The Oxford Book of American Verse

The Oxford Book of American Verse

The Oxford Book of American Verse

The Oxford Book of American Verse

Excerpt

There are so many different ways of making anthologies that any anthologist had better begin by stating the rules of the game as he accepts them. A generation ago the usual practice was to include as many poets as possible, represented by two or three poems apiece. That served to introduce you to all the talents, but had the same confusing effect as a party that is too big. So my first rule has been: fewer poets, with more space for each. This means that I have included only those with a fairly substantial body of work from which to choose. We have lost thereby several delicately accomplished lyric poets whose continuing life is in a few anthology pieces. But we have gained the ability to see through the shrubbery to the trees, to get a sustained impression of every figure.

The second rule accepted here is to include nothing on merely historical grounds, and the third is similar, to include nothing that the anthologist does not really like, no matter what its reputation with others. These rules recognize that there are differing reasons for liking a canto from 'The Hasty Pudding' and a canto from Eẓra Pound. They grant that the pleasure of savoring and comparing different periods is one of the rewards of a lively interest in cultural history. They merely insist that it is not a sufficient reason to reprint Lowell 'Commemoration Ode' for the Civil War dead solely because it once passed for poetry in Cambridge.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.