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

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  557 Ratings  ·  40 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 1,096)
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Nov 14, 2015 Eddie rated it it was amazing
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?
Jul 01, 2007 Holly rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
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 liked it
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
Charles  Beauregard
Feb 07, 2016 Charles Beauregard rated it really liked it
It helped me find at least seven new poets I had barely skimmed or never heard of.
Cherie Kephart
Apr 03, 2015 Cherie Kephart rated it really liked it
Wonderful collection of poetry I read time and time again.
Jan 26, 2015 Bonnie rated it liked it
A good text book, I'm enjoying the readings.
Mar 02, 2016 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
A truly interesting and varied collection.
Apr 07, 2008 Will rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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.
Terence Carlisle
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.
May 10, 2011 Izlinda rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, for-college
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.
Jun 19, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 06, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 08, 2013 Shelby Rollenhagen rated it liked it
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.
Nov 01, 2011 Tricia rated it liked it
Shelves: poems, 2011
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!
Jul 12, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing
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...
Oct 15, 2009 Molly rated it liked it
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.
Mar 10, 2009 Michaela rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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 it was amazing
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.
Dec 12, 2009 Takipsilim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of the most honest and practical verse one would come across, with all of the strengths and weaknesses that such a style brings.
Jul 14, 2012 Rory rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 28, 2008 Jenna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
My absolute favorite anthology of American poetry. Everytime I open this book I find something beautiful and new.
Aug 06, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Bishop, Theodore Roethke, James Wright, Sylvia Plath...plenty of my favorites all in one collection.
Feb 12, 2008 BillyBlog rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 28, 2015 Melody rated it it was ok
I didn't enjoy most of the poets in this book. Overall, it wasn't a particularly entertaining read.
Jun 25, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it
Excellent to use when teaching an Intro Workshop. Excellent survey of big-shots and priced right.
Irmak Ertuna-howison
Jan 13, 2013 Irmak Ertuna-howison rated it it was amazing
a great collection to remind you why Anglo-American literature is superior!
Sep 25, 2009 Rodney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should probably know all this since I'm an MFA now. But I don't.
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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
More about J.D. McClatchy...

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