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The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  290 ratings  ·  26 reviews
This groundbreaking volume may well be the poetry anthology for the global village. As selected by J.D. McClatchy, this collection includes masterpieces from four continents and more than two dozen languages in translations by such distinguished poets as Elizabeth Bishop, W.S. Merwin, Ted Hughes, and Seamus Heaney. Among the countries and writers represented are:

Paperback, 688 pages
Published June 25th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1996)
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Jun 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, anthology
My only gripe is that there are no works from Filipinos. There are a lot of wonderful, fantastic poets born and raised here in the Philippines, whose works, either in the vernacular or in English, take my breath away. It's one of my dreams to someday see my fellow writers' names in 'world' poetry anthologies alongside those whom we read today. ...more
Dustyn Hessie
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translations, poetry
This is the best anthology I own and the translations are SUPERB! I fell in love with Dahlia Ravikovich as soon as I read her poems in this anthology, but as soon as I bought one of her few books available on amazon, I realized that I was mostly just in love with the translator ... same goes for others (Neruda, etc.)

If you're even remotely interested in poetry give this one a whirl!
Jun 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Always on the lookout for a good anthology of world poetry for teaching creative writing: all students have access to, generally, is American poetry, which is great and all, but it's worth seeing what kinds of things are possible outside of our tradition -- a little hybrid vigor.

So McClatchy's selection is interesting and broad (quibble: only 1 Palestinian poet, though? There are a few that are really noteworthy these days) and he provides five or six pages of poems for each poet, so you can get
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: poetry
This is a wonderful collection of poetry from around the world. It is divided by region/country and then highlights the handful of poems from a few poets.
I like this because you get to read more than one thing from one person, giving better insight on how a poet from Poland or Senegal writes about. It also includes a great biography on each poet at the heading of their section.
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Poetry in translation is something that has always fascinated me. I mean, does the translator need to be a poet in order to produce another poem? Does the newly translated "poem" need to have all the literary bits and pieces that made the original famous?
This book has introduced me to some amazing poets, e.g. the Czech Miroslav Holub and the Spanish Angel Gonzalez; some of the others I've read or heard about elsewhere, such as Wislawa Szymborska and Yehuda Amichai. Occasionally it felt as thoug
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is the first anthology of poetry I ever read, so going through it again is both nostalgic and refreshing.

I'd echo some of the quibbles mentioned in past reviews; although I am not as well-versed with prominent translators, I can echo the sentiment that certain demographics were underrepresented, or represented by poets who wrote on stereotypical themes at times (female poets, for example). However, this remains one of my favorite anthologies of poetry to date -- I still go back fondly throu
Christina Maria
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's always difficult for me to review anthologies, in this case especially with a such a variety of styles from so many regions. All I can say is that it's a great introduction if you're looking for new poets or if you just want to get into poetry in general.

(I've seen some griping about the translations, which I don't feel qualified to comment on, but I'd be interested in seeing an anthology that preserved all original languages)
Matt Holloway
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Well, a Czech doctor named Miroslav Holub is a new hero of mine. Who knew the Eastern Bloc was so grim?! Distinguishing mark of this collection is the quality of the translations and translators -- Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, etc.
Emily Gamez
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: assigned-reading
This is my textbook for the Creative Writing course I'm taking and it's so good! There is a variety of poems and I find myself reading the unassigned ones anyway. Probably the best textbook I've had yet. ...more
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
a well put-together assortment of poetry from around the world in excellent translations. my only complaint is that i wish it were a bit less euro-centric, but the editors still did a pretty good job of balancing well- and lesser-known poets who are all writing extremely great poems.
Sarah Salem
May 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
i stole this book from ms. edmonds during ap english...its awesome.
Mar 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: women-writers
Really terrific browser.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Very uneven, which is understandable because of the breadth. Not the best anthology I've ever read but it does have some great poems. ...more
Mark Dickson
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
J D McClatchy has almost succeeded in The Vintage Book of replicating for the last fourth of the 20th century what Barstone did for the first half in Modern European poetry.

Jun 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
philipe jaccottet, swoon.
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a great go-to book for those days when you just want to pick up some poetry. The collection is quite good overall. It's become one of my favorite anthologies. ...more
Shelby Rollenhagen
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Although the anthology is great from a stylistic and technique perspective, a lot of the included works didn't suit my pallet. However, it is a good read for aspiring poets ...more
Joey Gamble
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A solid collection of some of the world's most brilliant recent poets. ...more
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A lovely collection. This introduced me to many poets I had not read from all over the world. Now I can look for their full volumes in bookstores.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I discovered my favorite poem in this book by Shu Ting called "Fairy Tales" ...more
Christy Seedorf
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
If your a fan of all cultures and poems then this is the book to read.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, poetry
I adore this collection.
Kate Mcphail
Christmas 2001
Nov 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Andrushka
I think it's amusing how "World Poetry" encompasses the entire world except the US, Canada, and UK. ...more
Feb 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
An essential piece for the poetry lover.
Chelsea Regoni
rated it it was amazing
Jan 26, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2020
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Dec 29, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Mar 20, 2015
Ugonma Iroaganachi
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Sep 07, 2016
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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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