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.
*Auden, WH. Song of the Master and Boatswain. Musee des Beaux Arts
*Barratt Browning, Elizabeth. The sonnets
*Bishop, Elisabeth. The Fish. Filling Station
*Bogan, Louise. Solitary Observation Bought Back from a Sojourn in Hell. Roman Fountain.
Carey, Alice. Nobility
*Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Kubla Khan. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
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.
*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
*Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken
*Geisel, Ted (Dr Seuss)
*Hardy, Thomas. A Singer Asleep.
Henley, William Ernest.
*Hill, Selima. A Small Hotel.
*Houseman, AE. White in the moon the long road lies.
*Hunt, Leigh. Jenny kissed me.
*Johnson, Samuel The vanity of human wishes
*Kipling, Rudyard. The Benefactors
*Lear Edward. The Pelican chorus. The Pobble who has no toes
*Lindsay, Vachel. Factory Windows are Always Broken. The Congo
*Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Day is Done. The Arrow and the Song. Driftwood
*Loy, Mina. Songs to Johannes
*Macaulay, Thomas Babington. Lays of Ancient Rome
*Marinetti, Filippo Thommaso.
*Masefield, John. Cargoes
*Merwin, William Stanley. The Vixen. To the corner of the eye
Millay, Edna St Vincent.
*Oliver, Mary. Singapore. The Summer Day
*Parker, Dorothy. The Dark Girl’s Rhyme
*Patmore, Coventry. Magna Est Veritas
*Poe, Edgar Allen. The Raven.
*Raleigh, Walter. His Pilgrimage
Regnier, Henri de.
Ritter, Mary Louise.
*Roethke, Ted. In Evening Air. Meditation in Hydrotherapy
Rosetti, Dante Gabriel
*Scott, Sir Walter. Song of the Mermaids and Mermen.
*Shelley, Percy Bysshe. Ozymandias
*Snodgrass, William De Witt. Lobsters in the Window
*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
Warren, Robert Penn.
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.
It would be a fine anthology.