Contemporary American Poetry: Behind the Scenes, 1st edition

  • Ryan G. Van Cleave

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Contemporary American Poetry is an anthology featuring generous poetry selections from highly-respected and up-and-coming writers, chosen and commented upon by the writers themselves. KEY TOPICS: In straightforward, conversational language, each poet provides original commentary that reveals the aesthetic and artistic choices they made in their creation. Along with advice and exercises on the craft of poetry-writing, these master poets provide the "inside scoop" on serious poetic issues such as voice, style, structure, revision, audience, publishing, among other topics, as well as the insight and motivation suitable for aspiring and experienced poets, creative writing teachers, and others who endeavor to place poetry in their lives. The result--a distinctive collection of poems, illuminating commentaries, and exercises that stimulate the imagination--is an unmatched resource for the individual learner. MARKET: For those interested in contemporary American poetry.

Table of contents


Editor's Note to the Reader.

Kim Addonizio.

First Poem for You.


The Way of the World.

Night of the Living, Night of the Dead.

THe Magical Glass: Addonizio on Duende and Desire.

Dick Allen.

Veterans Day.

Cities of the Fifties (A Glose).

Being Taught.

Lost Love.

The Cove.



Still Waters.

Allen on Transforming New FOrmalism and New Narrative.

David Baker.



Snow Figure.

Benton's Clouds.

Forced Bloom.

My Suspicious Best: Baker on the Double-Exposed Narrative.

Robert Bly.

Snowbanks North of the House.

Bly on Assertions and Associations.

Michael J. Bugeja.

Ars Poetica: The Influence of Lady Mary Wroth.

Bugeja on the Sonnet Crown.

Wanda Coleman.

In Search of the Mythology of Do Wah Wah.

The California Crack.

You Judge a Man By the Silence He Keeps.

Mr. Lopez.

Prove It Why Don't You.

All of That.


Hand Dance.

Muse & Mastery—Coleman on the Poet-in-Progress.

Billy Collins.

A History of Weather.

Questions About Angels.

Osso Buco.


The Ride of Poetry: Collins on Metaphor and Movement.

Denise Duhamel.




Duhamel on the Serial Poem.

Stephen Dunn.



Something Like Happiness.

Ars Poetica.

The Guardian Angel.

A Postmortem Guide.

Imagining Myself My Father.


John & Mary.


A Commentary on "Artful Talk," Dunn on Drift and Counterdrift.

Stuart Dybek.


Windy City.

Three Nocturnes.

Today, Tonight.

Overhead Fan.


Dybek on Pleasure and Mystery.

Ray Gonzalez.

Kiva Floor at Abo.

Federico Garcia Lorca's Desk.

I am Afraid of the Moon.

Kick the Heart.

Under the Freeway in El Paso.


The Composition of Landscape: Gonzalez on Place and Imagination.

Bob Hicok.

The Wish.

Bottom of the Ocean.

Other Lives and Dimensions and Finally a Love Poem

Radical Neck.

To Err is Humid.

Process of Elimination.

Hicok on Getting Out of Your Poem's Way.

Jane Hirshfield.

For What Binds Us.

The Love of Aged Horses.

The Weighing.

Three Foxes By the Edge of the Field at Twilight.

The Poet.

In Praise of Coldness.


The Envoy.

Hirshfield on Mysterious Making, Revision as Instruction, and the Hunt for a Way to Go On.

David Lehman.



Wittgenstein's Ladder.

The Gift.

February 10.

Lehman on the Writer's Life.

Timothy Liu.

In Flagrante Delicto.

Lui on Being Caught Red-Handed in the Act of Writing (A Self Interview).

Adrian C. Louis.

Indian Summer Gives Way to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Adiós Again, My Blessed Angel of Thunderheads and Urine.

One Man's Opinion: Louis on Madness and Inspiration.

Campbell McGrath.

Capitalist Poem #5.

Almond Blossoms, Rock and Roll, The Past Seen as Burning Fields.

Delphos, Ohio.

The Prose Poem.

The Orange.

McGrath on Creating Your Own Rules.

Peter Meinke.

Ode to Good Men Fallen Before Hero Came.

The Poet, Trying to Surprise God.


Liquid Paper.


The Secret Code.

Seven & Seven.

A Meditation on You & Wittgenstein.

Assisted Living.

Zinc Fingers.

Meinke the Potential of Form.

Lisel Mueller.

When I am Asked.

The Triumph of Life: Mary Shelley.

Mueller on Persistence.

Sharon Olds.

I Go Back to May 1937.

The Missing Boy.

Little Things.

The Race.

The Knowing.

The Promise.

5¢ a Peek.

His Costume.

The Space Heater.

Silence, With Two Texts.

Olds on Rhythm and Revision.

Lee Ann Roripaugh.


The Woman Who Loves Insects.

Octopus in the Freezer.

Roripaugh on Revision and Love.

Kay Ryan.

The Excluded Animals.


Star Block.

The Pass.


Swept Up Whole.

Mirage Oases.

Crustacean Island.

The Hinge of Spring.



Ryan on Brevity, Teeth, Cartoons, and Sound.

Vivian Shipley.

Black Hole.

May 17, 1720: Superiour Court Justice Counsels Elizabeth Atwood in His Chambers Before Sentencing Her to Hang.

Number Fifty Two: Winifred Benham, Hartford, Connecticut, October 7, 1697.

Kachino, Russia: Perm 36.

Barbie, Madame Alexander, Bronislawa Wajs.

Shipely on Re-Envisioning the Past.

Elizabeth Spires.

Easter Sunday 1955.

Cemetery Reef.

Spires on the Potential of Memory.

Virgil Suárez.

Psalm of the Boy Cartographer.

Those Lost Souls: Florida Strait Tragedy #1.


Women Who Carry Water From the River.


In the House of White Light.


Suárez on Re-Working Memory.

Ron Wallace.


The Facts of Life.

At Chet's Feed & Seed.

The Hell Mural: Panel I.

In the Amish Bakery.


The Friday Night Fights.


The McPoem.


Toads, and All This Fiddle: Wallace on Music, Metaphor, and Mirth.

Afaa Michael Weaver.

The Picnic, an Homage to Civil Rights.

Sub Shop Girl.

African Jump Ball.

Cities of Experience: Weaver on the Poetry of Self.

Miller Williams.

A Poem for Emily.

Ruby Tells All.

After All These Years of Prayer and Pi R Square.

Waking From a Dream.

Love Poem With Toast.

Williams on Structure and Lineation.

Appendix A-Poet Biographies.

Appendix B-Further Readings.

Appendix C-Other Writer Resources.

Appendix D-Web Information.

Appendix E-Sample Poet Groupings.

Appendix F-A Brief Glossary.

Appendix G-Creating Your Own Glossary.


General Index.

Index of Authors, Titles, and First Lines.

Published by Pearson (October 7th 2002) - Copyright © 2003