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This companion to the recent publication by Oxford University Press of the Anthology of Modern American Poetry edited by Cary Nelson seeks to overcome the inherent limits to critical annotation in any printed anthology by placing such material in cyberspace, where the economic and physical limitations of paper don't apply. Designed to be under perpetual construction, the Website currently includes excerpts from interesting analyses of poems, biographical information, relevant illustrations (such as book jackets, broadsides, paintings, drawings, comics, and photographs), manuscripts, drafts of poems, bibliographies, historical background, statements on poetics, interviews, mini-essays on important issues pertinent to a given poet, book reviews, archival resources, study questions, and syllabi based around the anthology. Eventually the site intends to offer, at minimum, a biography and bibliography for every poet, but the primary materials currently on site are short exegeses of poems or historical background information on selected poems, particularly those from less well-known authors. In sum, while this Website is not as exciting as it may one day be, it already offers a far richer supplement to the anthology's poems than any critical edition could. We recommend for particular attention the short, full-length essay "No Histories but in Things: Robert Pinsky's Rhizomatic X-Rays" by Roger Gilbert, analyzing Robert Pinsky's fine poem "Shirt"; and the extensive archival material for Harry Crosby, an early 20th-century avant-garde writer and precursor to the LANGUAGE poets. The Website invites contributions of all sorts relevant to the works featured in the printed anthology (note: this Website does not contain the poems themselves). While the editorial policy was not clear to us on our visit, we assume such contributions are being solicited mainly from scholars and will be subjected to editorial review.
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