Filled with the best poetry written in the last fifty years, this highly original anthology showcases the work of poets from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the English-speaking world (the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia). Originally conceived by editor Jeffery Paine with poet Joseph Brodsky, The Poetry of Our World is framed by insightful essays from distinguished poets, scholars, and critics that provide the context within which a reader can appreciate the poems selected by each of them. The carefully chosen experts include Helen Vendler on the English-speaking world, K. Anthony Appiah on Africa, Carolyn Forche on Latin America, Sven Birkerts on Europe, and Anita Desai and Donald Keene, among others, on Asia, which is divided into several sections (India, the Middle East and Central Asia, China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Japan).
Their essays provide a brief overview of each region's political and cultural life and illuminate the circumstances under which the poets were writing.
Included are poems by Nobel Prize-winners Pablo Neruda, Seamus Heaney, and Derek Walcott alongside the lesser-known but equally brilliant work of Ugandan Okot p'Bitek and, from Japan, the poetry of Shuntaro Tanikawa. The impressive and varied list of poets also includes such luminaries as Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Lowell, Anna Akhmatova, Paul Celan, and Wole Soyinka. The result is an anthology that includes some of the most revealing, meaningful, and beautiful poems of the second half of the twentieth century, fully representing the diverse range of poetry around the globe.
The Poetry of Our World is an important resource for all lovers of poetry. With an impressive and diverse list of international poets, and editors who are some of the most highly esteemed literary critics of this century, The Poetry of Our World is a unique anthology that is sure to be an indispensable guide through the world of contemporary poetry.
We are fortunate to have two excellent, recently published international anthologies of contemporary poetry available to us now, thanks to Paine's new compilation. Complementing The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, edited by J.D. McClatchy (LJ 7/96), it has some duplication but is clearer in its definition of "contemporary": the "demarcating starting year" is 1950. McClatchy's volume was arranged by continent and contained the works of many more poets. Paine and his helpers (Joseph Brodsky, before his death, played an important role) chose to select fewer poets for each country and to "make the poem's shining merit the sole criterion" so that "a world anthology of poetry, perhaps for the first time, would not merely cover the bases but be primarily a pleasure to read." Thus, Latin America is represented by eight poems each by Neruda, Borges, Paz, Vallejo, and Drummond de Andrade, followed by a sampling of ten other poets (one poem each). Each section is preceded by a thoughtful introduction of several pages by the selector in that area (e.g., Carolyn Forch for Latin America). In the English-speaking world section, only two American poets (Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell) are included, with four more in the "sampling" section. These selections put into perspective this country's relative unimportance among the sheer numbers of excellent poets from other corners of the world. A stunning and highly readable anthology; recommended for public and academic libraries.--Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\