Check out the Valentine’s Day Heart Hunt!
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The anthologist by Nicholson Baker

The anthologist (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Nicholson Baker

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8645215,444 (3.84)49
Title:The anthologist
Authors:Nicholson Baker
Info:New York : Simon & Schuster, 2009.
Collections:Your library
Tags:American literature

Work details

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker (2009)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 49 mentions

English (51)  Piratical (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
3-1/2 stars really. 4 stars for the stuff on poetry & poets, 3 for the underlying story of the guy. Hard to remember this was supposed to be a novel; I ended up reading it mostly for the "non-fiction" bits, which were really good. I'll never look at scansion the same again! ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
I read several of Nicholson Baker's books many years ago, and, to be frank, I found his stream -of-consciousness style tedious, bogged down in minutiae so that it resembled the mind-workings of the self-absorbed who feel compelled to tweet, text, e-mail and blog their every thought, every sensation.
However, in THE ANTHOLOGIST, Nicholson Baker's style serves the story well.
Paul Chowder, the narrator of the story, longs for the passionate, suicidal depression of the Great Poets, but his crisis is more like a low-level "funk". Paul has writer's block and cannot finish the introduction to his anthology of poetry. Roz, his long-time girlfriend, has, in exasperation, left him, and Paul is left alone with his thoughts. Paul avoids writing the introduction. He procrastinates , pursues mindless diversions, and transparently plots to win Roz back. He feels he is a failure, but in the midst of his self-reproach and self-deprecation, Paul has Great Thoughts---Great Thoughts about poetry and music and love,Great Thoughts about the creative process and how poetry makes our lives so much richer------thoughts so beautifully expressed that this is some of the finest writing about poetry I have ever read. These thoughts scintillate and take ordinary, mundane activities into the realm of the sublime. ( )
  maryhollis | Feb 20, 2017 |
This and it's sort-of sequel, Traveling Sprinkler, are among my favorites of the last few years. ( )
  chuckpatch | Dec 29, 2016 |
Probably a reader would get more out of this if s/he were more familiar with more poetry. I mean, I know the difference between Tennyson and T.S. Eliot, and I know enough to guess that the 'plum' is an allusion to William Carlos Williams' 'this is just to say.' But I'd never heard of Louise Brogan or Elizabeth Bishop before. Nonetheless, I was charmed by this homage to poets, poetry, and procrastination.

... Horace didn't say that. "Carpe diam" doesn't mean seize the day - it means something gentler and more sensible... pluck the day. ... pick the day, harvest the day.... Don't frreaking grab the day in your fist like a burger at a fairground and take a big chomping bite out of it. That's not the kind of man that Horace was."

"This glass of water is an essay.... Dip a spoon into [it] and scoop some of it out and hold it over a hot fry pan so that a few drops fall and sizzle and quickly disappear. That's a poem."" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I loved this book. To be fair, as a co-editor of two poetry anthologies who has faced exactly the task facing poet Paul Chowder in this novel - that is, to (co-)write an an introduction to the whole shemozzle - I could scarcely be more squarely in the target audience: but even so, I easily identified with the shambling, rather hangdog narrator and enjoyed the contrast because his deep, if exasperated, knowledge of poetry and his haplessness with almost everything else. His attitude to his ex is refreshing too - rather than being bitter or angry or cynical, he just wants her back. A really fun novel that also teaches you useful stuff - what could be better? ( )
2 vote timjones | Jan 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
The Anthologist is an enjoyable novel with many shrewd and hilarious observations on poets and poetry that regretfully leaves out the most important thing about the hero.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Charles Simic (pay site) (Oct 22, 2009)
The romance is a thing of sweetness and delicacy, but the events are small, as they so often are in Baker's books. In his hands, remember, even World War II, the Greatest Generation's greatest epic, turned into a string of anecdotal pearls, most of them no longer than a paragraph. Like watching paint dry, is the dismissive phrase some might apply to his micro-narratives, which is exactly the wrong one, since I'm sure Baker could write a charming, brilliant book about paint drying if he felt like it.
Mr. Baker has written “The Anthologist” (a mild-mannered effort that could not be less like his previous book, “Human Smoke”) as if it were a rambling... monologue, a long chat emanating from the sock level of the poetry world. He slips effortlessly into the eager, friendless voice of a man who is every bit as glamorous and dynamic as his name suggests.
Nicholson Baker has written a novel about poetry that’s actually about poetry — and that is also startlingly perceptive and ardent, both as a work of fiction and as a representation of the kind of thinking that poetry readers do.
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To M.
First words
Hello, this is Paul Chowder, and I'm going to try to tell you everything I know.
What did she mean by "It doesn't have to rhyme?" Did she mean it could rhyme but it didn't have to? No. She meant _don't rhyme_. She meant: I am going to manacle your poor pliable brains with freedom. I'm going to insist that you must be free. She wrote "FREE VERSE" on the board.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"The Anthologist is narrated by Paul Chowder - a once-in-a-while-published kind of poet who is writing the introduction to a new anthology of poetry. He's having a hard time getting started because his career is floundering, his girlfriend Roz has recently left him, and he is thinking about the great poets throughout history who have suffered far worse and deserve to feel sorry for themselves. He has also promised to reveal many wonderful secrets and tips and tricks about poetry, and it looks like the introduction will be a little longer than he'd thought."."What unfolds is a wholly entertaining and beguiling love story about poetry: from Tennyson, Swinburne, and Yeats to the moderns (Roethke, Bogan, Merwin) to the staff of The New Yorker, what Paul reveals is astonishing and makes one realize how incredibly important poetry is to our lives. At the same time, Paul barely manages to realize all of this himself, and the result is a tenderly romantic, hilarious, and inspired novel."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.84)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 1
2 7
2.5 4
3 35
3.5 18
4 81
4.5 10
5 44

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 132,535,231 books! | Top bar: Always visible