The ethnically diverse scope, broad chronological coverage, and mix of biographical, critical, historical, political, and cultural entries make this the most useful and exciting poetry reference of its kind for students today.
American poetry springs up out of all walks of life; its poems are "maternal as well as paternal…stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff that is fine," as Walt Whitman wrote, adding "Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion."
Written for high school and undergraduate students, this two-volume encyclopedia covers U.S. poetry from the Colonial era to the present, offering full treatments of hundreds of key poets of the American canon. What sets this reference apart is that it also discusses events, movements, schools, and poetic approaches, placing poets in their social, historical, political, cultural, and critical contexts and showing how their works mirror the eras in which they were written. Readers will learn about surrealism, ekphrastic poetry, pastoral elegy, the Black Mountain poets, and "language" poetry. There are long and rich entries on modernism and postmodernism as well as entries related to the formal and technical dimensions of American poetry.
Particular attention is paid to women poets and poets from various ethnic groups. Poets such as Amiri Baraka, Nathaniel Mackey, Natasha Trethewey, and Tracy Smith are featured. The encyclopedia also contains entries on a wide selection of Latino and Native American poets and substantial coverage of the avant-garde and experimental movements and provides sidebars that illuminate key points.
- Covers American poetry from the Colonial era to the present in roughly 300 alphabetically arranged entries
- Features key contemporary poets, including those appearing in current journals
- Brings together approximately 80 contributors who are among the most widely known scholars in the field
- Supports Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Social Studies by helping students gain a greater understanding of language