The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine

Article excerpt

Don Share & Christian Wiman, eds. | University of Chicago Press

I f poets as far-flung as France, Cuba, India, and Nicaragua comprised the avantgarde of literary modernism, a lookout in a turret in Chicago, Illinois, saw the invasion coming to America and, instead of pulling up the drawbridge, simply removed the hinges. In The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine (due out October 4), the evidence of Harriet Monroe's prescience as founding editor of Poetry is everywhere apparent. As Helen Carr notes in her essay in the forthcoming volume 2 of The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, Chicago may have been derided by some as "Porkopolis," but to Monroe and other Chicagoans, its art and architecture rivaled that of any city in the world in the early years of the twentieth century, and Monroe fervently believed in the transformative value of poetry in a globalizing society. A playwright, poet, and journalist, Monroe launched Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in October 2012 with an "Open Door" policy of admissions and a coterie of poet-advisors that famously included Ezra Pound as well as advice from writers like Yeats and Tagore, who visited the magazine's editorial offices on 543 Cass Street.

Now, one hundred years later, in a new anthology culled from the pages of the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world, Don Share and Christian Wiman-the current senior editor and editor of the magazine, respectively-decided to forego choosing a "greatest hits" collection and instead delved into the more than 300,000 poems that have appeared in the magazine, emerging with a representative centenary selection. …