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The Pittsburgh Book Of Contemporary American Poetry (Pitt Poetry) Paperback – March 28, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Published to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Pitt Poetry Series, this anthology does not give a full picture of what is perhaps the nation's most distinctive poetry publishing venture. Only 45 of the 101 writers the series has published are included, all with volumes currently in print "in hopes that the reader will be motivated to buy and read the full-length collections. . . ." Archibald Macleish, Shirley Kaufman and Michael S. Harper, three of the series' early luminaries, are absent. And, since Ochester replaced Paul Zimmer as editor in 1978, the majority of the series' in-print books are his selections. Ochester's preference for a poetry of commitment, devoid of trivialities, is clear. One reads the prison jottings of Etheridge Knight, Gary Soto's portraits of migrant workers, or Irene McKinney's pieces about the lives of coal miners, and realizes how heavily this anthology is weighted toward working-class views. Instead of pieces paying tribute to family members, we find Sharon Olds's horrific poems of traumas hinting at incest, or Maxine Scates's poems of a mother's desertion, a grandmother in the madhouse. Lorna Dee Cervantes, Toi Derricotte and others offer insights into the lives of families attempting to preserve their non-white roots. The majority of these poems are not lyrical, but none are prosaic either, and a surprising number of long poems are included. Oresick wrote Definitions. Author photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In the 1970s, the "Pitt Poetry" series debuted some of today's best-known poets and set writing workshop trends. Commemorating the series' 25 years of existence, this analogy offers a sampling of work by 45 individuals whose books are currently in print--a decision that, regrettably, omits the press's finer out-of-print writers. In a curiously defensive introduction, the editors tout their selections as being "as valid a cross-section of contemporary American poetry as we know," but the work overall is striking more for its similarity than for its variety, a surprise given the wonderfully diverse ethnicities of its creators. Though articulate and often vividly descriptive, too many of these poets seem intent on making conversation rather than poetry, choosing plain language, unambitious prosody, and mundane subjects. The seasoned voices (Etheridge Knight, Siv Cedering, Ted Kooser) ring clearly above the rest, but generally we are offered less of what poetry promises than of what we've learned lately to expect from it.
- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Pitt Poetry
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (March 28, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822955067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822955061
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,594,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
The University of Pittsburgh Press has sponsored one of the best poetry series of recent decades, and this volume offers concentrated delight.
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