Vivian Valvano's Reviews > The Anthologist

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
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Oct 20, 2010

really liked it
Read in October, 2010

This is very clever and frequently amusing short novel. First-person narrator Paul is an American poet (!) and failed college poetry teacher who is trying to write an introduction his edited anthology of rhyming poems, ONLY RHYME, but he suffers from severe writer's block, not to mention some obvious symptoms of undiagnosed anxiety/possibly a bit of depression. Woebegone Paul takes us on summer's journey through his half-baked efforts, his doing anything and everything to avoid actually sitting down and writing the introduction. And his entire narration is liberally laden with comments and anecdotes about specific poets and specific poems and poetry in general. For a reader who knows poetry, it is a delightful romp; for a reader who knows little to nothing about poetry, it will probably seem rather bizarre. I enjoyed it immensely, which is not to be interpreted as my making fun of Paul. Perish the thought. The description of Thursdays on page 140 is worth the price of the book!
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