Iris's Reviews > The Anthologist

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
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's review
Dec 06, 2010

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Recommended for: poets, poetry teachers
Read in December, 2010

This is a novel about poetry. Really, a stream of consciousness first-person narrative about someone who loves poetry. While much of the volume consists of anecdotes about Ginsburg and Alice Carey, I was disappointed that these name-droppings remained quite superficial. A casual reader of poetry, like me, will emerge from this book without a great feeling for the form and its joys. Scholars of poetry would have a small pleasure in recognizing the names and titles and rules of poetry.

A lovely exception begins in Chapter 7, about the evolution of sound and rhyme in each of our mouths, starting with birth. Baker is very approachable and readable in his understanding of how rhymes work in our brains and bodies, and this chapter would be a great segue into the pleasures of reading poetry aloud.

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