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The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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"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'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." — Donna Seaman for Booklist
"At last, 20th century poetry itself! Rita Dove's [anthology] is intelligent, generous, surprising, and altogether thrilling to read- literally, a heart-thumping collection. In her editorial hands the 20th century is broad but sharply contoured. Most other poetry anthologies give us schools, corners, clubs, and identities, but this one gives us something beyond representative that gets at the extraordinary accomplishment and range of multi-vocal American poetry in the century. Dove's selection-and this book-will long stand as the definitive anthology of American poetry." — Elizabeth Alexander
"The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry has the solid, respectable, upright feel of a book bound for the syllabuses of myriad college courses. But it also has enough surprises to make it ideal for the rest of us too. It belongs on the bedside table as well as in a backpack." — The Chicago Tribune
About the Author
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Ms. Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar, she received her B.A. summa cum laude from Miami University of Ohio and her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She also held a Fulbright scholarship at the Universität Tübingen in Germany. She has published the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), Museum (1983), Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), Mother Love (1995), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), American Smooth (2004), a book of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985), the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992), essays under the title The Poet's World (1995), and the play The Darker Face of the Earth, which had its world premiere in 1996 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was subsequently produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Royal National Theatre in London, and other theatres. Seven for Luck, a song cycle for soprano and orchestra with music by John Williams, was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1998. For "America's Millennium," the White House's 1999/2000 New Year's celebration, Ms. Dove contributed -- in a live reading at the Lincoln Memorial, accompanied by John Williams's music -- a poem to Steven Spielberg's documentary The Unfinished Journey. She is the editor of The Best American Poetry 2000, and from January 2000 to January 2002 she wrote a weekly column, "Poet's Choice," for The Washington Post. Her latest poetry collection, Sonata Mulattica, was published by W.W. Norton & Company in the spring of 2009. Most recently she edited "The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry" (2011).
Rita Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, the German writer Fred Viebahn. They have a grown daughter, Aviva Dove-Viebahn.
More biographical information is available at http://www.people.virginia.edu/~rfd4b/
Top Customer Reviews
I read the Introduction with care. Was it as poorly written as Vendler said it was? Alas, the answer is yes. At the outset, Dove declares her intention to present the poets in chronological order as opposed to, say, alphabetical order. Because of this choice, she feels impelled to offer background material; she is reluctant to let a poem stand alone, without our knowing "the conditions that spawned and nurtured it." At the same time, she freely acknowledges the difficulty of writing literary history, "for there are so many exceptions to whatever grid one tries to superimpose on living, breathing material." Dove should have heeded that inner warning, for the grid she does impose---"trends---patterns in a tapestry whose many colorful threads exult in running riot" is superficial and clichéd. Decades get their own little tags: "start[ing] afresh" (the early century); "the party before the knock on the door" (the 20's); "the self-satisfied fifties;" and so on. The "melting pot" gets several mentions. Poets stride onto the poetic stage (Wallace Stevens), woo "an entire generation" (Ezra Pound), "plunge headlong in the Long Poem" (H.D., William Carlos Williams, Melvin B. Tolson). The effect is like one of those illustrated Time Marches On timelines in a student's textbook. Believe me, you can skip the opening here; it offers little by way of insight.Read more ›
Against this Rita Dove claims she was seeking to present a wide and representative view of the many faces of Poetry in the century. For her Poetry does not belong to the Poets and literary elite alone but belongs to the people. Each of us is a poet in some way and each of us can be a poetry reader. And so she has searched wide and been open to many different kinds of voices. And she has given readers an opportunity to meet with poems and names that they would otherwise never have known.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I diverse and rich book filled with classic and modern poets that will leave you wanting more.Published 2 months ago by Morgan
Bought this for my daughter's freshman poetry class. She loves it. I love that it was much cheaper here than the university bookstore. Prime shipping is great.Published 3 months ago by Sluchini
This is a remarkably scattershot anthology: there are 180 poets included, but only about 25 (among them the editor herself) are represented with four or more poems--and no one is... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Robert West
If you love poetry, this is a book to have in your collection. Learn about several different poets and work that helped give them all their mark in the world of poetry. Read morePublished 10 months ago by N.B
This book is pretty much useless. I don't mean this to be flip or abusive toward Dove, but I'm having trouble understanding the intended audience. It's a conceptual problem. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Nikolus Ziegler
This is a very odd selection of poems. Even if the poet you are looking for is here, the poem you want wont be. I.E. even when Ms. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Steven R. Severance
A bit unusual for a 20th century anthology, but the poems chosen are still good and bring more female poets into the mix. Worth reading.Published 13 months ago by North Country Boy