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The Oxford Book of Short Poems

ISBN 019214135X / 9780192141354 / 0-19-214135-X

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Book summary

Memorable, witty, bawdy, profound--the short poem observes no limits except those of length. The verses collected in this new Oxford anthology vary greatly in theme, style, and tone, but in each case, brevity reveals the poets at their best, both as individual artists and as exemplars of their times.
The short poem is often overlooked in verse collections, where poets tend to be represented by their longer, more sustained work. Defining "short" as any poem of under fourteen lines, the compilers of this anthology set out to see what the effect would be if the short poem were given more breathing room to make its impact, uncrowded by weightier poems. And they have discovered a remarkable degree of self-confidence and eloquence in the genre that more than justifies their efforts.
Besides the great masters of the short poem--such as Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, and, in our own century, Yeats, Hardy and Frost--many less well known poets are included, sometimes represented by a single poem that stands out from its contemporaries and leaps out of its time into ours. Although the anthologists sought to make their selections more than merely representative, most of the famous names can be found, from medieval to modern times: from Anonymous to Shakespeare, from Wordsworth to Whitman, from Auden to Updike. [via]