"The most acute rendering of an era’s sensibility is its poetry," wrote the editors in their preface to the first edition.
This anthology is an extraordinary accomplishment by any standard. Now in its third edition, the two-volume Norton classic features 1,596 poems by 195 poets (approximately one-half of the poems are new to this edition). Beginning with the late 19th century, the first volume opens with Walt Whitman and ends with Keith Douglas; the second opens with Charles Olson and ends with Sherman Alexie. One of the great pleasures in perusing the anthology is in recognizing the breadth of poetry in the English language. The major, as well as the sometimes neglected, poets are represented here. All of the traditions in poetry-experimental, confessional, traditional, ethnic, formal, postcolonial, and the long poem-are included. The editors have concluded each volume with a "Poetics" section of influential statements by the poet, which provide context and depth to the reading of the poems. The introductions, headnotes, annotations, and bibliographies have been rewritten to add texture and depth to the reader's experience. The author of three books on modern and contemporary poetry, including Poetry of Mourning: The Modern Elegy from Hardy to Heaney, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Ramazani (English, Univ. of Virginia) has done an excellent job of "renewing the text" for contemporary readers. Essential.-Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.