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Mostly Rhymers

December 30, 2011

Poets in The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker

In Nicholson Baker’s 2009 novel, The Anthologist, a second rate poet, Paul Chowder, struggles to win back his girlfriend, and complete his anthology of rhyming poems.  Along the way, and without listing the poems in the fictional Only Rhyme, he gives us his thoughts on poetry.  Why iambic pentameter is a misnomer, on unrealised beats at the end of lines, on why enjambment hurts, unless it’s your thing. He tells us about Louise Bogan and Ted Roethke’s passionate short-lived affair, Mina Loy and Filippo Marinetti’s slightly longer one, about many poetic suicides, and Ezra Pound’s editing.  And he bangs on about rhyme – why it’s good, why we like it, but why you can have too much of it.

There is a partial list of poets from the book on Wikipaedia, and I really should have been happy with that, but for some reason I started to make a complete list and couldn’t stop.  Must get out more.

* Chowder/Baker has something definite to say.  Mentioned poems in italics.

Adams, Leonie.
Arnold, Mathew
Ashbery, John
Attridge, Derek.
*Auden, WH. Song of the Master and Boatswain.   Musee des Beaux Arts
Auslander, Joseph.
*Barratt Browning, Elizabeth. The sonnets
*Bashō, Matsuo
Bell, Marvin.
*Berryman, John.
*Behn, Aphra
*Bishop, Elisabeth. The Fish. Filling Station
*Bogan, Louise. Solitary Observation Bought Back from a Sojourn in Hell. Roman Fountain.
Bridges, Robert.
Browning, Robert.
Byrd, William
Byron, Lord
Campion, Thomas
Carey, Alice.  Nobility
Causley, Charles.
Chaucer, Geoffrey
*Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Kubla Khan. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Collins, Billy.
Cooke, Edmund Vance.  How did you die?
*Cope, Wendy.  The Aerial.
*Cummings, EE.  Buffalo Bill’s
*Daniel, Samuel.  Certaine small poems lately printed.
De la Mare, Walter.
Doolittle, Hilda.
*Dryden, John.
*Eliot, Thomas Stearns.  The Love Song of J Arthur Prufrock.  The Waste Land
*Fenton, James.   In Paris with you. I’ll Explain.  The vapour trail
Ferlingetti, Lawrence.
*Frost, Robert.   The Road Not Taken
Garrison, Deborah.
Gascoigne, George
*Geisel, Ted (Dr Seuss)
Ginsberg, Alan.
Goldsmith, Oliver
Gosse, Edmund.
Graham, Jorie
Hiatt, John
Heaney, Seamus
*Hardy, Thomas.  A Singer Asleep.
Hass, Robert
Henley, William Ernest.
Herrick, Robert
*Hill, Selima.  A Small Hotel.
Hollander, John.
*Houseman, AE.   White in the moon the long road lies.
Hughes, Ted.
*Hunt, Leigh.   Jenny kissed me.
Isherwood, Christopher.
*Johnson, Samuel   The vanity of human wishes
Jollimore, Troy.
Joyce, James.
Keats, John.
Kooser, Ted.
Kinzie, Mary.
*Kipling, Rudyard.   The Benefactors
Kunitz, Stanley.
Lanier, Sidney
*Larkin, Philip
*Lear Edward.  The Pelican chorus.  The Pobble who has no toes
Lehman, David.
Levy, Newman
Lewis, Wyndham.
*Lindsay, Vachel.   Factory Windows are Always Broken.  The Congo
*Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth.  The Day is Done.   The Arrow and the Song.  Driftwood
*Lowell, Amy.
*Loy, Mina.  Songs to Johannes
*Macaulay, Thomas Babington.   Lays of Ancient Rome
Macleish, Archibald
*Marinetti, Filippo Thommaso.
Marvell, Andrew.
*Masefield, John.   Cargoes
*Merrill, James
*Merwin, William Stanley.  The Vixen.   To the corner of the eye
*Meynell, Alice.
Millay, Edna St Vincent.
Milne, AA.
Milton, John.
Moore, Marianne.
Morley, Christopher.
Moss, Howard.
*Muldoon Paul.
Nash, Ogden.
Nemerov, Howard.
Nicholas, Christopher.
Ochester, Ed.
O’Hara, Frank
*Oliver, Mary.   Singapore.   The Summer Day
Olsen, Charles.
*Parker, Dorothy.    The Dark Girl’s Rhyme
*Patmore, Coventry.   Magna Est Veritas
Pinsky, Robert.
Plath, Sylvia.
Plumly, Stanley.
*Poe, Edgar Allen.   The Raven.
*Pound, Ezra.
*Raleigh, Walter.   His Pilgrimage
Regnier, Henri de.
Rimbaud, Arthur
Ritter, Mary Louise.
*Roethke, Ted.   In Evening Air.   Meditation in Hydrotherapy
Rohrer, Matthew.
Rosetti, Christina
Rosetti, Dante Gabriel
Rukeyser, Muriel.
Ryan, Kay
Sandburg, Carl
*Scott, Sir Walter.   Song of the Mermaids and Mermen.
*Shelley, Percy Bysshe.  Ozymandias
Shapiro, Karl.
Simic, Charles
Silverstein, Shell.
*Snodgrass, William De Witt.   Lobsters in the Window
Stafford, William.
Stevens, Wallace.
Strand, Mark
Swenson, May.
*Swinburne, Algernon Charles
*Teasdale, Sarah.   The answering voice – an anthology of love poems by women.   Blue Squills
*Tennyson, Alfred Lord.   Princess.   Break, Break, Break.   The Charge of the Light Brigade
*Transtromer, Thomas.
Updike, John.
Warren, Robert Penn.
Whitman, Walt.
Whittier, John Greenleaf.
Williams, William Carlos.
*Wordsworth, William. A slumber did my spirit seal
*Wright, James.   Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
Wyatt Thomas.   The lover showeth how he is forsaken of such as he sometime enjoyed.
Yeats, WB.

It would be a fine anthology.

Jim Thornton

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2012 9:35 pm

    Thanks for adding to the “novels” category on my 2012 reading list. Amazon target acquired!

  2. Rosemary Rosser permalink
    July 9, 2021 4:27 pm

    The audio book with the author reading is brilliant. Just looked up The Vapour Trail by James Fenton on my dog walk. Your list is great!

    • July 10, 2021 9:40 am

      Thank you. TVT is lovely isn’t it. You’ve also inspired me to re-read the list and then Hardy’s A Singer Asleep, about Swinburne’s grave on the Isle of Wight. Must make a visit!

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