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The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 1, 2000
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From Library Journal
We are fortunate to have two excellent, recently published international anthologies of contemporary poetry available to us now, thanks to Paine's new compilation. Complementing The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, edited by J.D. McClatchy (LJ 7/96), it has some duplication but is clearer in its definition of "contemporary": the "demarcating starting year" is 1950. McClatchy's volume was arranged by continent and contained the works of many more poets. Paine and his helpers (Joseph Brodsky, before his death, played an important role) chose to select fewer poets for each country and to "make the poem's shining merit the sole criterion" so that "a world anthology of poetry, perhaps for the first time, would not merely cover the bases but be primarily a pleasure to read." Thus, Latin America is represented by eight poems each by Neruda, Borges, Paz, Vallejo, and Drummond de Andrade, followed by a sampling of ten other poets (one poem each). Each section is preceded by a thoughtful introduction of several pages by the selector in that area (e.g., Carolyn Forch for Latin America). In the English-speaking world section, only two American poets (Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell) are included, with four more in the "sampling" section. These selections put into perspective this country's relative unimportance among the sheer numbers of excellent poets from other corners of the world. A stunning and highly readable anthology; recommended for public and academic libraries.DJudy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A stunning and highly readable anthology. -- -- Library Journal
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The book is divided up into five sections representing the major continents: English speaking world (U.S., Canada, England, and New Zealand (sorry Australia, but you aren't here), Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. At the beginning of each section there is a helpful 10 or 15 page interesting introduction to the poetry of that part of the world. In addition to that there is a brief biography that precedes almost every poet's poems. There is also an interesting introduction to the book itself.
Yes, the selection is limited. There are just two U.S. poets - Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Lowell. Then again I don't buy an international book of poetry to read U.S. poets, as there are plenty of American anthologies. Philip Larkin is it for England; the usual suspects of Borges, Neruda, Paz for Latin America; Akhmatova, Celan, Herbert, Montale, and Seferis are the choices for Europe.
But, it is, indeed, an interesting book. Is it accessible -meaning are these poems designed to be read by you and I, and not just other professors in MFA creative writing programs? It certainly is.