Click Image to Visit the Pecan Grove Press Web Page for Poetry from Paradise Valley


Poetry From Paradise Valley

Pecan Grove Press has released an anthology of poems, a sampling of works published in Valparaiso Poetry Review during its first decade, from the original 1999-2000 volume to the 2009-2010 volume.

Poetry from Paradise Valley includes a stellar roster of 50 poets. Among the contributors are a former Poet Laureate of the United States, a winner of the Griffin International Prize, two Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Book Award winners, two National Book Critics Circle winners, six finalists for the National Book Award, four finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and a few dozen recipients of other honors, such as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, etc.

Readers are encouraged to visit the Poetry from Paradise Valley page at the publisher's web site, where ordering information about the book can be found.

Best Books of Indiana 2011: Finalist. Judges' Citation: "Poetry from Paradise Valley is an excellent anthology that features world-class poetry, including the work of many artists from the Midwest, such as Jared Carter, Annie Finch, David Baker, and Allison Joseph. It’s an eclectic and always interesting collection where poems on similar themes flow into each other. It showcases the highest caliber of U. S. poetry."
—Indiana Center for the Book, Indiana State Library

Saturday, September 26, 2009

T.S. Eliot: Poets and Anthologies

T.S. Eliot was born on this date (Sept. 26) in 1888. During his career, Eliot actively controlled the appearance of his poetry, always conscious of the value in strategically placing his works with certain journals and carefully manipulating their appearance in anthologies. Indeed, when Harriet Monroe, editor at Poetry, requested permission in 1916 to reprint in an anthology “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” which had first appeared in the journal’s pages in 1915, Eliot declined her request. His poem would have been a most appropriate contribution to Monroe’s gathering of poems, The New Poetry: An Anthology, which she co-edited with Alice Corbin Henderson for publication in 1917. However, Eliot wrote a letter to Monroe on March 27, 1916, explaining his reluctance. He informed her that the poem already had appeared in an anthology published in London, and he stated: “I really feel that I should be making a mistake in reprinting it again in an anthology before it appears in a book.” Eliot’s initial book of poems, Prufrock and Other Observations, was published in 1917.

Following a further inquiry by Harriet Monroe, Eliot replied in a letter (dated June 7, 1916) that he still would not release “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” for her anthology: “As for ‘Prufrock’: you see, I shall probably have a small volume coming out just about the same time as your anthology, in the autumn, in New York. If it were much before or much after I should probably be quite glad to enter ‘Prufrock’ in both, but it seems to me that to synchronise would be inadvisable.” Eliot instead offered Monroe a different poem, “Portrait of a Lady,” as a substitute for her anthology, which she accepted.

On another occasion, when reading a review in The Times Literary Supplement, Eliot discovered poems of his had been included in an anthology (Modern American Poetry, edited by Louis Untermeyer) apparently without his permission. Eliot responded by sending a letter to the editor of the newspaper, and it appeared in the November 24, 1921 issue of The Times Literary Supplement, under the heading “Poets and Anthologies,” a year before the publication of The Waste Land. In his statement, Eliot declared the following, perhaps referring to Robert Graves as the poet “whose name is much more widely known”:

“I should like to remark that I should have much preferred not being included in this anthology. On previous occasions, when compilers of such works have asked my consent, there have always been personal reasons for my willing compliance: here there would have been none.

“Some months ago I discussed the general question of anthologies with a poet (of a different school and tradition from mine) whose name is much more widely known than mine is. We agreed that the work of any poet who has already published a book of verse is likely to be more damaged than aided by anthologies. I hope that other writers may be encouraged to express their opinions.”

Eliot’s comments concerning his views on anthologies seem even more interesting today as his poems are continually introduced to readers—especially on class reading lists, semester after semester, distributed to students like those in my Twentieth Century Poetry course—through their inclusion in massive anthologies. Certainly, any author would prefer his or her work to be encountered within the original framework of the poet’s own volume, individually designed as a primary source, rather than possibly diluted by its presence among a thousand pages packed with the distractions of poems by more than one hundred fellow poets.

Nevertheless, the anthology allows readers to easily and more economically become familiar with an abundance of poets, and its benefits include the opportunity for readers to determine a poet’s place, chronologically and contextually, among others who might be regarded as contemporaries or peers. Ideally, the poetry anthology serves as a perfect sampler from which readers select an array of contributors for further investigation in the poets’ individual collections of work.

Furthermore, one wonders how the issue of exposure through anthology publication has been altered nowadays by the widespread availability of poems online at websites like the Academy of American Poets or, ironically, the Poetry Foundation (publisher of Poetry magazine), which includes “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” among its roster of T.S. Eliot’s poems.


Lyle Daggett said...

For me, one of the drawbacks of many anthologies -- especially those that try to include a sampling of work by large number and wide range of poets -- is that frequently the poets will be represented by the same few poems that have appeared previously in numerous other anthologies over the years.

So that for the casual reader, a poet's work will seem to be encapsuled in the same three or four or half dozen poems, and a reader may develop a false or limited impression of the poet's overall work.

I've found that several poets whose work I've come to appreciate much have "suffered" from the limitations of anthologies -- among them, Carl Sandburg, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and William Carlos Williams, to name a few.

In the cases of Hughes, Brooks, and Williams, poems of theirs that are among the most commonly included in anthologies were originally part of linked sequences: for example, Brooks's poem "We real cool...", and William's "So much depends upon..." (the "red wheelbarrow" poem) which was part of his early poem-and-prose sequence "Spring and All."

I don't have a problem with anthologies per se, though I've felt that many anthology editors seem to exhibit a certain laziness, or perhaps just inexperience, -- or perhaps simple careerist ambition -- in their selection of work.

The "general" anthology of modern American poetry that remains the one I like best (even with its limitations, and even though it was published decades ago by now) is Hayden Carruth's The Voice That Is Great Within Us.

Keith Wilson said...

I am one of those who was affected by William Carlos Williams' damaged image, as a direct result of anthologies.

Having now read much more of his work, it's interesting to find that all his poems are not 10-20 words long.