The Basic Idea
An anthology of poetry is a collection of poetry (or group of poems) gathered by an editor. Your textbook contains an anthology at the back: “Poems for further reading”. For your final project this semester, you will be the editor of a poetry anthology.
A Poetry Anthology (or any anthology) reflects the aesthetics of its editor/s. Sometimes an anthology is also organized around a specific genre and sometimes an anthology is organized around a specific theme and sometimes an anthology is organized around a specific historical moment or group of people.
For this major assignment of the semester, I am asking you to be an editor of a poetry anthology. I am asking you to decide how you would like to organize such an anthology and what you would hope the effects of that anthology to be. I am also asking you, most importantly, to figure out for yourself what your aesthetic is and then demonstrate that aesthetic in your anthology.
You will choose a total of 20 poems for your anthology. Of these 20 poems, 10 must be from our textbook (we do not necessarily have to have studied these poems – they just need to be taken from course materials), and 10 must be from sources you find on your own outside of the class readings. Of these outside sources, 5 must be found in other books of poetry or literary magazines, 1 must be found on the internet (at a reputable source), and 1 may be found in alternative sources (for example, a song, an advertisement, a friend or family member or your personal poetry). If you have an idea for one of these “alternative sources,” please run it by me before you put it into your anthology.
Each poem in your Anthology will be accompanied by a response paragraph that explains a little bit about the poem, your reason for choosing it, and your reason for including it in your particular Anthology. Each response paragraph should be about 150 words. These response paragraphs are MUCH more formal than your reading logs and unlike your reading logs should attempt to demonstrate some authority over the meaning of the poem.
Your anthology will be typed. You will need to re-type your chosen poems into a consistent font. However, make sure you keep the original formatting of the poem. Line breaks and margin alignment are all purposeful devices of poets – they change the poem dramatically and they are not yours to play with. The format of the poem should be EXACTLY like its original formatting.
You will write a 3 page introduction to your anthology explaining your choices as a reader and editor and generally introducing your reader to your aesthetic and how your anthology is organized. This 3 page introduction should include relevant quotes from your chosen poems (not necessarily all of them). It should also explain how your appreciation or understanding of poetry has evolved this semester.
Your Anthology must conclude with a “Works Borrowed” page. It should look exactly like the following example and be formatted exactly like the following example. Notice this page is in alphabetical order. Also Notice that it is MUCH more informal than a regular bibliography or works cited page. This is purposeful. I am only looking for the specific information you find here – I am not interested in page numbers or publication dates. This is just my way of finding out where you found your poems.
Collins, Billy. “Dog” from Poetry21 CD. CD-Rom.
Land Rover North America. “Not a…” from 2003 advertisement for Range Rover, Freelander, Discovery. Advertisement.
Roethke, Theodore. “The Waking” from The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry. Book.
Spahr, Juliana. “Switching” from Spahr’s personal website: http://epc.buffalo.edu
Stevenson, JodiAnn. “The Question” from InkPot 7. Literary Magazine.
Stevenson, JodiAnn. “Remember to Learn from Your Mistakes” from BathHouse 6. Online Literary Journal.
Stipe, Michael. “Belong” from Out of Time. Song.