Missing from Dove Anthology

Clayton Eshleman sent the following list of important 20th century American poets missing from the recent Rita Dove edited Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry. As I know very well for having committed a few anthologies myself, exclusions are not only inevitable but also necessary: it is often who the editor leaves out that says more about where the editor is coming from or heading toward than the simple list of inclusions. Now, the Dove anthology clearly does not represent my vision of what was important in 20th century American poetry: to begin with the title, Dove’s label is misleading in that what she is talking about is, well, United Sates poetry —  the definition of the book as “American” is problematic, even if & maybe exactly because one or two non-United-Statlers sneak into her TOC (and maybe paradoxically also because of the laudable effort Dove does make of including a range of non-white poets, men and women.) On the other hand I nearly feel the need to defend Dove when that old Harvard critical warhorse, Helen Vendler, comes out in the NYRB & damns her (in words very similar to the ones she used 30 years ago to damn the Rothenberg & Quasha America a Prophecy anthology — see Charles Bernstein’s blog here) as in the traditional reactionary New England vision of things  “no century in the evolution of poetry in English ever had 175 poets worth reading,” i.e. 4 or 5 white males with a token white female &  one or tow non-whites thrown in for good measure is quite enough to make up a canon…  Here then a few exclusions in no particular order (Plath & Ginsberg, according to Dove, were too expensive for Penguin to include), first Clayton’s list & then a short addendum list that came to mind as I typed in CE’s:

Louis Zukofsky
George Oppen
Charles Reznikoff
Carl Rakosi
Laura Riding
Mina Loy
William Bronk
Paul Blackburn
Allen Ginsberg
Larry Eigner
Edward Dorn
Jack Kerouac
Lorine Niedecker
Jackson Mac Low
Jack Spicer
Sylvia Plath
Robin Blaser
Charles Bernstein
Armand Schwerner
Philip Lamantia
Michael McClure
Philip Whalen
Cid Corman
Barbara Guest
James Schuyler
Ron Padgett
Tony Towle
Charles North
Jerome Rothenberg
Robert Kelly
Clayton Eshleman
David Antin
Gerrit Lansing
Bob Perelman
Rae Armantrout
Rachel Blau DuPlessis
John Wieners
Nathaniel Tarn
Clark Coolidge
Gustaf Sobin
Edward Sanders
John Taggert
David Bromige
Jayne Cortez
Fanny Howe
Susan Howe
Keith Waldrop
Rosmarie Waldrop
Judy Grahn
August Kleinzahler
Anne Waldman
Kenneth Rexroth
Andrew Joron
Forrest Gander
Will Alexander
Diane DiPrima
Alice Notley
Elaine Equi
Thom Gunn
William Everson
Brenda Hillman
Linh Dinh
John Olson
Anselm Hollo
Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge
Carla Harryman
David Shapiro
Leslie Scalapino 

& a few more instantly come to mind:

Thomas Meyer
Bernadette Mayer
Lewis Warsh
Kenneth Irby
Theodore Enslin
Jack Collom
David Meltzer
Cole Swenson
Joanne Kyger
Lew Welsh
Bob Kaufman
Edwin Torres
Jonathan Williams
Tom Clark
Dick Higgins
cari edwards
Frank Samperi
Joel Oppenheimer 



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2 Responses

  1. Poo says:

    And you?

  2. Tim says:

    Which begs the question, who the hell is in it? Pound and…?

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