I think, if one wants a quick (so, to speak) lesson in contemporary poetics, one needs to own the following anthologies.  (And this is in no particular order)

North America doesn’t live a cultural vacuum.  This hefty gives a hefty cross section of current poetry in Europe.  Sure, it’s not definative, but what continent wide anthology could be?

Modernism has come and gone.  So has post-modernism, to an extent.  We arn’t exactly at “post-human” poetics yet, and hopefully, we never will be.  But this book tends to showcase what is essentially, avant garde poetry meets contemporary American poetry.    It’ tries to eke out a middle ground, much the way a journal like FENCE has often tried to.

This book is  a classic.  There’s no other way of putting it.  As an anthology of political poetry, it has no equal.  As a book of “baring witness” through poetry, it still has no equal.  On a more basic level, it’s also international in scope, covering the major events of the 20th century.  If you’re at a book store confronted with all three books mentioned, buy this one first.

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