A review of The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 1.
Norton is a well-respected name in literature and poetry anthologies. The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry is a comprhensive two volume set that includes some of the best poets and poetry in the 19th and 20th centuries. This review focuses on volume one, Modern Poetry.
When you think of modern poetry writers, many come to mind including Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Langston Hughes. All of these poets are included in this anthology, as well as many others. The book not only includes a wide array of poetry, but has in it many other writings of interest to diehard poetry fans and teachers. The first volume provides a Poetics section that includes the letters of Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins, prefaces to many poetry books of authors included in the volume and Blast Manifesto. The Blast Manifesto, printed in its entirety, is one of the most interesting highlights in this book.
Readers who are looking for a slice of modern poetry will enjoy reading this book, but for those that want to delve deeper into individual poets, this is only a start. Poetry, much like art, is either loved or hated. Some of my personal favorite poets, such as Dorothy Parker, are not as well represented as some other poets that have more name recognition than a deep writing talent. But the Norton Anthology is a great place to start when you are not yet sure who your favorite poet is, but want to find out.