Adrienne's Reviews > The Oxford Book of American Poetry

The Oxford Book of American Poetry by David Lehman
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Oct 26, 2010

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Read in October, 2010

When an anthology is over 1,000 pages and almost 800 of those are only the 20th century, I wonder what happened to the rest of America's literary tradition. Most of the selections here are great and deserve to be included, but a lot has been left out (like most of the 1800s) and some included poets' works could be reduced. For example, it is a bit stunning, as Dana Gioia has pointed out, that Longfellow is/was the most popular American poet of all time, and he only gets a few pages in anthologies. But poets like to separate their "serious" poetry from popular poetry. Just because a movement of poetry is formulaic and predictable doesn't mean it should be ignored.

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