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Reference Book of the Week: Contemporary Poets

National Poetry Month logo 2008 Welcome to another edition of Reference Book of the Week here at The Patriot Spot. We continue our look at reference works related to poetry as part of our celebration of National Poetry Month. This week we are featuring Contemporary Poets, edited by Tracy Chevalier. This work contains material on about 1,00o living poets. I should clarify that "living" means they were alive at the time of publication. Readers also need to note that the book covers poets from around the world who write in English. This is important to keep in mind because if you want a poet like Vicente Aleixandre (Spanish poet) or Gabriela Mistral (Chilean poet), you are not going to find them here. The poets listed do not have to be just British or American, but they do have to write in English; being translated into English does not count either for purposes of being included in this book. The poets included in this work were selected by an advisory panel of scholars. Entries in the volume are organized alphabetically. The entries include the following information:
  • a short biographical note on the author
  • a list of separately published books. In other words, a list of each book the person has published (as opposed to a list of poems, for example). If the person edited a work, this is included as well.
  • a small list of critical studies on an author  is provided for further reading.
  • the poets selected were invited to provide a small commentary statement, and some chose to do so. You will find these comments as well in various entries.
  • a signed essay about the poet and his/her work by a scholar.
  • And the book will also, when available, tell readers where a particular poet's manuscripts and papers are kept.
If you need to find information on a modern poet, this can be a very good work. It is very good to find many minor poets that may not be commonly covered in other works. The book does include a title index that lists the verse works of the poets, referring the reader then to the appropriate poet. For example, if you want to know who wrote the book Hotel Cro-Magnon, you find out from this index that it was Clayton Eshleman. You can find Contemporary Poets in the library reference collection in the second floor under the call number PR 603 .C6 1991.
Published by root on 15 Apr

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