Fifty Poets: An American Auto-Anthology

Fifty Poets: An American Auto-Anthology

Fifty Poets: An American Auto-Anthology

Fifty Poets: An American Auto-Anthology

Excerpt

Having engaged in the compilation of three anthologies, and having perused, in my time, several hundred, it occurred to me one evening that the experiment should be made of letting the poets choose their own poems for inclusion. I know how often they marvel that the anthologist selects some particular composition by which to represent them. I know how anthologists continue duplicating the same selections. Certain poems seem to become anthology stereotype. I know, as a poet, what an irritation this can be.

Louis Untermeyer, as editor for several years of An American Miscellany invited a selected group of a few poets, to which a few others were later added, to choose groups of their new poems wherewith to make up a series of interesting volumes. But my idea, as it grew in my mind, was distinctly different from this. I thought it would be especially interesting to write to those I conceived to be the best fifty poets in America and to see whether it were not possible for them to select from all their published work one of their shorter poems by which they would like to be remembered. "If posterity," I said, "could know your work only by one single briefer poem you had written, what poem of yours would you choose to represent you?"

The difficulties of such a choice are obvious. A certain type of creator may have a general fondness for all his work, another may consider that he has never accomplished what he still dreams of doing. Most would choose one poem for one reason on a particular day, and soon set it aside in favor of another, as the mood changed. I realized this, and that an anthology of this kind could at best be but a peculiar approximation; but I counted on the . . .

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.