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I did not love every poem in this collection; in fact, there were quite a few that I found too pretentious, too opaque, or too boring. But there were also some amazing works, and the volume introduced me to several new poets, as well as reminding me of some I had forgotten about. I also enjoyed reading each poet's comments on why he (and it is almost always he) had chosen that particular piece for inclusion. Like the poems themselves, some of the poets were pretentious, obscure, or self-indulgen ...more
As poetry collections go, and most of them, for me, can *go*, this is a keeper. The eds chose a variety of poets and asked each to choose one poem for the volume--and to explain or comment on the choice. The individual poems are terrific, by and large, and the explanations/commentary provide a useful, often enlightening perspective on the poem and on the poet.
Engle was a noted American poet, editor, teacher, literary critic, novelist, and playwright. He is perhaps best remembered as the long-time director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. During his tenure (1941–1965), he was responsible for luring some of the finest writers of the day to Iowa City. Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Kurt Vonnegut and other prominent authors served as faculty under Engle. Addi ...moreMore about Paul Engle...