Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

American Poets and Poetry: From the Colonial Era to the Present

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

American Poets and Poetry: From the Colonial Era to the Present

Article excerpt

American Poets and Poetry: From the Colonial Era to the Present. Ed. by Jeffrey Gray, Mary McAleer Balkun, and James McCorkle. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2015. 2 vols. Acid free $189 (ISBN: 978-1-61069-831-3). E-book available (978-1-61069-832-0), call for pricing.

In many ways American Poets and Poetry: From the Colonial Era to the Present is a condensed version of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry (Greenwood, 2006). They have the same editors, many of the same contributors, and there is overlap in the poets and topics covered. The earlier encyclopedia was five volumes and much more comprehensive, but this new work does cover some contemporary poets not found in the previous work, such as Natasha Trethewey, and has more recent information about some of the still living poets.

The alphabetical arrangement of the entries, along with a table of contents and an index, make it easy to use. Signed entries include some biographical information, exploration of the poets' style and themes, and very brief lists of primary and secondary sources. Frequently entries discuss individual poems or poem collections, which really helps illustrate the nature of the poet's work. This two volume work also contains a historical chronology, a bibliography (featuring anthologies of poetry, critical studies, reference works, and websites), and an introduction that provides context for the periods covered. …

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