Cover image for The new Bread Loaf anthology of contemporary American poetry
The new Bread Loaf anthology of contemporary American poetry
Collier, Michael, 1953-
Publication Information:
Hanover, NH : [Published for] Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and Middlebury College Press by University Press of New England, [1999]

Physical Description:
xix, 359 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
"Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and Middlebury College Press."

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS615 .N385 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Gathers poems by more than eighty contemporary writers.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Of course, not every living American poet of merit is here, but poet-professors Collier and Plumly have chosen high-caliber work by more than 80. Many poems are timeless in their elegance and evince keen sensitivity to nature: the emotional valence of the seasons, the mysterious presence of animals, the quiet glory of plants, the blessing of light. Elizabeth Spires writes in this vein, as does Deborah Digges, and, more sensually and hauntingly, Tess Gallagher. Galway Kinnell and C. K. Williams hear as much static in the earth's signal as beauty, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly is attuned to nature's dramas. But this is a rather cool collection. Passion is present, but it has been tamed. Where's the anger? The hunger, desperation, and messiness? Gerald Stern and Yusef Komunyakaa simmer, and the truth is, so do many of the poets accounted for here. Clearly, the editors were drawn to quiet works and chose to create a chamber music^-like anthology, which, in our clangorous world, is not an unwelcome refuge. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

The self-proclaimed descendants of Lowell, Plath and Berryman (and, further back, Frost) meet yearly for a Vermont series of workshops and readings from which this anthology takes its name. Initially, one could say that its mostly confessionally based metric has simply devolved: the narcissism is still there, with most of these poems lingering over anxieties, "deep sensibilities," distrust of the world, adultery, pleasant afternoons and vacations, etc. But the formal mastery of the Lowell generationÄwith its ties to Eliot's modernism, Auden's precosity, Williams's directness and his original prosodyÄare gone. While most of this work is not confessional in the strict sense, it is disheartening how few of the poems here rise above the basic frame of the exhausted, inescapable self in the world, or how, when a different theme is adopted, it is still tied to basic formal tricksÄthe piling up of redundant detail as a baroque display of knowledge is one of themÄwhich renders the work repetitive and mundane. One hundred poets were invited to select from their own work; eighty-two came forward, including: Marvin Bell, Stephen Berg, Frank Bidart, Lucille Clifton, editors Michael Collier and Stanley Plumly, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Tess Gallagher, Louise Glck, Linda Gregerson, Marilyn Hacker, Michael S. Harper, Brenda Hillman, Mark Jarman, Galway Kinnell, Li-Young Lee, Philip Levine, the late William Matthews, W.S. Merwin, Robert Pinsky, Alberto Rios, David St. John, Gerald Stern, Mark Strand, James Tate, C.K. Williams and C.D. Wright. These are big names, and they deliver some virtuoso performances. (Many are also found the Best American, reviewed above.) But while there is some incontestably brilliant work hereÄGlck, Gregerson, Strand, Matthews and Komunyaaka stand outÄthe book reflects less of a "commitment to the future of the nation's poetry," as the editors profess, than a veneration for its glorious past. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this ample work, successor to the notable Bread Loaf Anthology of 1985, 82 poets select their own work, and the range of voices and styles included is immense: from Agha Shahid Ali, Frank Bidart, and Yusef Komunyakaa to Campbell McGrath, Heather McHugh, Alberto Rios, and more. What is most striking, perhaps, about this collection is that once again, as so often in literature, salvation has come from the margins: whenever there seems to be a danger of complacent monochromy, remarkable poets come forward with newly eloquent messages from their experience of difference in class, color, race, language, or sexuality. Collier and Plumly, both professors at the University of Maryland, have assembled what is perhaps the best single volume of contemporary poetry now availableÄa superb introduction for the new reader and a splendid handbook for the poet and critic. For most collections.ÄGraham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xix
Ghazal: "A language of loss ..."p. 1
Ghazal: "But first the screened mirror ..."p. 2
Lenox Hillp. 3
Rooms Are Never Finishedp. 5
Midwest: Odep. 8
Ohio Fields After Rainp. 9
Pulp Fictionp. 10
Romanticismp. 11
The Book of the Dead Man (#35)p. 14
The Book of the Dead Man (#61)p. 15
Sounds of the Resurrected Dead Man's Footsteps (#6)p. 17
In a New Leafp. 19
Legacyp. 21
For the Twentieth Centuryp. 23
Legacyp. 24
Grand Forks: 1997p. 26
The Ponds: Franz Kafka, June 1, 1924p. 27
The timesp. 29
What i think when i ride the trainp. 29
Brave Sparrowp. 31
Pay-Per-Viewp. 33
The Swimmerp. 34
Bloodworkp. 36
New York Three Decades Onp. 37
A Walrus Tusk from Alaskap. 39
Falling Waterp. 41
Little Deathp. 42
On Mount Timpanogos, 1935p. 43
Guillotine Windowsp. 45
Lilacsp. 47
Winter Barnp. 49
Days of Mep. 51
A Fugitive Heartp. 52
October Notesp. 55
Elizabeth Bishop, Croton, Watercolor, 9" [times] 5 3/4", n.d.p. 57
Fish-R-Usp. 58
Sea Grape Valentinep. 60
Against Flightp. 62
Evening Primrosep. 63
Lullabyp. 64
Sic Itur ad Astrap. 65
Vacationp. 66
Hopep. 67
Hummingbirdp. 68
Speedp. 69
Arlington Streetp. 70
Crossroads Mallp. 71
Lunar Eclipsep. 73
Tributariesp. 74
Wakep. 75
Burdockp. 77
Flickerp. 77
Wakingp. 78
Laughter and Starsp. 80
Owl-Spirit Dwellingp. 82
Urgent Storyp. 83
Downstrokep. 86
Travelersp. 87
Vita Novap. 89
The Burning Heartp. 90
Formaggiop. 92
Vita Novap. 93
Eyes Like Leeksp. 95
Noah's Wifep. 97
The Boyp. 99
Invocationp. 100
The Birds of the Holy Landp. 101
Neoclassicalp. 102
Desperadosp. 104
Her Bodyp. 105
How to Forgive the Father Who Screams at His Sonp. 109
Matchbook: The Spinnaker (Sausalito)p. 110
Paradisep. 112
Arrangementp. 114
Family Dogp. 115
My Grandfather's Necktiep. 116
A Geologyp. 118
Heinrich Heinep. 128
The Magic Mirrorp. 129
Ocean of Grassp. 130
Portrait of a Writerp. 131
Filling in the Graves at a Cherokee Sitep. 133
Reincarnation of a Lovebirdp. 134
Fox Nightp. 136
George Herbertp. 137
The Worldp. 137
The Garden of the Trumpet Treep. 140
The Orchardp. 141
How Could She Notp. 145
Why Regret?p. 146
Eclogue at Twilightp. 148
Kosmosp. 149
Nude Interrogationp. 151
The Song Thiefp. 152
The Hammockp. 153
The Lilyp. 154
Cumulusp. 155
Partp. 156
A Portraitp. 156
"He Would Never Use One Word Where None Would Do"p. 158
If You Are Herep. 159
Keats in Californiap. 160
Pasadena Elegyp. 162
The Unknowablep. 163
Anastasia and Sandmanp. 165
In 1967p. 168
The Oldest Living Thing in L.A.p. 170
The Two Treesp. 170
From Gradeschool Window Watching Local Bookie Arrestedp. 173
The Man into Whose Yard You Should Not Hit Your Ballp. 174
Marine Snow at Mid-Depths and Downp. 175
Plague Victims Catapulted over Walls into Besieged Cityp. 176
A Dovep. 177
El Balseritop. 178
Las Vegasp. 179
Manitobap. 181
Etymological Dirgep. 182
The Father of the Predicamentsp. 182
A Salt: Three Variations on Five Sensesp. 183
Above the Red Deep-Water Claysp. 185
Positedp. 186
The Bar at The Andover Inn, 1995p. 190
Big Tonguep. 190
Mannersp. 192
Mingus in Shadowp. 194
227 Waverly Placep. 195
Another Riverp. 196
Night Turnp. 197
Sheep Passingp. 197
What Is a Gardenp. 198
Oblique Muscle (Meditation on a Famous Blindness)p. 199
Our Kittyp. 201
Live Jazz, Franklin Park Zoop. 203
The Perceiving Selfp. 204
Washboard Wizardp. 205
Facep. 206
On Plans to Decimate the Entire British Herdp. 208
The Great Wheelp. 209
Onomastics and the Falling Snowp. 211
The Excavationp. 214
If There's a God ...p. 216
The Talkp. 217
Analfabetap. 218
Phantom Haiku/silent Filmp. 220
Icep. 222
The Trees Are Gonep. 224
Another Autumnp. 225
Armonkp. 226
To Penelopep. 227
Interior: The Killp. 229
Interior: Retreatp. 231
The Truthp. 232
The Green Pianop. 235
The Haunted Ruinp. 236
Ode to Meaningp. 237
To Televisionp. 240
Catbird Beginning with a Cardinalp. 241
Cheerp. 242
A Little Ovid Late in the Dayp. 244
Livery of Seisinp. 245
A Theory of Fantasyp. 247
Common Crows in a Winter Treep. 248
From the Life of Don Margaritop. 250
Los Voladores de Papantlap. 251
Clarityp. 253
The Favoredp. 254
Guests of the Weddingp. 255
The Ocean, Naming Itp. 257
The Treep. 258
Honeymoon in Florencep. 259
Long Islandp. 260
The Rapturep. 261
Another Kissp. 263
Fragmentp. 264
Her Paintingp. 264
The Beach Chairp. 266
Feetp. 266
The Singerp. 267
Thrush in Summerp. 268
Happinessp. 269
A Reminderp. 272
Play Deadp. 275
Stayp. 276
The Invasionp. 277
Joy on a Sundayp. 278
Spring Morningp. 280
"Come Back, or Send Somebody"p. 281
Lights from a Pierp. 282
My Mother's Name in Englishp. 283
Black Silhouettes of Shrimpersp. 285
Mussel Workp. 286
St. Augustine's Goldfinchp. 286
A Portrait of Larry with Trogonsp. 289
A Saturday Night at the Flying Dogp. 290
1999p. 291
"In Heaven It Is Always Autumn"p. 292
Two Chairs on a Hillsidep. 293
About Womenp. 296
Larry Levis Visits Easton, Pa., During a November Freezep. 297
Last Bluep. 298
Applep. 301
Beesp. 304
Herep. 306
I Will Love the Twenty-First Centuryp. 307
An Afternoon Strollp. 308
Scattered Reflectionsp. 309
The Workforcep. 310
Commuter Marriage: Homecomingp. 312
For William Matthewsp. 312
The Linep. 314
Liquids in Quantitiesp. 315
Which Way?p. 316
The Art of Distance, Ip. 318
Plaza del Solp. 319
What I Remember of Larry's Dream of Yeatsp. 320
The French Toyp. 323
Silver Shoesp. 324
E.R.p. 326
Island in the Charlesp. 327
L'Oiseau de nuitp. 328
Depthsp. 330
The Liep. 331
Shoep. 332
Treep. 333
After Propertiusp. 335
Word Hoard Against the Gnosticsp. 337
Cervical Jazz: A Girlfriend Poemp. 340
Girlfriendsp. 341
The Revolving House or or Another Girlfriend Poemp. 342
Spring Street Girlfriendp. 342
The Appalachian Book of the Dead VIp. 344
Opus Posthumous IIIp. 345
Sky Divingp. 345
St. Augustine and the Arctic Bearp. 346
Contributor Notesp. 349
Editor Notesp. 359