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The Poets Laureate Anthology written by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt


The Poets Laureate Anthology written by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt


The first anthology to gather poems by the forty-three poets laureate of the United States.

As a record of poetry, The Poets Laureate Anthology is groundbreaking, charting the course of American poetry over the last seventy-five years, while being, at the same time, a pleasure to read, full of some of the world’s best-known poems and many new surprises. Elizabeth Hun Schmidt has gathered and introduced poems by each of the forty-three poets who have been named our nation’s poets laureate since the post (originally called Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress) was established in 1937. Poets range from Robert Pinsky, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop to Charles Simic, Billy Collins, and Rita Dove. Schmidt’s spirited introductions place the poets and their poems in historical and literary context and shine light on the interesting and often uneasy relationship between politics and art. This is an inviting, monumental collection for everyone’s library, containing much of the best poetry written in America over the last century.


The first anthology to gather poems by the forty-three poets laureate of the United States.

Publishers Weekly

The United States has a long tradition of choosing a national poet, though the term poet laureate only came to be used here after 1985. Before that, since its inception in 1935, the post was called consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress. So far we've had 43 of them, including some of America's most famous and best-loved poets, such as Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and, of course, Billy Collins, perhaps the most popular poet to hold the title (2001 2003), and also the author of the foreword to this enjoyable anthology, which offers a sampling of work from all 43 laureates, plus short introductions about each one. Former New York Times Book Review poetry editor Schmidt calls the laureates "the gatekeepers of the American idiom," and above all, that's what a reader will find here: a good sampling of what the mainstream of American poetry has to offer--the careful descriptions of Bishop, the powerful critiques of Brooks, the surreal landscapes of Simic, Merwin's deep images, Bogan's careful stanzas, Lowell's blustery lines. There are a few occasional poems, but mostly, it's a gathering of great poets hanging together because they held an important job. This will be a wonderful holiday gift for poetry lovers. (Oct.)

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