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Poets of World War II (American Poets Project) [Hardcover]

By Harvey Shapiro (Editor)
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Item description for Poets of World War II (American Poets Project) by Harvey Shapiro...

Gathers the work of more than sixty poets on the war years in a volume that includes contributions by such writers as Randall Jarrell, Anthony Hecht, George Oppen, and Richard Eberhart.

Publishers Description
Acclaimed poet and World War II veteran Harvey Shapiro's pathbreaking gathering of work by more than sixty poets of the war years includes Randall Jarrell, Anthony Hecht, George Oppen, Richard Eberhart, William Bronk, and Woody Guthrie.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   225
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 27, 2003
Publisher   Library of America
ISBN  1931082332  
ISBN13  9781931082334  

Availability  0 units.

More About Harvey Shapiro

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! A native of Chicago and a graduate of Yale and Columbia Universities, HARVEY SHAPIRO is the author of six books of poetry, including Battle Report (Wesleyan, 1966) and This World (Wesleyan, 1971) and has taught poetry workshops at both his alma maters. For eight years, he war the editor of the New York Times Book Review and is now deputy editor of the New York Time Magazine and Times literary critic.

Harvey Shapiro was born in 1937.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > American Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Anthologies
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > United States
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > 20th Century
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Poets of World War II (American Poets Project)?

Still a connection  Mar 14, 2006
I am using this collection in my American Lit survey class to cover WWII, and it's tremendously effective. I'm having my students choose a poem and read it and discuss it in class, and I believe they are finding the experience very moving. To them as well as to me, WWII is history, the past, but close enough to seem real.
Powerful  Nov 10, 2004
This anthology is one in a series published by the American Poets Project, an effort intended to produce a first-time "compact national library of poets" (back cover). The volume under review here consists of 120 poems by 62 poets, where 42 are veterans, the others non-veterans, thus making it similar in concept to kindred anthologies such as Jan Barry's 'Peace is Our Profession: Poems and Passages of War Protest' (1981). As such, it includes works by conscientious objectors and other war-resisters such as Robinson Jeffers and William Stafford. All the contributors are a credible collection of Objectivists, Imagists, "followers of the formal school of Southern verse and dense rhetoric..." (xxxii). The editor is Harvey Shapiro, an Ivy League-educated poet, and veteran of thirty-five combat missions as a B-17 tail gunner. He sets a solemn tone for the volume, stating that although the Allies were victorious, "the sight of dead bodies is scattered among these poems the way bodies were washed up on the shores of invasion beaches..." (xix). Moreover, his purpose for this anthology is "to demonstrate that the American poets of this war produced a body of work that has not yet been recognized for its clean and powerful eloquence" (xx).
Shapiro gathers some of the best poetry of the war. Included are those infrequently published but no less majestically poignant air war poems by John Ciardi, James Dickey, Richard Eberhart, Richard Hugo (though his opus magnum, 'Mission to Linz', does not appear here), Randall Jarrell, and Howard Nemerov. Some of the best poems of ground combat are by Louis Simpson, George Oppen, and Anthony Hecht. Several poems are quite moving, such as James Tate's 'The Lost Pilot' (218-220), written for his father who was killed in action when Tate was five months old, and Peter Viereck's 'Vale from Carthage' (110-111), which Viereck wrote on the occasion of his brother's death in the European theater. There are sublime elegies like Vladimir Nabokov's "When he was small, when he would fall" (20), and Richard Eberhart's 'A Ceremony by the Sea' (31-34). Many poets achieve a powerful austerity through just a few lines, such as Samuel Menashe does in his 18-syllable, 5-line poem, 'Beachhead' (214). Yet, the poems here are not solely about combat and its affects, for they also inform the wider ontology of war, verse that emerges into the foreground of military victory to ask the unanswered questions of race and class. Compelling examples are Witter Bynner's 'Defeat', and Gwendolyn Brook's 'Negro Hero' (1, 115).
For enthusiasts of poetry and studies of how war relates to literature and the arts, Shapiro's book proves an exemplary and diverse collection, and a perfect companion to Leon Stokesbury's 'Articles of War: A Collection of American Poetry About World War II' (1990). It includes an Introduction by Shapiro, and a very helpful biographical notes section. There has always been a debate over how poetry can close the aesthetic space between the poetry reader's expectations and the poet's ability to meet them. This work accomplishes that closure quite effectively despite the decades that have passed since the end of the Second World War.

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