The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries
“Reginald Shepherd has gathered here a generous and remarkable selection of work. In theory and practice, these poets are in transit between the dictionary and the sea, with a love of the sound and texture and history of individual words taken up under concerns of great depth and significance. A considered sense of form, a flexible music in the line, a persistent memory of myth, and a sense of wonder regarding nature thread throughout these works. This anthology testifies that poems are still capable of making absent things present.”—Susan Stewart, Princeton University, author of Columbarium and Poetry and the Fate of the Senses
This landmark collection features emerging poets who combine a commitment to innovation and experimentation with a love for the lyric tradition, whose poetry transcends “mainstream” and avant-garde practice to create new and exciting poetic territories.
These new American poetries for the twenty-first century and beyond reach back toward the Modernists and even earlier lyric poetries (such as those of Wyatt, Donne, Keats, and Dickinson) and, simultaneously, reach forward to poetic possibilities not yet realized or even imagined. Most of the poets included here have won publication prizes, awards, and fellowships, and some have had their work anthologized. Others are at earlier stages of recognition but have published in major journals. All are writing highly accomplished work that will soon find a wider audience.
One distinguishing feature of this collection is the inclusion of substantial artistic statements from each contributor, in which the poets discuss their works, their influences, their aims, and their poetics. These statements are invaluable in giving readers a point of entry to the poems and can contribute to the development of a conversation among American poets that transcends questions of “craft” to address fundamental issues of poetry as an artistic practice.
Shepherd, a leading poet, essayist, and literary critic, is uniquely situated to bring us this important collection: young enough to feel the spirit of newer poets and yet established enough to bring a more experienced eye and a wider view to this groundbreaking project. The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries highlights some of the most exciting, vital, and productive tendencies in contemporary American poetry and will be a significant milestone for students and teachers of poetry as well as for the general reader.
D. A. Powell
Lawrence L. White