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American Poetry : The Twentieth Century, Volume 1 : Henry Adams to Dorothy Parker [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   1000
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 20, 2000
Publisher   Library of America
Age  18
ISBN  1883011779  
EAN  9781883011772  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
Contains over 1500 poems by more than 200 well-known American poets, including Langston Hughes, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, and Wallace Stevens.

Buy American Poetry : The Twentieth Century, Volume 1 : Henry Adams to Dorothy Parker by Robert Hass from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781883011772 & 1883011779

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Big, But Not Big Enough  Sep 12, 2005
I think the two volumes published thus far are only half of what's expected, but I'm not sure, as these were put into print five years ago, as far as I can tell. There is plenty to enjoy here, and some to rightfully forget. There's also plenty missing. (Attempts at political correctness can be so tedious and obvious.) For instance, on the enjoyment side, Marianne Moore's The Steeple-Jack is a wonder of construction, as is Robert Frost's obsessively worked out "Familiar with the Night." But such anthologies as this are always questioned as to the method of selection, the poets disregarded, and the poems picked. Why, for instance, was Marianne Moore's Octopus overlooked? Where are W. H. Auden, Robert Lowell, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Allen Ginsburg, and James Merrill, among so many others? Are they still to come? I hope so. And I just don't care for Gertrude Stein. Her work is unreadable and does nothing at all for me. I don't know why so much space is always allotted to her in so many anthologies. Yes, I get the point. No, I don't need 37 pages of this point. It seems her importance only lies in who she knew and how she lived, not in any actual talent she had.

If the Library of America is coming out with any more volumes to round out the twentieth century, they are taking their sweet time about it. I really can't wait that long. In the meantime, a new American anthology is due out from Oxford in 2006, edited by David Lehman. I've had a sneak peek, and it's inclusive and won't disappoint.
"My hand in yours, Walt Whitman --so--"  Jan 29, 2002
This volume is the second of a projected four volume anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry in the Library of America series. American poetry richly deserves this extensive treatment, and this series may serve to introduce America's poets to a growing number of readers.

This volume begins with E.E.Cummings (born 1894) and concludes with May Swenson (born 1913) The volume has almost an embarrassment of riches. By my count there are 122 separate poets included. The book includes a brief biography of each writer included which is invaluable for reading the book.

As with any anthology of this nature,the selection is a compromise between inclusiveness and quality. Readers may quarrel with the relative weight given to various poets in terms of number of pages, and with the inclusion or exclusion of writers. (I was disappointed that a poet I admire, Horace Gregory, gets only two pages, for example). Overall, it is a wonderful volume and includes some greatpoetry.

There are favorites and familiar names here and names that will be familiar to few. A joy of a book such as this is to see favorites and to learn about poets one hasn't read before.

A major feature of this volume is its emphasis on diversity -- much more so than in volume 1 or in the Library of America's 19th century poetry anthologies. There are many Jewish poets (including Reznikoff, a favorite ofmine, Zukofsky, Alter Brody, Rose Drachler, George Oppen, Karl Shapiro, and others) and even more African-American Poets (Lanston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Richard Wright, Waring Cuney, Sterling Brown, Arna Bontemps, Robert Hayden and many more.) There are also selections from blues and popular songs which to me is overdone.

Of the poets unknown to me, I enjoyed particularly Lorine Niedecker, Laura Riding, and Janet Lewis -- women are well represented in this volume.

I have taken the title of this review from the Cape Hatteras section of "The Bridge" by Hart Crane.(page 229) Crane has more pages devoted to him than any other writer in the volume and deservedly so. "The Bridge" and "Voyages" are presented complete together with some of the shorter poems. This tragic, tormented and gifted writer tried in The Bridge to present a vision of America mystical in character, celebratory of the merican experience, and inclusive in its diversity. The poem is a worthy successor to the poetry of Whitman who is celebrated in it. The title of the review,I think, captures both Crane's poem as well as the goal of the volume as a whole in capturing something of the diversity of experience reflected in 20th Century American Verse.

"What thou lovest well is thy true heritage"  Jan 7, 2002
Although not widely read and appreciated, American poetry underwent a renaissance in the Twentieth Century. At some point, readers will look back at our Twentieth Century poetry as a benchmark of literature and a guide to the thoughts, feelings, and events of our difficult century.

In this, the first of four projected volumes covering the Twentieth Century, the Library of America gives access to a treausre of reading, moving, elevating, and disturbing. The book consists of readings from 85 (by my count) poets. The poets, are arranged chronologically by the poet's birthday. The earliest writer in the volume is Henry Adams (born 1838) and the concluding writer is Dorothy Parker (born 1893). Some writers that flourished later in life, such as Wallace Stevens, thus appear in the volume before works of their peers, such as Pound and Elliot, who became famous earlier.

For me, the major poets in the volume are (not surprising choices here), Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, W.C. Williams, Ezra Pound, T.S. Elliot, Marianne Moore. They are represented by generous selections,including Elliot's Waste Land, Steven's Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction, and several Pound Canto's given in their entirety.

It is the mark of a great literary period that there are many writers almost equally meriting attention together with the great names. There are many outstanding writers here, some known, some unknown. To name only a few, I would includeE.A Robinson, James Weldon Johnson, Adelaide Crapsey, Vachel Lindsay, Sara Teasdale, H.D. Robinson Jeffers, John Crowe Ransom, Conrad Aiken, Samuel Greenberg. It would be easy to go on.

There are different ways to read an anthology such as this. One way is to browse reading poems as they catch the reader's eye. Another way is to read favorite poems the reader already knows.

I would suggest making the effort to read the volume through from cover to cover. Before beginning the paricular poet, I would suggest reading the biographical summary at the end of the volume. These are short but excellent and illuminate the authors and the poetry. The notes are sparse, but foreign terms in Pound and Elliot's poetry are translated, and we have selections from Elliot's and Marianne Moore's own notes.

By reading the volume through,one gets a sense of continuity and context. Then, the reader can devote attention to individual poems. Some twentieth century works, such as those by Pound, Elliott,Moore Stevens are notoriously difficult. Read the works through,if you are coming to them for the first time, and return to them later.

I was familiar with many of the poems in the book before reading the anthology but much was new to me. I learned a great deal. My favorite poet remains Wallace Stevens, partly because he comibined the life of a man of affairs, as an attorney and insurance executive, with deep art. This remains an ideal for me. It is true as well for W.C. Williams, although I am less fond of his poetry.

The title to this review is taken from "Libretto" by Ezra Pound,
(page 371). It is the best single sentence summation I can think of for the contents of this volume.

Is everybody happy?  May 4, 2000
The real job of the anthologist is not, of course, to assemble anthologies but to anger and annoy readers. Only census takers have more doors slammed in their innocent faces. That said, a few words in defense of this excellent volume. Yes, there's plenty of second-tier or third-tier verse here, and those in search of pure poetry (no rocks, no soda, shaken not stirred) should probably save their pennies and buy the LOA volumes devoted to Frost, Stevens, etc etc. But a book like this one does give a splendid sense of cultural context. Sometimes the giants loom only larger when they're stuck in a line-up with their diminutive peers. And some of those lesser lights are actually quite talented, too. So unless you're truly fixated on iambic quality control, you should find much to love, and even more to like, in the capacious and paper-thin pages of APTTCV1.
The Library of America is generally splendid, but. . . .  Apr 30, 2000
you'd be much better off to buy other volumes in the series. This two-volume anthology is generally a two-thousand page waste of time. Most poetry is consigned to oblivion for a reason! What is here rescued is frankly not worth it, and the "literature" here is of historical rather than intrinsic interest. A monument to "inclusivity" and "diversity," but full of poor writing, the Common Reader is here advised to invest in Library of America's wonderful volumes of the poetry of Frost, Stevens, Whitman, and, whenever they finally appear in the future, Dickinson, Melville, Eliot, and Bishop.

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