The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry
by Jeffrey Gray, James McCorkle, Mary McAleer Balkun, assoc. ed.
December 2005, 2012pp, 8 1/2x11
5 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-32381-2
$439, £326, 366€, A628

More than 900 alphabetically arranged entries by roughly 350 scholars detail the lives and works of American poets and provide information about numerous related topics.

The most comprehensive reference on American poetry ever assembled, this encyclopedia includes more than 900 alphabetically arranged entries, contributed by approximately 350 scholars. Written for students and general readers, the set covers poetry from the colonial era to the present, devoting special attention to contemporary poets and their works. Multicultural in scope, the encyclopedia covers poets, genres, critics, poetic terms, and movements. Its entries range from Caribbean to Confessional Poetry, from Dada to Eco-poetics, from Gay and Lesbian Poetry to Literary Magazines, New Formalism, and more.

The most comprehensive reference on American poetry ever assembled, this enormous encyclopedia includes more than 900 alphabetically arranged entries by roughly 350 scholars. Other references on poetry typically cover a particular period, or survey a limited range of authors, or they do not cover poets, and works, and techniques. This encyclopedia surpasses existing works by considering the entire range of American poetry, overviewing major and minor authors, and combining biographical and critical entries with entries on a wide range of topics. Written for students and general readers at a time when poetry is central to the curriculum, the set covers material from the colonial era to the present, devoting special attention to contemporary poets and their works. Multicultural in scope, the encyclopedia provides entries on numerous poets from diverse ethnic backgrounds. It also devotes considerable attention to women poets and to poets who are just beginning to establish their reputations. In addition, it relates American poetry to its social, historical, political, and cultural contexts.

The extensive experience of the volume editors and contributors is supplemented by an advisory board of some of the world’s most distinguished scholars, including: ; Steven Gould Axelrod ; Paula Bernat Bennett ; Charles Bernstein ; Pattie Cowell ; Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ; Donald Marshall ; Marjorie Perloff ; John Shields ; Lorenzo Thomas ; Robert von Hallberg ; And Cheryl Lawson Walker.

Among the many poets discussed are: ; Amos Bronson Alcott ; Maya Angelou ; Amiri Baraka ; William Bronk ; Alice Cary ; Billy Collins ; Stephen Crane ; Countee Cullen ; James Dickey ; Emily Dickinson ; Rita Dove ; Bob Dylan ; Peter Everwine ; Robert Frost ; Sandra Gilbert ; Allen Ginsberg ; Dana Gioia ; Robinson Jeffers ; N. Scott Momaday ; And many others.

In addition, the Encyclopedia includes entries on such topics as: ; African American Slave Songs ; Agrarian School ; Asian American Poetry ; Beat Poetry ; Black Arts Movement ; Blues ; Chicano Poetry ; Digital Poetry ; Ekphrastic Poetry ; Epic ; Ethnopoetics ; Experimental Poetry and the Avant-Garde ; Feminist Poetics ; Light Verse ; Performance Poetry ; And many others.

Features: ; Includes more than 900 alphabetically arranged entries. ; Brings together the work of roughly 350 expert contributors. ; Covers American poetry from the colonial era to the present. ; Includes entries on major canonical poets. ; Highlights the work of poets who are just beginning to establish their reputations. ; Gives full attention to poets from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. ; Notes the achievements of women poets. ; Relates American poetry to its historical, social, political, and cultural contexts. ; In addition to biographical entries, the encyclopedia includes entries on poetic genres, schools, movements, terms, periods, theories, practices, and other topics. ; Includes an alphabetical list of entries. ; Lists entries grouped in topical categories. ; Entries cite works for further reading. ; Entries are fully cross-referenced. ; Provides a selected, general bibliography of broard studies of American poetry. ; Includes a detailed index.

Benefits: ; Helps students understand and appreciate the precise and creative use of language. ; Assists students in using poetry to understand social, political, and cultural issues. ; Develops an appreciation for the achievements of poets from diverse cultural groups. ; Serves as a model for student analysis and writing. ; Develops research skills by directing students to additional sources of information. ; Helps students learn to compare and contrast different poetic practices and movements. ; Teaches students terms and concepts central to the critical analysis of poetry and literature.

Because poetry is central to the curriculum and is a valuable resource for learning about language, this authoritative encyclopedia will be consulted extensively by high school students and teachers. In addition to school libraries, public libraries need to purchase this work to support student research and to meet the interests of general readers.


Booklist Editors' Choice 2006, January 1, 2005


"Over 900 essays by scholars and poets cover the major authors, influences, movements, and literary techniques in American poetry from the Colonial era to the present. Alphabetical author entries present biographical information, place the poets in historical and critical context, and discuss themes and literary techniques. Many entries include lines from significant poems for illustration....Topical essays, crafted to reflect how specific American writers apply poetic forms or fit into various genres or movements, also summarize differing critical perspectives. Many essays provide a surprising amount of detail....Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above, as well as poets and educators."—Choice, September 1, 2006

"This very scholarly and accessible reference work is the largest ever on American poetry: it expands beyond just American poets to cover the Anglophone poetry of North America and the Caribbean, thus including entries for such poets as the Canadian-born David Bromage and Edward Kaman Braithwaite of Barbados.... The main competitors for this set are Gale's 2006 Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) and Fitzroy Dearborn's 2001 Encyclopedia of American Poetry (EAP). Greenwood's title has the advantage of being the newest, but, more important, it includes many more poets--some fairly obscure--than either of the other sets....Greenwood is the most authoritative."—Library Journal, April 15, 2006

"Public libraries looking for a comprehensive resource about contemporary English language poetry and American poetry specifically need look no further."—Reference Reviews, February 1, 2007

"This comprehensive, scholarly survey of American poetry covers nearly 400 years of verse....This excellent guide is the most important reference tool since the New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics to focus on poetry, and the most substantial to ever survey American poetry. This title is highly recommended for high school, public and academic libraries."—Lawrence Looks at Books, December 1, 2006

"This encyclopedia provides a surprisingly complete collection of entries on American poetry and poets from the early colonial to the contemporary era....[i]t deserves a place in public, seminary and college libraries that have an interest in American poetry."—Christian Century, August 22, 2006

"Deeply read scholars with all kinds of specialties and general readers have, in these five volumes a feast of education that is pleasurable and rewarding. The range of conversational poets and their works is wide, but what is probably most surprising and rewarding is the inclusion of popular songs and their authors, and minstrelsy, its songs and other forms of poetry. This inclusion is certainly as it should be, for if one is going to chart the poetry of the American people one must surely include the voice poetry that nearly everyone exercises and loves. This, then, is a comprehensive charting of the routes of American poets and their works. Further, it is written in a style that is down-to-earth and pleasurable to read. The set is certainly a required reference set for every library and each individual who likes to reaffirm or get know the road of American poetry."—The Journal of American Culture, September 1, 2006

"There is no comparable encyclopedia covering American poetry....[T]he Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry provides an excellent overview for students learning about American poetry, and is recommended for libraries wishing to provide basic reference information on American poetry for high school and undergraduate students."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, September 1, 2006

"[T]his encyclopedia contains some 900 alphabetical entries temporally spanning from prior to the existence of the United States to the beginning of the 21st century. Gray and his collaborators include articles on well-know, lesser known, and emerging poets; key schools; movements; theories; practices; and poetic terms coined in America or specifically related to American poetic practice.... Each entry provides a brief guide to further reading and, at the end of the final volume, a non- annotated bibliography guides the reader towards other works, including poetry anthologies, anthologies of essays by poets on poetry, critical studies, reference works, and websites."—Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2006

"Edited by Jeffrey Grey, this five-volume encyclopedia contains more than 900 articles by close to 350 scholars. However, it is the comprehensive nature of the coverage that is most impressive....[t]here is no other set with the comprehensive, up-to-date focus on American poetry offered in these five volumes. Main and branch public libraries, as well as high school and undergraduate collections should give it serious consideration."—Against the Grain, June 1, 2006

"This monumental reference work addresses 802 authors and 117 topics. Alphabetical cross-referenced entries range from 1,000 to 5,000 words, and all are followed by lists for further reading, broken down into primary and secondary sources....The editor leads an impressive roster of contributors, many of them highly regarded scholars in their fields. Nothing quite compares to the present work--to get the breadth and depth of this encyclopedia, users would have to combine several outstanding reference works....The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry is useful for a wide readership, especially high-school and college students. Highly recommended."—Booklist, Starred Review, May 15, 2006

"Any collection strong in the topic--particularly college-level holdings--will want to include this in their reference section. It's the most comprehensive reference on American poetry in print, offering nearly a thousand alphabetically arranged entries contributed by over three hundred genre scholars."—The Midwest Book Review - California Bookwatch, April 1, 2006

"Packed into this steamer trunk of memories and mythologies is a fair amount of fine opinion and friendly introduction. Of the more than 900 alphabetically arranged articles found here, approximately one third deal with writers and movements prior to the 20th century. The rest cover 20th- and 21st-century poets and poetry movements. Profiles of individuals run from one to six pages and generally present a brief biographical sketch and critical assessment, peppered with a handful of quotes.... The set does have its rewards and sparks-one can readily imagine Walt Whitman joyously thumbing through its pages."—School Library Journal, April 1, 2006
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