Small Mercies

by
May 2003, no. 251

Who’s Who in Twentieth-Century World Poetry edited by Mark Willhardt and Alan Michael Parker

Routledge, $29.95pb, 368pp

Small Mercies

by
May 2003, no. 251

In his foreword to this reference work, Andrew Motion says that such books ‘exist to provoke argument’. In their preface, editors Willhardt and Parker suggest that ‘to compile such a volume as this may seem absurd; to do so successfully may be impossible’. Forewarned is forearmed, it would seem.

Despite all this, the book is useful – about the only adjective to which a reference work should reasonably aspire. Of course, it may also seek to construct an honour roll for posterity or update the canon. Or it might simply be part of a continuing battle for ‘cultural space’. In many ways, reference works like this are the counterpart of anthologies, which are also reviewed in terms of ‘who’s in and who’s out’.

Geoff Page reviews 'Who’s Who in Twentieth-Century World Poetry' edited by Mark Willhardt and Alan Michael Parker

Who’s Who in Twentieth-Century World Poetry

edited by Mark Willhardt and Alan Michael Parker

Routledge, $29.95pb, 368pp

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