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Gifting Poetry: Anthology Review

Second Tuesday Review

Because it’s the holiday–and gift-buying–season, we’ve assembled a brief review of anthologies that are perfect for bestowing on your poetry-minded friends. Anthologies are great bargain gifts–so many poets, for the price of just one book! While anthologies might not give the in-depth sound and feel of a poet’s voice, they do provide a lot of curating to offer some of the best poetry in their chosen topic. Here are a few we’ve enjoyed recently and that we’d like to enjoy soon. Provide a few of your favorites in the comments!

Poetry Anthologies

The Best American Poetry 2013

Scribner Poetry, 2013

Well, really any year would work, but it seems good to stay current, right? For the past two years, we’ve seen these debut with readings from the poets featured inside at the Decatur Book Festival. Like all the BAPs, this anthology features the seventy-five “best” poems published in literary magazines over the course of the year picked by a special guest editor, in this case, Denise Duhamel. But what we really enjoy about these anthologies is the information in the back–the notes and comments from the contributors. Who doesn’t enjoy a little extra insight into a poem?

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Word of Mouth: Poems Featured on NPR’s All Things Considered

Vintage Books, 2003

We are big suckers for listening to poetry. BUT we also really like the way a good poem is laid out on a page. Can you guess why we were drawn to Word of Mouth? Though this anthology is a bit older (ten years) than the previous, it remains an examination of contemporary poets and how they “harmonize on the racket and cacophony of our times,” as editor Catherine Bowman notes. Less writers are included, but the pro is that there are multiple pieces by most of the poets.

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The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink

Bloomsbury, 2012

Food + Poetry = Greatness. Kevin Young really nailed the pairing with this anthology of great poets talking about what’s really important to us all: our stomachs. But there’s so much more here than just food–family, gluttony, harvest, death, and of course alcohol. Yep, food poetry is way more broad than you thought, and the poets in this collection are, too: Natasha Tretheway, W.B. Yeats, Langston Hughes, Charles Baudelaire, among others.

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Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry

W.W. Norton, 2013

But let’s be real, any Norton anthology is something we want to read. This one’s just at the top of the list. It covers poets from the 1960s onwards, and according to the publisher, “It is a gathering of poems that demonstrate what happens when writers in a marginalized community collectively turn from dedicating their writing to political, social, and economic struggles, and instead devote themselves to the art of their poems and to the ideas they embody.”

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Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books

Minor Americana Press, 2014

Even though this one is coming out next year, we wanted to include it–because we’re that excited. Comic books and poetry–enough said.

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Java Monkey Speaks/[Insert Your Local Poetry Venue’s Anthology and/or Chapbooks]

Because it’s important to support the poets in your area. Just think how happy you’ll make the poet whose work you buy. If that’s not something in the holiday spirit, we don’t know what is.

Good luck with your holiday shopping!

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