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The Norton Anthology of Poetry

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  3,353 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Over three editions, The Norton Anthology of Poetry has become the classroom standard for the study of poetry in English. A wide and deep quarry of poems from the medieval period to the present, it is a book instructors rely on as a uniquely flexible teaching anthology, and one that students delve into well beyond college. Now, responding to new scholarship, classroom sugg ...more
Paperback, 1217 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by R.S. Means Company (first published 1970)
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HeavyReader
Jan 28, 2012 HeavyReader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry fans
This book is huge, so I had no intention of reading it cover to cover. I just flipped through, reading a poem here, another one there. I didn't even buy this book for a class. I had some extra scholarship book money, so I bought myself a copy.

Unfortunately, my copy of this book disappeared many years ago. I think a no good roommate stole it. The funny thing is that he considered himself a Christian. I hope he still has this book and feels guilty whenever he sees it on his bookshelf. I hope he's
...more
Alan
Oct 18, 2012 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am more familiar with earlier editions, and while Margy Ferguson is an excellent and perceptive scholar-editor, she cannot repell the publisher's usual bowing to sell books. My riveting memory of such an event was in a freshman literature anthology, ground-breaking in its day. It included Tom Thumb, had an entire section of songs and the prosody of songs, and many other things, which because they were unique, I tended to teach.
Next edition, they were all cut. And I dumped the anthology. Evid
...more
Velma
May 05, 2016 Velma marked it as tbr-someday-maybe  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, anthology
Eighty bucks? Really? I need a Biblio-Fairy Godparent.
Daniel Wright
More than four months in the reading. Worth every day.
Joe Sacksteder
May 23, 2010 Joe Sacksteder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In college my Great Books professor put this whole anthology on our 100 Greatest Books list. The idea of this class is that you read as many of the 100 during the semester as you can; then you're supposed to read the remnant over the course of your life. This anthology was a real cop out on the professors' part - along with the complete works of William Shakespeare. It was setting us up for failure. I started the anthology in 2005 when I was in music composition grad school in Baton Rouge Louisi ...more
Kate O'Hanlon
Nov 13, 2011 Kate O'Hanlon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, anthology
I'm marking as read although I didn't make it through even half of the poems while it formed the backbone of my reading list through college. Outrageously expensive (for an 18 year old student anyway) I borrowed a copy from a guy who had just graduated and gave it to his little brother who was starting college the year I finished up. My flatmate has a copy though, and I'm glad to have it around again for reference.
Lauren
Aug 30, 2012 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Covers the history and evolution of poetry in English, however I'd suggest the Norton Anthology of Post-Modern American Poetry as a supplement since this book really doesn't cover many of the influential poets writing today. However, English majors or anyone interested in poetry should have a copy of this book in their library.
Harper Curtis
Nov 06, 2013 Harper Curtis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Norton Anthology is a rich resource, a great starting point for young readers and poets, and a great place to go to find new poets to read. That being said, it really is just a starting point. Moreover, it is limited to poetry written originally in English. You will want to supplement with international anthologies, consider The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, for example.
Brian
Jun 23, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say - I love poetry
Ela
Oct 28, 2015 Ela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I may not have read it cover to cover but this is a pretty awesome and comprehensive anthology of poetry.
Eduard
Oct 01, 2016 Eduard is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Walter
At the end of the end of the 1960 film, The Time Machine, the hero, George Wells, returns to the future taking three books from his library with him. Viewers are left to ponder which three books he takes - it's never revealed. If it had been me, this would be one of the books.

The Norton Anthology is a part of who I am. It opened - and continues to open - doors into some of the great literary minds of our culture. A starting point from which you can go on and learn more (i.e., don't stop with th
...more
James
Dec 09, 2010 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely tremendous collection of English language poetry. It covers everything from Chaucer and Milton to Larkin and Plath. One of the greatest assets of this collection is that it contains several lengthy poems in their entirety, among them The Rape of the Lock and The Waste Land (both of which are among my personal favorites). Although it seems to gloss over a few major figures (Poe for example) this collection remains the best single volume of English poetry I've ever seen. It is both a ...more
James
One of the most comprehensive anthologies of poetry that I have encountered in an attractive format. Covering several centuries of poetry it includes all the great lyrical poems and many more to entertain and educate the poetry lover. It is a wonderful reference and companion for any literature lover -- with a chronological organization it is easy to dip into the collection from time to time. In this book you can find some of your favorite poems, but more importantly you can expand your range of ...more
Ellen
Jul 29, 2008 Ellen rated it really liked it
My Great Uncle was a Literature Professer at the Junior College I attended. Sophomore year, my English Dept. mentor and Teacher was dear friends with him. That is before his untimely death climbing with his sons on the Tetons due to equipment failure. Upon hearing I was the great neice of his old friend, he choked up. And I got an undeserved A in the class. For I rarely attended class. And never studied more than 24 hrs. before the exam. But, this anthology too takes up a dusty place on my asthm ...more
JP
May 18, 2013 JP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of poems of course. I still don't "get" poetry, but this certainly broadened by exposure and deepened my appreciate.[return]Predominant themes/recurring terms: the classics, other great poets (especially Donne, Jonson, and Shakespeare), heros, flowers, beauty, religion, death, childhood, love, sex, war, grass, spiders, and owls. Reading in chronological order forces one to wonder whether we have become that much more cynical over time or whether every age sees more inspiring poems as better ...more
Ed
Jun 03, 2008 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This is the best one volume anthology of poetry in English available today. Every editor will leave out works that a reader will consider essential and include works that the same reader will react with a "what the hell..." and the Norton fifth edition is no exception. But as a useful survey of poetry we know, work we might be interested in if we knew a bit about it and and poems that once skimmed can be ignored it is first rate.
Sunniva
Jul 11, 2013 Sunniva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: study
This book is, as a first year lit student, my current bible. This anthology is a thorough education in poetry, and although I prefer reading prose, I am extremely happy to own this book. It takes you through the canon, from the early epics to contemporary. Perhaps impossible to read cover to cover, but it's perfect if you're hungry for poetry; just flick through it and you will stumble over a new jewel.
Daphne Stanford
Jul 05, 2007 Daphne Stanford rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a decent introduction to the foundational poets
I'm reading through this -- what is probably my 4th or so copy -- different/updated edition, though. Seems like it gets bigger and bigger each year!

Thing is, this is a damn good anthology far as anthologies go. Thing is, though, I prefer the original collections. Kinda like the difference between a "Best of" album and the original deal. Yada yada yada.
Nancy
Sep 06, 2013 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, anthology
Ok so this is a pretty complete Anthology, all the poems my poetry professor refers to is in this monster beast. It is organized pretty well, I think. The paper is super thin, and the book weighs like ten pounds? I have to carry this big bad beast. They need a Kindle edition! Some of my favorite poets are not in here, but are in Introduction to Poetry? Minus 1 star.
Malcolm
Nov 19, 2012 Malcolm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


The standard collection of British poetry used on university English Literature courses. It's range of poets and poetry is massive. It's notes are invaluable too. If you're looking for just one collection of poetry in the English language, the latest incarnation of this book has to be on your shelf (or in your e-reader!).
Sarah Cypher
Sep 08, 2011 Sarah Cypher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I've been a fiction writer since age 15. And terrified of poetry. I'm enjoying this overview of canonical names, and it's a great (if physically intimidating) place to meet the poets who resonate with me. The only shame is that my library's version, the 2nd ed., doesn't contain Basho or Mary Oliver--other poets whose work I recently met and admired.
Aral Bereux
Jul 07, 2013 Aral Bereux rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I still have this on my bookshelf from my Lit Uni days. My favorite poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is in this. Other greats are concealed in this massive, massive book and I constantly review it for inspiration. For those who love to think about words, and who love poetry and the classics, go no further.
Alexa
Jan 02, 2014 Alexa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best introductions to the timeline of poetry as an undergraduate student. As with many anthologies, there are always selections that certain readers feel should be included in the collection; but all in all, the compilation does a decent job of covering many of the influential poets and their works.
Théodora
Jul 21, 2012 Théodora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I obviously did not read the entire anthology, however this book did introduce me to a lot of poets I hadn't heard of before and I found a lot of poems which are really beautiful. I have to own a copy of this one day.
Miss Melly
Nov 08, 2012 Miss Melly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had this book for many years and often find myself lost within it's pages for hours at a time. A great addition to any bookshelf, with everything from Chaucer to Plath, Shakespeare to ee cummings. It doesn't have absolutely everything, but it comes pretty close.
Alexis Scoville
Jul 21, 2016 Alexis Scoville rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book so many times and I love it.
I hae a fascination with older english and therefore I spent more time in the beginning sections than the later ones, but I loved it so much and still read it.... maybe im just weird.
Hannah
Jun 12, 2007 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Mary Jo Salter, one of the editors, was my professor for Post WWII Poetry my junior year. She's also a "famous" poet--as famous as poets can be these days. Anyway, the class rocked. A couple of my favorites are Randall Jarrell and Wendy Cope.
StephanieNicole
Jun 11, 2015 StephanieNicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains the earliest poetry in the English language to modern poetry. It's a fantastic resource. However, the pages are thin and the print is teeny tiny, which makes it more difficult to read.
Julie
Feb 17, 2013 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not a poetry person. I read through a lot of this, but I did not read the entire thing. I loved how it showed the progression of poetry through time. It got me very interested in Middle English, specifically Chaucer. For that, I am grateful.
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