May 24, 2014
Meet the bad-ass bards who changed the way you experience the written word.

Actual title: Anthologizing Modernism: New Verse Anthologies, 1913-53 

Abstract: The history of the anthology form goes back thousands of years to what is often called the Greek Anthology—a modern term and not the title of one ancient work. Though there are fragments of earlier collections, Meleager of Gadara’s Stephanos (or Garland) is the first known poetry anthology and dates to approximately 100 BC. Anthologies of English poetry begin in 1557 with Richard Tottel’s Songes and Sonnettes, commonly known as “Totell’s Miscellany.” It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century, however, that single-volume poetry anthologies became popular. This development changed the methods editors used and the constraints they faced when organizing a collection. The poems collected already had a history and were accepted as influential artifacts of the past, but the single-volume editor could not be comprehensive in the way that a multi-volume editor could. These anthologies were wildly successful and made a fortune for editors and publishing houses. During the 1910s, however, another practice began to emerge. Flying in the face of the profitable nineteenth-century model, poets began to edit their own poetry anthologies, which were filled with new poems and unknown poets. These New Verse anthologies changed poetry publication forever. More than any other medium of the time, New Verse anthologies not only produced and codified modern poetry movements that are still discussed today but also had the power to effect wider cultural changes.

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