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Contemporary American Poetry 8th Edition

A. Poulin, Jr., Michael Waters

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2001, 1996, 1991
  • 720 Pages


This highly respected anthology presents the works of 70 poets who have shaped the contours and direction of mainstream American poetry from 1960 to the present. Designed to provide a rich reading experience for both undergrad and graduate courses, more than 500 selections illustrate the variety and vitality of American poetry over the last few decades. For each poet, the collection features a generous sampling of their work along with a photo, biographical sketches, and bibliographies.

A. Poulin, Jr., Late of State University of New York, College at Brockport

A. Poulin, Jr., editor of the first six editions of Contemporary American Poetry, died in June, 1996.

Michael Waters, Salisbury University

Michael Waters (Ph.D., Ohio University) teaches at Salisbury University in Maryland and in the New England College MFA Program. A widely-respected poet, he has published eight full-length volumes, and his work has appeared in numerous journals, including Poetry, American Poetry Review, Yale Review, and Kenyon Review. The recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, several Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and three Pushcart Prizes, he has been a resident fellow at Yaddo, MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (Ireland), Le Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland), and the St. James Cavalier Centre (Malta). He has read his poems at universities both here and abroad, and has been Visiting Professor of American Literature at the University of Athens, Greece, Banister Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College, Stadler Poet-in-Residence at Bucknell University, and Distinguished Poet-in-Residence at Wichita State University.
  • The anthology includes the poetry of seven new writers (Billy Collins, Stephen Dunn, Louise Erdrich, Michael Palmer, Dave Smith, Jean Valentine, and C.D. Wright) as well as that of two popular, previously featured writers (Mary Oliver and Theodore Roethke).
  • Selections from poets in the previous edition, several of which have not yet published elsewhere, appear throughout the book to engage students with the most current poetic work.
  • The anthology is alphabetically organized by poet to avoid ranking or pigeon-holing writers into schools or literary movements.
The Mother''s Tale
The Mortician''s Twelve-Year-Old Son
Twenty-Year Marriage
Why Can''t I Leave You?
I Have Got to Stop Loving You So I Have Killed My Black Goat
Riot Act, April 29, 1992
John Ashbery
Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
Marvin Bell
The Self and the Mulberry
To Dorothy
The Mystery of Emily Dickinson
To an Adolescent Weeping Willow
White Clover
Drawn by Stones, by Earth, by Things That Have Been in the Fire
Sevens (Version 3): In the Closed Iris of Creation
Ars Poetica at the Window
John Berryman
from The Dream Songs: 4 [Filling her compact & delicious body]; 14 [Life, friends, is boring]; 26 [The glories of the world]; 29 [There sat down, once]; 47 [April Fool''s Day, or, St. Mary of Egypt]; 89 Op. posth. no.12; 91 Op. posth. no. 14; 129 [Thin as a sheet]; 172 [Your face broods]; 366 [Chilled in this Irish pub]; 382 [At Henry''s bier]; 384 [The marker slants]
Elizabeth Bishop
The Fish
At the Fishhouses
In the Waiting Room
One Art
Robert Bly
An Empty Place
Snowbanks North of the House
The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog
Warning to the Reader
Six Winter Privacy Poems
Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter
After Long Busyness
The Dead Seal
Looking into a Tide Pool
The Yellow Dot
The Russian
Pitzeem and the Mare
Gwendolyn Brooks
from A Street in Bronzeville: the mother; a song in the front yard
A Lovely Love
The Lovers of the Poor
Beverly Hills, Chicago
We Real Cool
The Egg Boiler
Olga Broumas
The Choir
Lucille Clifton
[i was born with twelve fingers]
at the cemetery, walnut grove plantation, south carolina, 1989
the lost baby poem
[at last we killed the roaches]
homage to my hips
wishes for sons
poem to my uterus
lumpectomy eve
the gift
Billy Collins
Osso Buco
Man in Space
By a Swimming Pool outside Siracusa
Writing in the Afterlife
Robert Creeley
I Know a Man
After Lorca
The Figures
The Language
The Flower
The Warning
The Act of Love
James Dickey
The Heaven of Animals
The Sheep Child
The Poisoned Man
The Hospital Window
Stephen Dobyns
Long Story
Bowlers Anonymous
How to Like It
Cemetery Nights
Rita Dove
American Smooth
Wingfoot Lake
The Breathing, the Endless News
After Reading Mickey in the Night Kitchen for the Third Time Before Bed
Stephen Dunn
The Stairway
Instead of You
The Routine Things Around the House
The Insistence of Beauty
Landscape at the End of the Century
Louise Erdrich
The Strange People
I Was Sleeping Were the Black Oaks Move
Indian Boarding School: The Runaways
Dear John Wayne
Mary Magdalene
Christ''s Twin
New Vows
Carol Frost
Homo Sapiens
Sexual Jealousy
To Kill a Deer
The St. Louis Zoo
Telling the Bees
The Part of the Bee''s Body Embedded in the Flesh
The Undressing
Allen Ginsberg
from Howl
Ode to Failure
Louise Glück
The Mirror
Mock Orange
Retreating Wind
The White Rose
Parable of the Flight
The Balcony
Celestial Music
Albert Goldbarth
The Talk Show
Ancestored-Back is the Overpresiding Spirit of This Poem
Reality Organization
Arguing Bartusiak
The Whole Earth Catalogue
Kimiko Hahn
The Izu Dancer
The Older Child
The Shower
The Artist''s Daughter
Reckless Sonnet
Donald Hall
Maple Syrup
In the Kitchen of the Old House
When the Young Husband
The Porcelain Couple
Michael S. Harper
We Assume: On the Death of Our Son, Reuben Masai Harper
Reuben, Reuben
Dear John, Dear Coltrane
Love Medley: Patrice Cuchulain
This Is My Son''s Song:"Ungie, Hi Ungie"
Here Where Coltrane Is
Robert Hass
The Image
Meditation at Lagunitas
A Story About the Body
Privilege of Being
Our Lady of the Snows
Spring Drawing 2
Faint Music
Robert Hayden
Those Winter Sundays
Night, Death, Mississippi
Middle Passage
William Heyen
The Return
The Pigeons
Simple Truths
Blackbird Spring
Andrew Hudgins
The Chinaberry
One Threw a Dirt Clod and It Ran
Heat Lightening in a Time of Drought
Grandmother''s Spit
Richard Hugo
Living Alone
Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg
A Map of Montana in Italy
The Lady in Kicking Horse Reservoir
Death in the Aquarium
Donald Justice
Early Poems
First Death
Children Walking Home from School Through Good Neighborhood
Psalm and Lament
Men at Forty
Variations on a Text by Vallejo
In Memory of the Unknown Poet, Robert Boardman Vaughn
Galway Kinnell
Blackberry Eating
After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
The Bear
The Fundamental Project of Technology
Flower of Five Blossoms
Carolyn Kizer
The Intruder
A Widow in Wintertime
from Pro Femina: One [From Sappho to myself, consider the fate of women]
Semele Recycled
The Skein
Yusef Komunyakaa
Audacity of the Lower Gods
In the Background of Silence
Tu Do Street
Boys in Dresses
Ode to the Maggot
Maxine Kumin
Morning Swim
To Swim, to Believe
Heaven as Anus
Requiem on I-89
The Grace of Geldings in Ripe Pastures
The Highwayman
In the Pea Patch
In the Park
Stanley Kunitz
The Layers
Robin Redbreast
The Wellfleet Whale
The Abduction
The Portrait
Touch Me
The Long Boat
Li-Young Lee
The Gift
Eating Alone
Eating Together
My Indigo
This Room and Everything in It
You Must Sing
Denise Levertov
The Acolyte
The Poem Unwritten
Our Bodies
The Mutes
Where Is the Angel?
Life at War
Philip Levine
The Simple Truth
On the Birth of Good & Evil During the Long Winter of ''28
Animals Are Passing from Our Lives
You Can Have It
What Work Is
I Was Born in Lucerne
They Feed They Lion
The Two
Robert Lowell
Memories of West Street and Lepke
"To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage"
Skunk Hour
Eye and Tooth
For the Union Dead
William Matthews
Men at My Father''s Funeral
In Memory of the Utah Stars
Pissing Off the Back of the Boat into the Nivernais Canal
Moving Again
The Cloister
James Merrill
The Octopus
Laboratory Poem
Charles on Fire
The Mad Scene
A Renewal
The Kimono
Voices from the Other World
A Downward Look
b o d y
An Upward Look
W. S. Merwin
The Poem
How We Are Spared
For the Anniversary of My Death
Dead Hand
The Chaff
Field Mushrooms
The Rose Beetle
St. Vincent''s
When You Go Away
Marilyn Nelson
A Wreath for Emmett Till
A Minor Miracle
Naomi Shihab Nye
Vocabulary of Dearness
The Small Vases from Hebron
The Shapes of Mouths at Parties
Morning Paper, Society Page
What Brings Us Out
The Last Day of August
The Traveling Onion
Frank O''Hara
Why I Am Not a Painter
Poem [I don''t know as I get what D. H. Lawrence is driving at]
Personal Poem
Poem [Lana Turner has collapsed!]
For Grace, After a Party
The Day Lady Died
Getting Up Ahead of Someone (Sun)
Sharon Olds
A Woman in Heat Wiping Herself
Early Images of Heaven
The Pope''s Penis
The Elder Sister
The Lifting
The Glass
May 1968
Good Will
Mary Oliver
Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End?
Spring Azures
Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard
University Hospital, Boston
In Blackwater Woods
The Summer Day
Michael Palmer
I Do Not
Dearest Reader
Untitled [o you in that little bark]
"or anything resembling it"
Carl Phillips
Our Lady
Luna Moth
Aubade: Some :Peaches, After Storm
Sylvia Plath
Crossing the Water
Lady Lazarus
Adrienne Rich
Diving into the Wreck
The Novel
One Life
The School Among the Ruins
Theodore Roethke
My Papa''s Waltz
Root Cellar
Cuttings (later)
The Lost Son
In a Dark Time
Anne Sexton
Her Kind
With Mercy for the Greedy
To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph
The Abortion
Man and Wife
In Celebration of My Uterus
The Room of My Life
Charles Simic
Charles Simic
Poem Without a Title
Classic Ballroom Dances
The Old World
Entertaining the Canary
Used Book Store
My Noiseless Entourage
Louis Simpson
Working Late
Riverside Drive
Quiet Desperation
In the Suburbs
Physical Universe
Dave Smith
Blowfish and Mudtoad
Night Fishing for Blues
Pine Cones
Allegheny Happiness
The Tire Hangs in the Yard
W. D. Snodgrass
Viewing the Body
from Heart''s Needle: 9 [I get numb and go in]
"After Experience Taught Me..."
Old Apple Trees
Love Lamp
Gary Snyder
"One Should Not Talk to a Skilled Hunter About What Is Forbidden by the Buddha"
Bubbs Creek Haircut
Hay for the Horses
The Bath
Axe Handles
Gary Soto
Black Hair
Envying the Children of San Francisco
Mexicans Begin Jogging
The Tale of Sunlight
Failing in the Presence of Ants
Elizabeth Spires
The Beds
Sunday Afternoon at Fulham Palace
The First Day
The Celestial
"In Heaven It Is Always Autumn"
Glass-Bottom Boat
Cemetery Reef
David St. John
The Swan at Sheffield Park
Lucifer in Starlight
Last Night with Rafaella
William Stafford
How the Real Bible is Written
At Fourth and Main, in Liberal, Kansas, 1932
Growing Up
Ask Me
Traveling Through the Dark
Adults Only
The Light by the Barn
A Wind from a Wing
With Kit, Age 7, at the Beach
Gerald Stern
I Remember Galileo
The Dancing
The Bull-Roarer
Another Insane Devotion
Lilacs for Ginsberg
She Was a Dove
Mark Strand
Keeping Things Whole
The Dress
The Prediction
My Life by Somebody Else
A Morning
The Idea
from Dark Harbor: XXX [There is a road through the canyon]; XXXIX [When after a long silence one picks up the pen]; XLV [I am sure you would find it misty here]
The Night, The Porch
A Piece of the Storm
Jean Valentine
December 21st
American River Sky Alcohol Father
The Messenger
Snow Landscape in a Glass Globe
The Under Voice
Ellen Bryant Voigt
The Hen
The Trust
The Lotus Flowers
Two Trees
Harvesting the Cows
Richard Wilbur
The Ride
Love Calls Us to the Things of This World
Cottage Street, 1953
The Writer
In Trackless Woods
The Lilacs
C. K. Williams
From My Window
The Gas Station
The Singing
C.D. Wright
The Secret Life of Musical Instruments
Wages of Love
More Blues and the Abstract Truth
Why Ralph Refuses to Dance
So Far Off and Yet Here
Song of the Gourd
Girl Friend Poem #3
Charles Wright
California Dreaming
Night Journal
James Wright
Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio
Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy''s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
The Minneapolis Poem
In Response to a Rumor That the Oldest Whorehouse in Wheeling, West Virginia, Has Been Condemned
The Young Good Man
The Old WPA Swimming Hole in Martins Ferry, Ohio
A Blessing
The Journey