The first and only comprehensive work of its kind, The Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry in English charts the development of poetry from 1900 to the present, across the whole of the English-speaking world, from the United States, Great Britain, and Ireland to New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, Trinidad and Zimbabwe--anywhere where poets write in English. Alphabetically arranged for ease of reference, it offers biographical entries on some 1,500 individual poets, as well as over one hundred entries covering important magazines, movements, literary terms and concepts.
As readable as it is comprehensive, the Companion offers a fascinating survey of this century's shift from 'poetry' to 'poetries, ' as American and British traditions of poetry have made way for a growing diversity of voices, and as the burgeoning poetries of Australia, Canada, and other English-speaking countries assert their own identities. The range of poets represented in this Companion is extraordinary. Here are in-depth discussions of Yeats, Eliot, Pound, and Joyce alongside provocative assessments of W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, and Marianne Moore. John Ashbery, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou, and Mary Oliver are accounted for, as well as Carolyn ForchA(c), David Bottoms, Jorie Graham, and many other younger poets just coming into prominence. Chinua Achebee, Jack Mapanje, Femi Oyebode and other important African poets writing in English are here, as well as poets from the Caribbean, India, and even Russia.
Readers will relish this Companion's many insightful contributions from celebrated poet-critics, writing on other poets in intriguing author-subject combinations. For example, Seamus Heaney writes on Robert Lowell ("Lowell had invented a way of getting at life, of making poetry kick and freak at the edge of contemporary reality"), Ann Stevenson discusses Sylvia Plath ("In the quarter-century following her suicide, Sylvia Plath has become a heroine and martyr of the feminist movement. In fact, she was a martyr mainly to the recurrent psychodrama that staged itself within the bell jar of her tragically wounded personality"), and Tom Paulin weighs in on Ted Hughes ("His appointment as Poet Laureate in 1984 sealed his essentially shaman-like conception of his poetic mission and enabled him to speak out on environmental issues while celebrating royal weddings and babies"). Other pairings include Jay Parini on Wallace Stevens, Jon Stallworthy on Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brook, and William H. Pritchard on Robert Frost and Randall Jarrell. Each entry includes a wealth of biographical and bibliographical information, and a select bibliography at the end of the book supplies a handy source of information on poets whose work is not otherwise in print, or readily available to readers.
From Abse and Auden to Zaturenska and Zukofsky, The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English is an essential reference for students, lovers of poetry, and for poets themselves.
'The field covered by this well-researched volume is enormous ... There are intriguing poet-as-critic sections (Jon Stallworthy, for example, writing about Rupert Brooke, or Seamus Heaney on Robert Lowell - the American poet - an analysis which is wonderfully revealing).'
Richard Edmonds, The Birmingham Post
'Ian Hamilton, the editor, succeeds, on the whole triumphantly, in his declared aim of providing a map of modern poetry in English ... a collection which contains many excellent essays ... This volume serves a very good purpose.'
Stephen Spender, The Times
'marvellously peopled Companion ... it's the massive rehearsal here of the peculiarities of poetry in English which holds out almost endless delightful knowledge to all poetry readers'
Valentine Cunningham, The Observer
'This is a provocative Companion ... essential for anyone interested in coming to terms with modern poetry ... it does entertain pugnaciously as well as inform'
Alan Bold, The Herald
'a wonderful litany of bizarre names, all belonging to poets, all included in Ian Hamilton's massive Companion To Twentieth Century Poetry. The Companion is a book bulging with spleen and fascinating titbits.'
Val Hennessy, The Daily Mail
'The strength of this Companion lies in its comprehensiveness: 1,500 poets from all five continents ... this is a fine and useful compendium.'
William Scammell, Independent on Sunday
'The book is compact, legible and excellent value.'
Grey Gowrie, Daily Telegraph
'a Herculean achievement with lively pen portraits on 1,500 poets plus entries on movements, concepts and critical terms ... This book should quickly establish itself as an essential work of reference.'
Richard Foster, Yorkshire Evening Post
'It holds out endless delightful knowledge to all poetry readers.'
'at once a reference book and a sort of map of critical opinion regarding the current verse trade ... It should prove useful to public libraries'
'hard to put down - chock-full of pleasures'
Angus Calder, Scotland on Sunday
'The quality of the writing is, overall, very high, the range impressive, the approach as lively as the topic deserves. It is a handsome conversation piece, and should keep the passionate battles of the poetry world supplied with useful ammunition.'
Times Literary Supplement
'very admirable and inclusive Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry'
Times Literary Supplement
'The latest Oxford Companion is a magnificent snug chunk of a book and a browser's delight ... this ... blissfully exciting volume is likely to send poetry readers scurrying from one entry to another and up to the limit of their library tickets the next time they look at the poetry shelves.'
David Buckley, Yorkshire Post
'a browser's delight ... blissfully exciting volume'
David Buckley, Yorkshire Post
'As to the actual execution of the Companion it could hardly, given its premisses, be bettered. In particular, its coverage it exemplary.'
Hilary Corke, The Spectator
'a welcome, extensive ... treat ... there's a mass of information about poets from America to Zimbabwe, as well as critical assessments and biographies of over 1500 writers'
Colin Dyter, Evening Sentinel
'an essential reference book for poetry'
'Hamilton's wide coverage comes to an American reader as a revelation ... As a proclamation of the internationalisation of poetry in English, Hamilton's Companion generously inclusive, will be seen in the future, I am certain, as a significant landmark of literary change.'
London Review of Books
'frequently useful and interesting ... a work that is valuable - mainly for the general reader - in its catholocity of taste and in the verve of the writing it includes'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'Comprehensive, alphabetically arranged reference work to some 1,500 poets as well as magazines, movements, concepts and critical terms, from 1900 to today. It includes authoritative, opinionated contributions from distinguished poet/critics.'
Anne Boston, Country Living
'All the things one expects from an Oxford Companion - authority, comprehensiveness, judicious organisation and so forth - are here in abundance, and on top of that you get an introduction which immediately vanquishes the notion that the book may turn out to be unduly bland in tone, This Oxford Companion is a vast undertaking and an invaluable reference work ... Riveting details, areas of provocation, astute evaluations, even the odd deficiency or
eccentricity - all these will help to keep the reader of Ian Hamilton's Twentieth-Century Poetry engrossed throughout.'
Patricia Craig, The Honest Ulsterman No. 98 Autumn '94
'skilfully edited ... and with expert contributions, accurate in details and many of rare appreciation and sensitive understanding'
Revd Dr Gordon S. Wakefield, The Expository Times
`This is an excellent reference book which no library, public or academic, large or small, should be without. Well written and intelligently put together it should have a long and useful life and definitely fills a gap in the current range of reference material on 20th-century poetry in English. There is nothing else in the field quite as comprehensive, as readable, as successful a combination of fact and analysis ... Its scope is wide ranging and fairly
exhaustive ... He is to be congratulated, for despite the omissions and the quirky inclusions, he has done an excellent job. He is well qualified for an undertaking of this size and complexity ... For
poets the Companion will be indispensable, for libraries invaluable, to the casual browser informative and to all endlessly fascinating.'
The Year in Reference