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The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker

The Anthologist (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Nicholson Baker

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7874911,689 (3.84)49
Title:The Anthologist
Authors:Nicholson Baker
Info:Pocket Books (2010), Paperback, 308 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker (2009)



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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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 |
Like a sleepy love song laced with self-doubt, anxiety, and endless distraction, harmonized to the major poets of the last two centuries. ( )
  ternary | Feb 14, 2015 |
One of those books that seems custom-written for me. An absolute delight, and I had NO IDEA it was about poetry when I picked it up. ( )
  redrabbit | Nov 25, 2014 |
Too much poetry, too didactic, and not enough story for my taste, but nonetheless it has encouraged me to look for more of Baker’s work. It’s about a man who thinks he’s a failure, but he finds in the end that he’s not. Well, not completely, anyway. That’s way too optimistic for me! A little romantic as well.That's not good.
What is good is the personality of the main character. I liked him, and Baker is good at revealing what the person is like. ( )
  oldblack | Sep 18, 2014 |
A book I would recommend to anyone interested in poetry, and a book that has me thinking more and more about formalist poetry. I’ve gone back and revisited a lot of poets’ work while making my way through The Anthologist: it is part of the joy in reading a book like this. It’s a book about poetry, but the one issue I take with it is that it’s supposedly a novel: as far as plot and the narrator’s ongoing quest to write the introduction for an anthology of rhymed verse he’s collected, The Anthologist is a mess. On the other hand, it’s filled with poetic tidbits: the history of rhyme; the debates about iambic pentameter; poetic quarrels; the lives and work of many poets and their intersecting paths. It was a pleasure to read solely for these poetic meanderings, lessons in scansion and rhythm, the account of Bogan’s affair with Roethke, and how poetry is an inescapable and necessary part of our daily lives. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (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.
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Hello, this is Paul Chowder, and I'm going to try to tell you everything I know.
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"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)

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