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The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry
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The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  480 ratings  ·  35 reviews
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 da ...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published April 8th 2003 by Vintage Books (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 934)
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Juanita Rice
So far I am appalled by this anthology and its selectivity: 161 men/ 22 women.(Maybe 23? Initials, even names, sometimes mislead.) 6 African-American authors of this 187 poets. Not Langston Hughes. Not June Jordan, not Lucille Clifton. Not Maya Angelou. And not Marge Piercy. Not Ted Kooser. Not Lyn Hejinian. One Asian-American. Not Jane Kenyon.
No Hispanic-Americans. And 27% of the women have 5 or fewer pages, while only 2% of the men are so slighted.

An excerpt from the "Introduction," Second Edi
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.
M. M. Sana
Jan 12, 2008 M. M. Sana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Poets
Recommended to M. M. Sana by: Creative Writing Professor and Poetry Professor: 2 classes!
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 th ...more
Cherie Kephart
Wonderful collection of poetry I read time and time again.
A good text book, I'm enjoying the readings.
Apr 07, 2008 Will rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poets, pirates
Recommended to Will by: Professor Jennifer Atkinson
Shelves: poetry
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.
Nov 02, 2007 Aeisele rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Doesn't know a thing about Victorian poetry
Shelves: poetry
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sep 28, 2013 Nathanimal marked it as finish-later
Shelves: poems
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.
Tricia McKean
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!
This anthology introduced me to unfamiliar poets as well as to unfamiliar poems of well-established poets, thus expanding my knowledge of the "canon" of American poetry.
Jeremy Allan
Jun 09, 2009 Jeremy Allan added it
Shelves: poetry
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...
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.
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.
Nov 27, 2008 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Poetry Lovers
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! By far the best collection of contemporary poetry today. I read it over and over again. Aslo, a great intro to great poetry.
Some of the most honest and practical verse one would come across, with all of the strengths and weaknesses that such a style brings.
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.
My absolute favorite anthology of American poetry. Everytime I open this book I find something beautiful and new.
Elizabeth Bishop, Theodore Roethke, James Wright, Sylvia Plath...plenty of my favorites all in one collection.
Feb 12, 2008 BillyBlog rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to BillyBlog by: Jack Grapes
An editor who rejected my poetry (Jack Grapes, ONTHEBUS) recommended I read this. I did. My poetry got better.
I didn't enjoy most of the poets in this book. Overall, it wasn't a particularly entertaining read.
Excellent to use when teaching an Intro Workshop. Excellent survey of big-shots and priced right.
Irmak Ertuna-howison
a great collection to remind you why Anglo-American literature is superior!
I should probably know all this since I'm an MFA now. But I don't.
Typical adult poetry collection with a wide range represented.
We only read a little of this. I liked the Mark Strand stuff.
A wonderful collection of contemporary American poetry.
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McClatchy is an adjunct professor at Yale University and editor of the Yale Review. He also edits the "Voice of the Poet" series for Random House AudioBooks.

His book Hazmat (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002) was nominated for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. He has written texts for musical settings, including eight opera libretti, for such composers as Elliot Goldenthal, Daron Hagen, Lowell Liebermann, Lorin Maazel
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