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The Vintage Book Of Contemporary American Poetry
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The Vintage Book Of Contemporary American Poetry

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3.97  ·  Rating details ·  624 Ratings  ·  44 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, 592 pages
Published April 8th 2003 by Vintage (first published 1990)
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Eddie
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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?
Holly
Jul 01, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Addie Haughey
I was revisiting some old reads on my bookshelf recently and spent some time on this one. I found myself skipping most of the men and focusing in on the female poets, who are somewhat underrepresented in this collection.
Rachel Weeks
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We didn't read this book cover to cover for class, but we read enough that I'm counting it. Work the system.
M. M. Sana
Oct 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Will
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aeisele
Nov 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Manleigh
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.
Izlinda
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brian
Oct 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ashley Elliott
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Used this for a BYU course on Creative Writing, and it was really great! I read about half of the poetry, plus a little more than what was required from the course. So many great poets! And everybody should read "When Death Comes" by Mary Oliver.
Nathanimal
Mar 15, 2008 marked it as finish-later  ·  review of another edition
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.
Shelby Rollenhagen
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.
Sarah
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Linn K Htin
so many well-known poets were not on the list. :(
Rory
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karen
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A truly interesting and varied collection.
Tricia
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
CX Dillhunt
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
72 poets all worth spending time with...
Jenna
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
My absolute favorite anthology of American poetry. Everytime I open this book I find something beautiful and new.
Molly
Oct 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rachel
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, poetry
Typical adult poetry collection with a wide range represented.
JASON CUPP
basically, i have become obsessed with charles simic.
BillyBlog
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jen
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lauren
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Bishop, Theodore Roethke, James Wright, Sylvia Plath...plenty of my favorites all in one collection.
Takipsilim
Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Some of the most honest and practical verse one would come across, with all of the strengths and weaknesses that such a style brings.
Bonnie
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good text book, I'm enjoying the readings.
Heather Lynn
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-rutgers
For my Creative Writing Poetry class
Kevin
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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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More about J.D. McClatchy...