Thursday, June 09, 2005

Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry, 1984

From the diary: “February 27, 1985

“Finished 1984 Anthology of Magazine Verse and returned it to the library.”

The Berkeley Library has volumes from this series that were published back in the 20s and 30s. Was there a 50 year period in which Anthology of Magazine Verse was not published? I expect I’ll tackle one of those 80 year old anthologies one of these days. These would, I expect, epitomize what Ron Silliman calls (after Edgar Allan Poe, Silliman says), “The School of Quietude.” These are the poets who know what poetry is, dammit. It’s what they write. What those wacky beats or langpos or modernists are writing isn’t poetry. It’s page clutter. It’s yelping. It’s … whatever. Not Poetry.

I’m always curious to try out what somebody else thinks is hot stuff.

I remember, despite the fatness of the book, Anthology of Magazine Verse was a quick read. Yeah, I had deadline pressures, what with it being a library book and one not allowed to renew without limit (though I doubt anybody else was panting for the book), but I recall this anthology going almost as fast as prose. Poetry tends to be richer than prose and I often reread as I go, so I expect to spend a lot longer at a book of poetry than any other book.

This was before I started my copying-out project. I think this was the first time I put a placemark next to a poem so I could return to it later. I didn’t copy out any poems but I read a few several times and contemplated ways to hang onto them – memorize? copy out by hand? type up? photocopy?

The Berkeley Library also has the 1984 Anthology. Maybe I’ll read it again, see if I remember which poems impressed me twenty years ago.

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