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The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry

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Dazzling in its range, exhilarating in its immediacy and grace, this collection gathers together, from every region of the country and from the past forty years, the poems that continue to shape our imaginations. From Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery and Adrienne Rich, to Robert Haas and Louise Gluck, this anthology takes the full measure of our poetry's Dazzling in its range, exhilarating in its immediacy and grace, this collection gathers together, from every region of the country and from the past forty years, the poems that continue to shape our imaginations. From Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery and Adrienne Rich, to Robert Haas and Louise Gluck, this anthology takes the full measure of our poetry's daring energies and its tender understandings.


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Dazzling in its range, exhilarating in its immediacy and grace, this collection gathers together, from every region of the country and from the past forty years, the poems that continue to shape our imaginations. From Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery and Adrienne Rich, to Robert Haas and Louise Gluck, this anthology takes the full measure of our poetry's Dazzling in its range, exhilarating in its immediacy and grace, this collection gathers together, from every region of the country and from the past forty years, the poems that continue to shape our imaginations. From Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery and Adrienne Rich, to Robert Haas and Louise Gluck, this anthology takes the full measure of our poetry's daring energies and its tender understandings.

30 review for The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eddie

    This book has some old favorites, but it also turned me on to some amazing poets I hadn't known before. A fantastic anthology if you like poetry--and who doesn't like poetry?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Will

    We used this book in my first poetry class and despite my expanding collection of these authors' collected works, I still enjoy leafing through them here. I think this was my first introduction to a number of amazing poets: Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman, Richard Wilbur, Denise Levertov, James Dickey, Frank O'Hara, James Merrill, A.R. Ammons, James Wright, Adrienne Rich, Mary Oliver, Louise Gluck... I reckon I wouldn't know nothin' if'n I ain't a read this pack 'o pomes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    A large collection of poetry mostly from the 30's-70's. Each port is introduced with brief biographies that are often way too infected with pseudo-literary show-offy writer's workshop leader blather. Some of the poems are wonderful. I have not read poetry in decades and this was a great way to get a feel for the landscape.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    While this collection does cover a wide swath of poets it seems to have been edited by someone who was going through a bitter divorce. All the poems about relationships are bitter or, at best, bittersweet. No complaints about those selections either, but sometimes I turn to poetry to find words for my happiness and couldn't find them here. Best for a bleaker mood, I guess.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Addie Haughey

    I was revisiting some old reads on my bookshelf recently and spent some time on this one. I found myself skipping most of the men and focusing in on the female poets, who are somewhat underrepresented in this collection.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Megan Wahman

    Turns out I hate poetry but Im also not a quitter. Turns out I hate poetry but I’m also not a quitter.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Weeks

    We didn't read this book cover to cover for class, but we read enough that I'm counting it. Work the system.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Molly Nelson

    A great exposition on the modern infatuation with garbage.

  9. 4 out of 5

    M. M. Sana

    This is an awesome book to keep in your library and read a little bit at a time, if you don't read poetry but write it. If you read and write poetry GET THE BOOK!!! It presents different styles of contemporary poetry and you could really learn a lot from it. Also, it has an introduction on each poet before their style is presented. It was a required text and I read parts of it Spring 07 in a creative writing class, then Fall 07 it was required in my poetry class and I read most of it... After This is an awesome book to keep in your library and read a little bit at a time, if you don't read poetry but write it. If you read and write poetry GET THE BOOK!!! It presents different styles of contemporary poetry and you could really learn a lot from it. Also, it has an introduction on each poet before their style is presented. It was a required text and I read parts of it Spring 07 in a creative writing class, then Fall 07 it was required in my poetry class and I read most of it... After the class was over, I finished reading it as I played around with different styles of poetry writing. It really helped. If you like poetry, real poetry and not Hallmark card poetry, you'll like this!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Izlinda

    Because the book store ordered the wrong book most of us, myself included, got photocopies from our teacher's copy. In a way, that ruined my pleasure of using this book, even though we did save money in the end since we didn't read many poems to make it worth buying. I found it an alright anthology.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aeisele

    This is a pretty good collection, edited by J.D. McClatchy. There's a ton of good anthologies, but this one has a good smattering of the best American poets after the modern era (the "Pound Era," as it were). It starts with Lowell and Bishop, and goes through Jarrell, Berryman, Warren, Nemerov, Rich, up to a bunch of people I've never heard of. Good collection.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Terence Manleigh

    Superb all-purpose anthology of contemporary American poetry, covering most of the majors (Lowell, Bishop, Roethke, Sexton, Plath, O'Hara, et. al.) and many of the minors.... or at least, minors in comparison with the majors. Or upcoming majors, anyway. Favorite discoveries: W. D. Snodgrass and Ed Hirsch. Gorgeous.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nathanimal

    I don't know crap about poetry. Really, it's all blah blah blah to me at this point. But I think I'd like to get to know it better, so if you have any recommendations of some book or poet I might dig, let me know.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was my first poetry anthology, and it has traveled around the world with me. I have read it so many times that it is now in two distinct halves. This was my first introduction to Sharon Olds, and the poem "The Glass." I will keep it until it falls apart.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I didn't think I could get back into poetry after I graduated with a BA in English. I was wrong. This stuff is essential. Thank the Good Lord for poets and hip-hop artists for their artistry with the language.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Elliott

    Used this for a BYU course on Creative Writing, and it was really great! I read about half of the poetry, plus a little more than what was required from the course. So many great poets! And everybody should read "When Death Comes" by Mary Oliver.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Rollenhagen

    This collection is worth reading and offers great examples of stylistic control and technique, but from a visceral standpoint, I don't like a lot of the poems in it. However, any aspiring poet should read this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Linn K Htin

    so many well-known poets were not on the list. :(

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Allan

    This is an ongoing project, since I generally find reading from anthologies to be deeply dissatisfying, strangely unlike the satisfaction I receive from owning them...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    This book changed my view of poetry and answered the age old question, "what makes a poem a poem?." Many of my new favorite pieces are from this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    rory

    Reading this book was one of those things I didn't enjoy doing but am glad to have done, like running and brushing my teeth.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    As an anthology, it's not the strongest I've ever read (or own). But it's got some good favorites in it, worth hanging on to and not sending to half price books!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A truly interesting and varied collection.

  24. 5 out of 5

    BillyBlog

    An editor who rejected my poetry (Jack Grapes, ONTHEBUS) recommended I read this. I did. My poetry got better.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    My absolute favorite anthology of American poetry. Everytime I open this book I find something beautiful and new.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather Lynn

    For my Creative Writing Poetry class

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    A good text book, I'm enjoying the readings.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elise

    We only read a little of this. I liked the Mark Strand stuff.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michaela

    Again, I'm no expert on anthology-esque books, but I did love the poems I read in this one. And, the font/typeface was very lovely, as a random remark.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    I didn't enjoy most of the poets in this book. Overall, it wasn't a particularly entertaining read.

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