New Anthology Captures Postmodern American Poetry

BY Jeffrey Brown  March 15, 2013 at 2:57 PM EDT

What is postmodern poetry? That’s the question Paul Hoover poses for his introduction to the Norton Anthology’s second edition of “Postmodern American Poetry.” Hoover, the anthology’s editor, sees the answer in two parts: historical and conceptual.

“Historically, it’s the period following World War II, so it represents the rise of the United States as an international nation, a presence and also in some ways a ruling presence and questions of the United States’ position come into question in some of the poetry,” Hoover said.

Conceptually, schools of poetry moved away from a focus on nature and traditional lyric narrative. “Poetry holds the mirror up to itself and gains self-consciousness,” Hoover said. “We are in that period now.”

Hoover is a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, co-editor of the journal “New American Writing” and author of nine books of poetry and one novel. The new edition of “Postmodern American Poetry” goes on sale Monday.

I spoke with Paul Hoover about what the latest edition has to offer and he shared examples of some of the work found inside its pages.

A transcript will be posted soon.