton to Marianne Moore and even more contemporary authors, this book is a compendium like no other. It is not just a grouping of the "best" or "prettiest" poems, but rather a voluminous selection of what is most worthy of praise in our English literary heritage. I cannot recommend this book enough.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jordan M. Poss VINE VOICE on May 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
I got this anthology as a gift a few years ago, just after its release, I believe, and it has been with me ever since. This book is one of the few items that I must have with me no matter what my location, whether at college or at home.

Norton anthologies are great. As is the case with the ones I used in college, this book includes both footnotes and glossing in the margins, both of which help immensely when the reader is inexperienced or new to a certain period of literature (Norton is particularly helpful to students new to Spenser). The huge number of poets represented here makes the book indispensable to lovers of poetry.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Marty McCarthy VINE VOICE on February 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Given the fact that the anthology is nearly 2000 pages long, it is quite difficult to quibble over substance in this wonderful anthology. Almost every poet of any significance and their seminal work is represented in the anthology.

There are two quarrels I do have over style. Though the anthology has biographical sketches of the authors, those do not appear with the authors' work but rather at the end. The other thing I would change would be the index. The index is one combined index rather than a spearate index of first lines and authors.

All in all, a great find and great buy.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By AMHR on February 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have many books of poetry. If I were to only be allowed one (the desert island scenario) this would be the one to have. It is simply the best overall collection of poetry in the English language that is available. I do wish that it contained some Ferlinghetti and Charles Bukowski though... But then I have heard from a reliable source Ferlinghetti often declined when asked to be included in anthologies of poetry, so this may not be Norton's fault. An absolutely wonderful collection of the best poetry ever written in our language.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DC Guy on February 3, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once upon a time, I ran into an Tenured Professor of English who taught me how to read poetry, for the first time, in my entire life.

Will point out that one morning, the professor was so insistent that I "get" Keat's "Ode to a Grecian Urn," that I missed my Amtrak for work. But I did not mind, as that was the exact instant in my entire life that I did finally "get" how to read poetry.

But you know, that education was exactly what I needed to fully join the western literature tradition.

Afterward.....

Then found this book, which has been a total feast of beautiful poetry. Not just full of poems, from throughout history, but also an excellent explanation, of what I have come to call the "architecture" of poetry.

I take it on every business trip and just dig into it every night, for reading one poem, then it is light's out........I Love it, it's the best.

And your know, every day I read a poem out of this book, I quietly thank that English Professor, who is not part of my life anymore, for connecting me with an important and necessary part of life.

Get the book, and learn to read poetry. It will improve your life in ways that you do not expect.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Simon Esposito on May 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
Clearly the best anthology of English poetry going, not least because it covers all poetry written in English, without the national restrictions of many others. And it's still within the limits of handy size and weight, so the extra depth and comprehensiveness of the new edition is welcome - even though it IS a bit too sloppy as a paperback, and without hard covers will quickly turn into a football.

Including short poet biographies at the back of the book is a brilliant idea, and so is the essay on versification (which attractively incorporates specimens of verse from the anthology, rather than lines newly made up for the purpose). It's just a pity that this wasn't allocated an extra ten pages (maximum), since it could then have been rounded out into a complete stand-alone reference - a few areas are missing or too briefly discussed. There are many separate guides to versification available - all excellent, but recent ones are more personal and informal (and less typographically clear) than the presentation here.

As for the selection itself, everyone will have favorites that are missing, or will prefer a slightly different emphasis to the selection. I would certainly cut some of the contemporary poems to make room for more from all other periods. (The last fifty years takes up a quarter of the book!). A number of poems, and even whole poets, show up on comparison with earlier editions and other anthologies. But, however regrettable some of these omissions are, in almost every area the selection at least manages to be (broadly) representative, and that's the main thing.

There is one area, though, where (trying to look at it objectively) I would INSIST that there is a clear failure in the selection, and that is in THE BALLADS.
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