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Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry

Volume 2

Second Edition

Edited by Cary Nelson

28 August 2014

ISBN: 9780199920730

864 pages

Price: £40.99



Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry contains poems by over 115 American poets, including many who have not been anthologized before. This collection is the first to review the twentieth century comprehensively, and is the first anthology to give full treatment to American long poems and poem sequences.

  • Includes many poets who have not been anthologized before
  • Offers the most detailed annotations available in an anthology of this type

About the Author(s)

Edited by Cary Nelson, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Cary Nelson is Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author or editor of 28 books, including Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945 (1989), which helped revolutionize the study of American poetry.

Table of Contents

    Topical Table of Contents
    —-Fallen Leaves
    —-Hills of Doon
    —-Wind in Mexico
    CHARLES HENRI FORD (1910-2002)
    —-Flag of Ecstasy
    —-Pastoral for Pavlik
    CHARLES OLSON (1910-1970)
    —-Variations Done for Gerald Van De Wiele
    —-Maximus, to himself
    —-Cole's Island
    ELIZABETH BISHOP (1911-1979)
    —-The Fish
    —-The Man-Moth
    —-At the Fishhouses
    —-Filling Station
    —-Questions of Travel
    —-The Armadillo
    —-In the Waiting Room
    —-Pink Dog
    —-Crusoe in England
    —-One Art
    WILLIAM EVERSON (1912-1994)
    —-The Making of the Cross
    —-A Canticle to the Waterbirds
    TILLIE LERNER OLSEN (1912-2007)
    —-I Want You Women Up North To Know
    ROBERT HAYDEN (1913-1980)
    —-Middle Passage
    —-Runagate Runagate
    —-A Letter from Phillis Wheatley
    —-Those Winter Sundays
    —-Night, Death, Mississippi
    —-Aunt Jemima of the Ocean Waves
    —-from Elegies for Paradise Valley
    —-No. 1
    —-The Dogwood Trees
    —-O Daedalus, Fly Away Home
    WELDON KEES (1914-1955)
    —-June 1940
    —-Travels in North America
    RANDALL JARRELL (1914-1965)
    —-The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
    —-A Front
    —-Second Air Force
    —-Shiho Okamoto (Being arrested—)
    —-Sadayo Taniguchi (Hand-cuffed and taken away)
    —-Kyotaro Komuro (Lingering summer heat—)
    —-Taro Katay, (Shouldering)
    —-Komuro (Passed guard tower)
    —-Okamoto (In the shade of summer sun)
    —-Shonan Suzuki (Withered grass on ground)
    —-Hakuro Wada (Young grass red and shriveled)
    —-Hyakuissei Okamoto (Dandelion has bloomed)
    —-Shizuku Uyemaruko (On certain days)
    —-Wada (Released seagull)
    —-Ryokuin Matsui (Sprinkling water outside)
    —-Komuro (Want to be with children)
    —-Wada (Even the croaking of frogs)
    —-Hangetsu Tsunekawa (Sentry at main gate)
    —-Shokoshi Saga (Thin shadow of tule reed)
    —-Tokuji Hirai (Looking at summer moon)
    —-Suzuki (Moon shadows on internment camp)
    —-Hirai (Early moon has set)
    —-Suiko Matsushita (Rain shower from mountain)
    —-Kyokusui (Thorns of the iron fence)
    —-Neiji Ozawa (Desert rain falling)
    —-Senbinshi Takaoka (Frosty morning)
    —-Oshio (Stepping through snow)
    —-Jyosha Yamada (Black clouds instantly shroud)
    —-Takaoka (Winter wind)
    —-Hekisamei Matsuda (Doll without a head)
    —-Sei Sagara (Suddenly awakened)
    —-Hyakuissei Okamoto (Jeep patrolling slowly)
    —-Shizuku Uyemaruko (Grieving within)
    —-Okamoto (In the sage brush)
    —-Matsushita (Oh shells—)
    JOHN BERRYMAN (1914-1972)
    —-from The Dream Songs
    —-1 Huffy Henry
    —-4 Filling her compact & delicious body
    —-5 Henry sats
    —-14 Life, friends
    —-22 Of 1826
    —-29 There sat down, once
    —-40 I'm scared a lonely
    —-45 He stared at ruin
    —-46 I am, outside
    —-55 Peter's not friendly
    —-76 Henry's Confession
    —-382 At Henry's bier
    —-384 The marker slants
    WILLIAM STAFFORD (1914-1993)
    —-Traveling Through the Dark
    —-At the Bomb Testing Site
    —-At the Un-National Monument along the Canadian Border
    —-The Indian Cave Jerry Ramsey Found
    DUDLEY RANDALL (1914-2000)
    —-Ballad of Birmingham
    —-A Different Image
    JOY DAVIDMAN (1915-1960)
    —-This Woman
    —-For The Nazis
    MARGARET WALKER (1915-1998)
    —-For My People
    RUTH STONE (1915-2011)
    —-In an Iridescent Time
    —-I Have Three Daughters
    —-American Milk
    —-From the Arboretum
    —-Drought in the Lower Fields
    —-Some Things You'll Need to Know/ Before You Join the Union
    THOMAS McGRATH (1916-1990)
    —-Deep South
    —-Crash Report
    —-First Book of Genesis According to the Diplomats
    —-Ars Poetica: Or: Who Lives in the Ivory Tower?
    —-A Little Song About Charity
    —-Against the False Magicians
    —-After the Beat Generation
    —-Ode for the American Dead in Asia
    —-Poem at the Winter Solstice
    ROBERT LOWELL (1917-1977)
    —-Inauguration Day: January 1953
    —-A Mad Negro Soldier Confined at Munich
    —-Commander Lowell
    —-"To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage"
    —-Man and Wife
    —-Memories of West Street and Lepke
    —-Skunk Hour
    —-For the Union Dead
    —-The Mouth of the Hudson
    —-July in Washington
    —-The March I
    —-The March II
    —-Central Park
    GWENDOLYN BROOKS (1917-2000)
    —-A song in the front yard
    —-Of De Witt Williams on his way to Lincoln Cemetery
    —-Gay Chaps at the Bar
    —-We Real Cool
    —-The Ballad of Rudolph Reed
    —-The Blackstone Rangers
    —-Malcolm X
    —-Young Afrikans
    —-The Boy Died in My Alley
    —-To Those of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals
    —-To the Diaspora
    WILLIAM BRONK (1918-1999)
    —-At Tikal
    —-The Mayan Glyphs Unread
    —-I Thought It Was Harry
    —-Where It Ends
    —-Left Alone
    ROBERT DUNCAN (1919-1988)
    —-Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow
    —-My Mother Would Be a Falconress
    —-The Torso (Passages 18)
    —-Up Rising (Passages 25)
    BARBARA GUEST (1920-2006)
    —-from Quilts
    ———"Couch of Space"
    —-Twilight Polka Dots
    AARON KRAMER (1921-1997)
    —-Denmark Vesey
    RICHARD WILBUR (b. 1921)
    —-The Pardon
    —-A Baroque Wall-Fountain in the Villa Sciarra
    —-Love Calls Us to the Things of This World
    —-Advice to a Prophet
    —-Children of Darkness
    MONA VAN DUYN (1921-2004)
    —-Toward a Definition of Marriage
    JACK KEROUAC (1922-1969)
    —-The Perfect Love of Mind Essence
    —- Haiku
    JAMES DICKEY (1923-1997)
    —-The Sheep Child
    DENISE LEVERTOV (1923-1997)
    —-The Ache of Marriage
    —-Olga Poems
    —-What Were They Like?
    —-Life at War
    ANTHONY HECHT (1923-2004)
    —-A Hill
    —-"More Light! More Light!"
    —-The Book of Yolek
    BOB KAUFMAN (1925-1986)
    —-The Biggest Fisherman
    —-Crootey Songo
    —-No More Jazz at Alcatraz
    —-from Jail Poems, Nos. 1-3
    MAXINE KUMIN (b. 1925)
    —-Voices from Kansas
    —-Pantoum, With Swan
    —-With William Meredith in Bulgaria
    DONALD JUSTICE (1925-2004)
    —-An Old Fashioned Devil
    —-The Wall
    —-Early Poems
    PAUL BLACKBURN (1926-1971)
    —-At the Crossroad
    —-At the Well
    FRANK O'HARA (1926-1966)
    —-from Alma
    —-Poem (The eager note on my door)
    —-A Step Away From Them
    —-The Day Lady Died
    —-Why I Am Not a Painter
    —-A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island
    —-On Seeing Larry Rivers' Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art
    —-Thinking of James Dean
    JAMES MERRILL (1926-1995)
    —-An Urban Convalescence
    —-The Broken Home
    —-Willowware Cup
    —-Lost in Translation
    ALLEN GINSBERG (1926-1997)
    —-Love Poem on Theme By Whitman
    —-A Supermarket in California
    —-Who to Be Kind To
    —-Rain-wet asphalt heat, garbage curbed cans overflowing
    —-Father Death Blues
    ROBERT CREELEY (1926-2005)
    —-After Lorca
    —-I Know a Man
    —-The Flower
    —-For Love
    ROBERT BLY (b. 1926)
    —-Counting Small-Boned Bodies
    —-Hearing Gary Snyder Read
    A.R. AMMONS (1926-2001)
    —-Corsons Inlet
    —-Gravelly Run
    —-Coon Song
    JAMES WRIGHT (1927-1980)
    —-Saint Judas
    —-Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
    —-Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
    —-A Blessing
    —-A Centenary Ode: Inscribed to Little Crow, Leader of the Sioux Rebellion in Minnesota, 1862
    JOHN ASHBERY (b. 1927)
    —-"They Dream Only of America"
    —-Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape
    —-Mixed Feelings
    —-Street Musicians
    —-Daffy Duck in Hollywood
    —-Paradoxes and Oxymorons
    —-The Problem of Anxiety
    —-Dull Mauve
    —-A Kind of Chill
    —-Spooks Run Wild
    —-Marine Shadow
    —-Words to That Effect
    GALWAY KINNELL (b. 1927)
    —-The Porcupine
    —-The Bear
    —-The Vow
    W.S. MERWIN (b. 1927)
    —-The Drunk in the Furnace
    —-It Is March
    —-The Room
    —-December Among the Vanished
    —-For the Anniversary of My Death
    —-When The War Is Over
    —-The Asians Dying
    —-For a Coming Extinction
    —-Looking For Mushrooms at Sunrise
    —-The Gardens of Zuni
    —-The Horse
    —-Sun and Rain
    —-The Name of the Air
    —-Far Along in the Story
    —-Worn Words
    ANNE SEXTON (1928-1974)
    —-Her Kind
    —-The Truth the Dead Know
    —-And One for My Dame
    —-Jesus Asleep
    —-Jesus Raises up the Harlot
    —-The Room of My Life
    PHILIP LEVINE (b. 1928)
    —-For Fran
    —-The Horse
    —-Animals Are Passing From Our Lives
    —-Belle Isle, 1949
    —-They Feed They Lion
    —-Francisco, I'll Bring You Red Carnations
    —-Fear and Fame
    —-On the Meeting of García Lorca and Hart Crane
    ADRIENNE RICH (1929-2012)
    —-Aunt Jennifer's Tigers
    —-From Shooting Script
    —-Trying to Talk With a Man
    —-Diving into the Wreck
    —-Twenty-One Love Poems
    —-from An Atlas of the Difficult World
    ———XIII. (Dedications) I know you are reading this poem
    —-Behind the Motel
    DEREK WALCOTT (b. 1930)
    —-A Far Cry from Africa
    —-The Fortunate Traveller
    —-from Omeros
    ———Book One, Chapter 1
    GARY SYNDER (b. 1930)
    —-Beneath My Hand and Eye the Distant Hills. Your Body
    —-I Went Into the Maverick Bar
    —-Straight-Creek—Great Burn
    —-Axe Handles
    GREGORY CORSO (1930-2001)
    ETHERIDGE KNIGHT (1931-1991)
    —-Haiku 1, 4, 9
    —-Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane
    —-The Idea of Ancestry
    —-A Poem for Myself
    —-For Malcolm, a Year After
    —-Television Speaks
    —-For Black Poets Who Think of Suicide
    SYLVIA PLATH (1932-1963)
    —-The Colossus
    —-The Bee Meeting
    —-The Arrival of the Bee Box
    —-The Swarm
    —-Lady Lazarus
    HENRY DUMAS (1934-1968)
    —-Son of Msippi
    —-Kef 24
    —-Kef 16
    —-Knees of a Natural Man
    —-Low Down Dog Blues
    —-Black Star Line
    AMIRI BARAKA (Leroi Jones) (b. 1934)
    —-Black Art
    —-When We'll Worship Jesus
    N. SCOTT MOMADAY (b. 1934)
    —-Plainview: 3
    —-Buteo Regalis
    —-Crows in a Winter Composition
    —-Carriers of the Dream Wheel
    —-Rings of Bone
    —-The Stalker
    —- from The Colors of Night
    —-The Burning
    —-December 29, 1890
    —-The Shield That Came Back
    —-The Snow Mare
    —-To an Aged Bear
    —-A Benign Self-Portrait
    MARK STRAND (b. 1934)
    —-The Prediction
    —-Where Are the Waters of Childhood?
    AUDRE LORDE (1934-1992)
    —-From Coal
    —-Sisters in Arms
    KATHLEEN FRASER (b. 1935)
    —-In Commemoration of the Visit of Foreign Commercial Representatives to Japan, 1947
    CHARLES WRIGHT (b. 1935)
    —-Spider Crystal Ascension
    —-Clear Night
    —-Homage to Paul Cézanne
    MARY OLIVER (b. 1935)
    —-Morning Walk
    —-At Great Pond
    —-Black Snake This Time
    JAYNE CORTEZ (1936-2012)
    —-I Am New York City
    —-Do You Think
    LUCILLE CLIFTON (1936-2010)
    —-I Am Accused of Tending To the Past
    —-At the cemetery, Walnut grove plantation, South Carolina, 1989
    —-The Message of Crazy Horse
    —-Poem to My Uterus
    —-To My Last Period
    SUSAN HOWE (b. 1937)
    —-From Articulation of Sound Forms in Time:
    —-The Falls Fight
    —-Hope Atherton's Wanderings
    MICHAEL S. HARPER (b. 1938)
    —-Song: I Want a Witness
    —-Blue Ruth: America
    —-Brother John
    —-American History
    —-We Assume: On the Death of Our Son, Reuben Masai Harper
    —-Reuben, Reuben
    —-Dear John, Dear Coltrane
    ISHMAEL REED (b. 1938)
    —-I am a Cowboy in the Boat of Ra
    —-Oakland Blues
    LAWSON FUSAO INADA (b. 1938)
    —- Listening Images
    ROBERT PINSKY (b. 1940)
    —-The Unseen
    —-Veni, Creator Spiritus
    WELTON SMITH (1940-2006)
    WILLIAM HEYEN (b. 1940)
    —-from Crazy Horse in Stillness:
    —-White & Gold
    —-One World
    —-Bone & Velvet
    —-The Count
    —-Resolve, 1876
    —-The Slowing
    —-The Paper It's Written On
    —-The Tooth
    —-Wakan Tanka
    JUDY GRAHN (b. 1940)
    —-I Have Come to Claim Marilyn Monroe's Body
    —-Vietnamese Woman Speaking to an American Soldier
    —-The Woman Whose Head is On Fire
    CAROLYN M. RODGERS (1941-2010)
    —-How I Got Ovah
    —-And When the Revolution Came
    —-Mama's God
    ROBERT HASS (b. 1941)
    —-Rusia En 1931
    —-A Story About the Body
    —-Forty Something
    LYN HEJINIAN (b. 1941)
    —-from My Life
    —-A pause, a rose, Something on paper
    —-from The Distance
    SHARON OLDS (b. 1942)
    —-The Pope's Penis
    —-Photograph of the Girl
    —-Things That Are Worse Than Death
    —-The Waiting
    —-His Father's Cadaver
    —-Known to Be Left
    —-Left-Wife Goose
    LOUISE GLÜCK (b. 1943)
    —-The Drowned Children
    —-Vespers (You thought we didn't know)
    —-Vespers (More than you love me, very possibly)
    —-The Wild Iris
    —-from Meadowlands:
    —-Penelope's Song
    —-Quiet Evening
    —-Parable of the King
    —-Parable of the Hostages
    —-Circe's Power
    —-Circe's Grief
    —-Telemachus' Burden
    —-Before the Storm
    —-A Village Life
    MICHAEL PALMER (b. 1943)
    —-Song of the Round Man
    —-All those words
    —-I Have Answers to All of Your Questions
    —-Fifth Prose
    PAUL VIOLI (1944-2011)
    —-A Moveable Snack
    THOMAS JAMES (1946-1974)
    —-Mummy of a Lady Named Jemutesonekh XXI Dynasty
    —-Dissecting a Pig
    RON SILLIMAN (b. 1946)
    —-from Ketjak
    —-from Sunset Debris
    —-The Chinese Notebook
    —-from Toner
    ADRIAN C. LOUIS (b. 1946)
    —-Dust World
    —-Without Words
    —-Coyote Night
    —-How Verdell and Dr. Zhivago Disassembled the Soviet Union
    —-Wanbli Gleska Win
    —-Looking for Judas
    —-A Colossal American Copulation
    —-Petroglyphs of Serena
    —-Jesus Finds His Ghost Shirt
    YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA (b. 1947)
    —-Tu Do Street
    —-The Dog Act
    —-The Nazi Doll
    —-Fog Galleon
    Ai (1947-2010)
    —-The Root Eater
    —-Twenty-Year Marriage
    —-The German Army, Russia, 1943
    —-The Testimony of J. Robert Oppenheimer
    WENDY ROSE (b. 1948)
    TIMOTHY STEELE (b. 1948)
    —-Daybreak, Benedict Canyon
    —-April 27, 1937
    ALBERT GOLDBARTH (b. 1948)
    —-Coinages: A Fairy Tale
    C. D. WRIGHT (b. 1949)
    —-Obedience of the Corpse
    —-from Just Whistle:
    —-Song of the Gourd
    —-From Cooling Time:
    —-Only the crossing counts
    —-Until words turn to moss
    —-What Would Oppen Say,
    JESSICA HAGEDORN (b. 1949)
    —-Ming the Merciless
    —-from Foreign Body Sensation
    —-The Kiwi Bird in the Kiwi Tree
    —-Riddle of the Fat Faced Man
    —-The Boy Soprano
    JORIE GRAHAM (b. 1950)
    —-From the New World
    RAY A. YOUNG BEAR (b. 1950)
    —-In Viewpoint: Poem for 14 Catfish and The Town of Tama, Iowa
    —-It is the Fish-faced Boy Who Struggles
    CAROLYN FORCHÉ (b. 1950)
    —-The Colonel
    —-The Museum of Stones
    —-The Lightkeeper
    —-Morning on the Island
    ANDREW HUDGINS (b. 1951)
    —-At Chancellorsville: The Battle of the Wilderness
    —-The Summer of the Drought
    —-He Imagines His Wife Dead
    —-Ancestral Graves, Kahuku
    —-Kubota to Miguel Hernandez in Heaven, Leupp, Arizona, 1942
    RITA DOVE (b. 1952)
    —-Receiving the Stigmata
    —-Mi Tío Baca El Poeta De Socorro
    —-The Painters
    ALBERTO RÍOS (b. 1952)
    —-Madre Sofía
    —-What Happened to Me
    ANITA ENDREZZE (b. 1952)
    —-Return of the Wolves
    —-Birdwatching at Fan Lake
    —-La Morena and Her Beehive Hairdo
    ANA CASTILLO (b. 1953)
    —-Seduced by Natassja Kinski
    —-Hummingbird Heart
    MARK DOTY (b. 1953)
    —-Homo Will Not Inherit
    —-The Embrace
    HARRYETTE MULLEN (b. 1953)
    —-from Trimmings
    —-from S*PeRM**K*T
    LOUISE ERDRICH (b. 1954)
    —-Indian Boarding School: The Runaways
    —-Dear John Wayne
    —-The Fence
    —-Refugee Ship
    —-Poema para los Californios Muertos
    SANDRA CISNEROS (b. 1954)
    —-Little Clown, My Heart
    THYLIAS MOSS (b. 1954)
    —-There Will Be Animals
    —-The Lynching
    —-Interpretation of a Poem by Frost
    PATRICIA SMITH (b. 1955)
    —-Blond White Women
    —-From Blood Dazzler:
    —-from Tankas
    —-(Never has there been)
    —-(Go, they said. Go. Go.)
    —-Man on the TV Say
    —-Company's Coming
    —-Voodoo II: Money
    —-Voodoo V: Enemy Be Gone
    —-from What to Tweak
    —-(Stifle the Stinking, shut down the cameras)
    —-Back Home
    —-Motown Crown
    MARILYN CHIN (b. 1955)
    —-How I Got That Name
    JANICE N. HARRINGTON (b. 1956)
    —-If She Had Lived
    SESSHU FOSTER (b. 1957)
    —-We're caffeinated by rain inside concrete underpasses
    —-You'll be fucked up
    —-Look and look again, will he glance up all of a sudden
    —-I'm always grateful no one hears this terrible racket
    —-The Japanese man would not appear riding a horse
    —-Life Magazine, December, 1941
    —-I try to pee, but I can't
    —-Game 83
    LI-YOUNG LEE (b. 1957)
    —-Little Father
    MARTíN ESPADA (b. 1957)
    —-Revolutionary Spanish Lesson
    —-The New Bathroom Policy at English High School
    —-Fidel in Ohio
    —-Federico's Ghost
    —-The Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Stomp
    —-Imagine the Angels Of Bread
    —-Blues for the Soldiers Who Told You
    —-The Trouble Ball
    —-Hard-Handed Men of Athens
    —-The Right Foot of Juan de Onate
    ATSURO RILEY (b. 1960)
    —-From Romey's Order
    CLAUDIA RANKINE (b. 1963)
    —-from Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric
    —-pp. 7, 23, 47-48, 71, 82-83, 113
    D. A. POWELL (b. 1963)
    —-[the cocktail hour finally arrives: whether ending a day at the office]
    —-[dogs and boys can treat you like trash. And dogs do love trash]
    —-[came a voice in my gullet: rise up and feast. thunderous]
    HEID E. ERDRICH (b. 1963)
    —-True Myth
    —-The Theft Outright
    —-Some Elsie
    —-Native Ground
    SHERMAN ALEXIE (b. 1966)
    —-Indian Boy Love Song (#2)
    —-from The Native American Broadcasting System: Evolution
    —-Scalp Dance by Spokane Indians
    —-How to Write the Great American Indian Novel
    RICHARD SIKEN (b. 1967)
    —-Visible World
    —-A Primer for the Small Weird Loves
    —-Serenade to Leonor
    —-We Real Cool
    —-Kraj Majales
    —-Consulting I Ching Smoking Pot Listening to the Fugs Sing Blake
    William Everson
    —-A Canticle to the Waterbirds
    —-The Form Falls in On Itself
    W. S. MERWIN
    —-When The War is Over
    —-O Mother Gaia
    —-A Difference
    Index of Poem Titles
    Index of Poets
    About the Editor


"The Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry is an impressive collection, ranging in style - from traditional to experimental-and in content-from private to public concerns. It provides poetic sustenance for a variety of student hungers." - Rhonda Pettit, University of Cincinnati