In 1960 Donald Allen published his ground-breaking anthology, The New American Poetry, which gathered some of the most important innovative poets writing since World War II, and helped Americans perceive a tradition that was different from the poetry of the 1940s and 1950s put forth by the American Academy in general, and by the New Critics in particular. The effect of this anthology has been staggering, and has helped to shape poetry since its publication. And since 1970 many readers have waited for another such anthology for the poets writing after Allen’s contribution. Many anthologies have appeared, but either they have focused on particular groups of writers or have been too unfocused aesthetically to have the impact of The New American Poetry.
Working over the past ten years, Douglas Messerli has attempted to bring together some of these same issues and concerns, reiterating them into the context of United States and Canadian poetry since Donald Allen’s collection. Like Allen, Messerli has organized his selection into somewhat arbitrary and non-rigid categories; but unlike Allen he has refused to “name” these in the concern (in the context of today’s more eclectic and socially-based gatherings) that they will be misunderstood as actual “groups” or poets driven only by particular ideas or theories.
Messerli is the editor of “Language” Poetries, published by New Directions; and Contemporary American Fiction, published by his own Sun & Moon Press. He is also the author of four books of poetry, a film for fiction in poetry, and a play.
The exhibit entitled Prints from The Last Vispo Anthology now showing at the Nelsonville Public Library has been extended by a week, through February 22, and there will be a closing reception at the library on Final Friday, February 22, from 6-8 PM. Endwar and guest artist paloin biloid from Cleveland will be there. The exhibit includes 27 prints from the book, 7 additional prints from Endwar, some sculpture poems by Endwar, and a few works by guest artists paloin biloid, John M. Bennett, and C. Mehrl Bennett.
Nelsonville Public Library, 95 W. Washington Street, Nelsonville, OH