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The Open Door

One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of "Poetry" Magazine

The Open Door

One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of "Poetry" Magazine

When Harriet Monroe founded Poetry magazine in Chicago in 1912, she began with an image: the Open Door. “May the great poet we are looking for never find it shut, or half-shut, against his ample genius!” For a century, the most important and enduring poets have walked through that door—William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens in its first years, Rae Armantrout and Kay Ryan in 2011. And at the same time, Poetry continues to discover the new voices who will be read a century from now.

Poetry’s archives are incomparable, and to celebrate the magazine’s centennial, editors Don Share and Christian Wiman combed them to create a new kind of anthology, energized by the self-imposed limitation to one hundred poems. Rather than attempting to be exhaustive or definitive—or even to offer the most familiar works—they have assembled a collection of poems that, in their juxtaposition, echo across a century of poetry. Adrienne Rich appears alongside Charles Bukowski; poems by Isaac Rosenberg and Randall Jarrell on the two world wars flank a devastating Vietnam War poem by the lesser-known George Starbuck; August Kleinzahler’s “The Hereafter” precedes “Prufrock,” casting Eliot’s masterpiece in a new light. Short extracts from Poetry’s letters and criticism punctuate the verse selections, hinting at themes and threads and serving as guides, interlocutors, or dissenting voices.

The resulting volume is an anthology like no other, a celebration of idiosyncrasy and invention, a vital monument to an institution that refuses to be static, and, most of all, a book that lovers of poetry will devour, debate, and keep close at hand.

224 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2012



"If readers would like to sample the genius and diversity of American poetry in the last century, there’s no better place to start than The Open Door."

World Literature Today

"A high-wire anthology of electric resonance. . . . The editors arranged these redefining poems by poets of the pantheon and poets overlooked, underrated, or new in pairings and sequences of thrilling contrapuntal dynamics. Wiman’s opening essay is titled ’Mastery and Mystery,’ and those are, indeed, the forces at work here, inducing readers to marvel anew at the strange impulse to write poetry and the profound effort required to do it well."


"With this collection, Share and Wiman want only to promote the art of poetry, something they do exceedingly well. Highly recommended."

Library Journal, starred review

"A wonderful anthology. . . . In many ways this is a wonderfully democratic anthology—to get in, you don’t have to be famous, you just need to be good."

National Post

“ If you need to be reminded of the incomparable poems that Poetry magazine published first in its pages, read excellent poetry by an author you might not have discovered yet, or simply remember why poetry is worth loving, this is the book to turn to. You won’t be disappointed.”

Emma Goldhammer | Paris Review

“Surely, the history of American poetry is in this elegant commanding volume. All you need is this one book in the classroom to light the fire.”

Washington Independent Review of Books

Table of Contents

Mastery and Mystery: Twenty-One Ways to Read a Century
Editors’ Note

Ezra Pound   In a Station of the Metro
Kay Ryan   Sharks’ Teeth
Marie Ponsot   Anti-Romantic 
Roddy Lumsden   The Young
LeRoi Jones   Valéry as Dictator
Edwin Arlington   Robinson Eros Turannos
Ange Mlinko   It Was a Bichon Frisé’s Life . . .
Muriel Rukeyser   Song
August Kleinzahler   The Hereafter
T. S. Eliot   The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Laura Kasischke   Look
Weldon Kees   From “Eight Variations”
Robert Creeley   For Love
Mary Karr   Disgraceland
Lucille Clifton   sorrows
A. E. Stallings   On Visiting a Borrowed Country House in Arcadia
Charles Wright   Bedtime Story
Delmore Schwartz   In the Naked Bed, In Plato’s Cave
William Matthews   Mingus at the Showplace
Donald Justice   Men at Forty
Ruth Stone   Forecast
Craig Arnold   Meditation on a Grapefruit
Josephine Miles   The Hampton Institute Album
P. K. Page   My Chosen Landscape
Theodore Roethke   Florist’s Root Cellar
Wallace Stevens   Tea at the Palaz of Hoon
Basil Bunting   From Briggflatts
Louise Bogan   Night
Rodney Jack   After the Diagnosis
Margaret Atwood   Pig Song
Michael S. Harper   Blues Alabama
Isaac Rosenberg   Break of Day in the Trenches
George Starbuck   Of Late
Randall Jarrell   Protocols
Tom Disch   The Prisoners of War
Seamus Heaney   A Dog Was Crying To-Night in Wicklow Also
Hart Crane   At Melville’s Tomb
Robert Hayden   O Daedalus, Fly Away Home
Charles Bukowski   A Not So Good Night in the San Pedro of the World
Adrienne Rich   Final Notations
W. H. Auden   The Shield of Achilles
Albert Goldbarth   He Has
Alice Fulton   What I Like
Edna St. Vincent Millay   Rendezvous
Sylvia Plath   Fever 103
Lisel Mueller   In the Thriving Season
Eleanor Wilner   Magnificat
Atsuro Riley   Hutch
Thomas Sayers   Ellis Or,
Marianne Moore   No Swan So Fine
John Berryman   The Traveler
Averill Curdy   Sparrow Trapped in the Airport
H. D.   His Presence
Rae Armantrout   Transactions
Gwendolyn Brooks   The Children of the Poor
E. E. Cummings   What If a Much of a Which of a Wind
Frederick Seidel   Mu‘allaqa
Geoffrey Hill   The Peacock of Alderton
May Swenson   Green Red Brown and White
Anne Stevenson   Inheriting My Grandmother’s Nightmare
Jeanne Murray   Walker Little Blessing for My Floater
Brooklyn Copeland   Prayer’s End
Jack Spicer   “Any fool can get into an ocean . . . ”
Alan Dugan   Fabrication of Ancestors
Edward Dorn   Dark Ceiling
W. S. Merwin   Search Party
Lorine Niedecker   Three Poems
Denise Levertov   Our Bodies
James Wright   The Blessing
Robinson Jeffers   Grass on the Cliff
W. S. Di Piero   Big City Speech
Cid Corman   From “Cahoots”
Richard Wilbur   Hamlen Brook
Rita Dove   Old Folk’s Home, Jerusalem
Don Paterson   The Lie
Maxine Kumin   Nurture
William Carlos Williams   Paterson, Book V: The River of Heaven
Ted Hughes   Heatwave
Frank O’Hara   Chez Jane
Reginald Dwayne Betts   “For you: anthophilous, lover of flowers”
Rachel Wetzsteon   On Leaving the Bachelorette Brunch
Adrian Blevins   How to Cook a Wolf
A. R. Ammons   Gravelly Run
Samuel Menashe   Here
Robert Duncan   Returning to Roots of First Feeling
Langston Hughes   Blues in Stereo
James Schuyler   Korean Mums
Jacob Saenz   Sweeping the States
George Oppen   Birthplace: New Rochelle
Gary Snyder   Song of the Tangle
Belle Randall   A Child’s Garden of Gods
Isabella Gardner   The Widow’s Yard
Thom Gunn   Lines for a Book
Frank Bidart   From “The Third Hour of the Night”
William Meredith   The Illiterate
Rhina P. Espaillat   Changeling
Maria Hummel   Station
James Merrill   The Mad Scene
W. S. Graham   The Beast in the Space
William Butler Yeats   The Fisherman


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