Holiday Time is Anthology Time: A Favorites List

Everybody loves a list, especially at the end of the year. In the spirit of rounding up, collecting, and recommending, I give you a list of poetry anthologies–a collection of collections, if you will.

First, a few of my favorite poetry anthologies in no particular order.

The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry and its international counterpart, The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, both edited by J.D. McClatchy: These are old standbys that I often use in poetry classes. Most of the big names of contemporary poetry are in there, but they do lack some newer and more experimental work.

Family_PortraitFamily Portrait: American Prose Poetry 1900-1950, edited by Robert Alexander (White Pine Press): This anthology of prose poetry examines the form as a Modernist genre and includes amazing prose poems that I hadn’t even seen before by poets like Amy Lowell and William Carlos Williams.

Postwar Polish Poetry, edited by Czeslaw Milosz: I discovered this one in a poetry course this year, and while it’s pretty specific, it’s definitely worth reading for the richness and variety of postwar Polish poetry.


Another and Another: An Anthology From the Grind Daily Writing Series, edited by Matthew Olzmann and Ross White (Bull City Press): This comes out of a daily writing series, which makes the poems that much more impressive and inspiring.

Great Poems by American Women, edited by Susan L. Rattiner (Dover Thrift): Not a  not contemporary anthology, but this spans several centuries and features some classics (Emily Dickinson, Phillis Wheatley) as well as many, many women poets that have been somewhat overlooked by Norton and other anthologies.

hybridAmerican Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry, edited by Cole Swenson and David St. John: This is a great supplement to the Vintage and other traditional anthologies because it presents a wide view of the more experimental side of contemporary poetry.

narrative (dis)continuities, edited by Kristina Marie Darling: an e-anthology (go read it for free right now!) that just came out on ‘prose experiments by younger writers.’ While there certainly are (what I would call) prose poems included, this is not all poetry, but it’s full of really interesting and formally innovative work.


The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, edited by Alan Kaufman and S.A. Griffin: If you’re hoping to go beyond Norton and Best American Poetry, this is great. It features poems from experimental writers like Alice Notley and Anne Waldman, as well as work from less ‘academic’ poets and musicians like Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Tupac Shakur.

There are also a few great-looking anthologies out there that I haven’t quite gotten to yet. These will be definitely be on my wish list this year.

Lit from Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James Books, edited by Anne Marie Macari and Carey Salerno

A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, edited by Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz (U of Akron Press)

ApocalypseNowCoverApocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, edited by Alexander Lumans and Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum (Upper Rubber Boot Books)

Part of my anthology enthusiasm this year is due to my own inclusion in several new anthologies:

I have a poem in Best New Poets 2013, edited by Brenda Shaughnessy and Jazzy Danziger (U of Virginia Press). This anthology series publishes 50 emerging poets every year.


Poetry to the People, edited by Abby Wendle and Scott Gregory (This Land Press) also features a poem of mine. This anthology is focused on life and culture ‘in the middle of the country.’

And finally, The Body Electric, edited by Aimee Herman features one of my poems. This one pays homage to Whitman through work engaged with conceptions of self and the body.


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