Penguin’s landmark poetry anthology, perfect for learning poems by heart in the age of ephemeral media
Recipient of the Academy of American Poets' Wallace Stevens Award (Dove)
Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States, introduces readers to the most significant and compelling poems of the past hundred years in The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Now available in paperback, this indispensable volume represents the full spectrum of aesthetic sensibilities—with varying styles, voices, themes, and cultures—while balancing important poems with vital periods of each poet. Featuring works by Mary Oliver, Derek Walcott, John Ashbery, Gwendolyn Brooks, Kevin Young, Terrance Hayes, Li-Young Lee, Joanna Klink and A.E. Stallings, Dove’s selections paint a dynamic and cohesive portrait of modern American poetry.
About the Author
Rita Dove is an award-winning poet, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. She has published numerous volumes of poetry, fiction, plays, and essays. She is currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, the writer Fred Viebahn. Her book Collected Poems 1974 — 2004 was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry.
"Former U.S. Poet Laureate Dove takes a fresh look at the canon of 20th century American poetry in this hefty anthology [...] This book is sure to become an important resource for those interested in poetry, and especially students, for decades to come." —Publishers Weekly [Starred Review]
“One of the gifts of twentieth-century U.S. poetics has been the series of debates about what we are to value in and about poetry, and one of the tasks of the student of poetry is to develop her own criteria for excellence, taking her cues from the values of her own cultures—inherited, encountered, or taught, as the case may be.” —Evie Shockley, Boston Review
"Selecting poets and poems to represent a century of poetry, especially the riotous twentieth century in America, is a massive undertaking fraught with peril and complication. Poet Rita Dove—a Pulitzer Prize–winning former U.S. poet laureate, professor, and presidential scholar—embarked on what became a consuming four-year odyssey. She reports on obstacles and discoveries in an exacting and forthright introduction, featuring striking quotes, vivid profiles, and a panoramic view of the evolution of poetic visions and styles that helped bring about social as well as artistic change [...] Dove's incisive perception of the role of poetry in cultural and social awakenings infuses this zestful and rigorous gathering of poems both necessary and unexpected by 180 American poets. This landmark anthology will instantly enhance and invigorate every poetry shelf or section." —Donna Seaman for Booklist
"At last, 20th century poetry itself! Rita Dove's [anthology] is intelligent, generous, surprising, and altogether thrilling to read—literally, a heart-thumping collection. In her editorial hands the 20th century is broad but sharply contoured. Most other poetry anthologies give us schools, corners, clubs, and identities, but this one gives us something beyond representative that gets at the extraordinary accomplishment and range of multi-vocal American poetry in the century. Dove's selection—and this book—will long stand as the definitive anthology of American poetry." —Elizabeth Alexander
"The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry has the solid, respectable, upright feel of a book bound for the syllabuses of myriad college courses. But it also has enough surprises to make it ideal for the rest of us too. It belongs on the bedside table as well as in a backpack." —The Chicago Tribune