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Four Virginia poets laureate (2004-2012) :…
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Four Virginia poets laureate (2004-2012) : an anthology & reader's guide

by Sofia M. Starnes

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The four poets featured in this book with their terms as Virginia poet laureate are Rita Dove (2004-2006), Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda (2006-2008), Claudia Emerson (2008-2010) and Kelly Cherry (2010-2012). The editor is Sofia M. Starnes, the current 2012-2014 poet laureate.

For each poet the following is provided: a brief biographical sketch, 8 or 9 poems by the poet with questions to consider on the page facing the poem, followed by an essay about the poet’s work.

This book was a big disappointment to me. In my opinion, it is very poorly organized; too many people were involved with the book, and did not appear to know what else was contained in it. The questions to consider about the poem were probably college level discussion questions; they did not appear to be aimed at a general reader. Terms an English major would probably be familiar with were used without any glossary. In other cases, a common term was used without defining it as used in the book, for example in several of the questions, the word “verse” appeared for the poems which were not written in stanzas; I did not know how to find the verse to which the questioner was referring.

The source of the poem was not given with it; the reader needed to look at the Acknowledgments at the end of the book to find where they were originally printed. This is particularly unfortunate considering the essays appearing following the poems. Specific collections and poems were referred to, and often these poems did not appear in this anthology. This is particularly true of the essay about Kelly Cherry’s work; it discussed her love poetry, none of which was in the main text (although the commentator did quote the poems or passages of them).

Only for readers with a good knowledge of poetry. ( )
  sallylou61 | Jan 21, 2014 |
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