3 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Missed Opportunity,
By A Customer
This review is from: Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry (Paperback)
Anyone familiar with 20th c.Irish and British poetry will find this textbook a terribly disappointing production.This is an Oxford University Press edition, with all the financial resources and scholarly credibility that implies, but it's an astonishingly unrepresentative selection. The editor claims to include a "fair" proportion of "mainstream" poets and the avant garde, but it's nothing of the kind. Imagine Welsh poetry without R.S. Thomas. Irish poetry without Michael Longley. Approaching our contemporaries, we have plenty of unknown sub Language poets who publish each other in limited editions, but of that powerful movement of poets now in their thirties and forties (Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell being the most visible proponents) only Jo Shapcott rates the editor's notice. This isn't "critical pluralism". It's an attempt to canonize a postmodern clique by juxtaposing their work with the likes of Seamus Heaney.
Moreover, it isn't even a believeable anthology from a postmodern standpoint. Where's J. H. Prynne? Excluding him is like leaving John Ashbery out of an anthology of contemporary American poetry.
On the positive side, the editor provides the full texts of long poems like Jones' "The Anathemata" and Muldoon's "Incantata" along with helpful footnotes. But on balance, this simply won't do at all. And the pity is we're stuck with it because no publisher will invest in a project like this again for some time.
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