The Anthologist – National Poetry Month for the Poetically Uninclined

The Anthologist by Nicholas Baker

April is National Poetry Month!

Paul Chowder is trying unsuccessfully to write the introduction to his new anthology of rhyming poetry. The situation is not helped by the fact that his girlfriend has left him out of frustration with his inability to buckle down and get to work writing his introduction. So, that’s the basic plot of “The Anthologist,” but not what it really is.  “The Anthologist” is basically a stream-of-consciousness (but with punctuation) love letter to poetry from someone without people skills.

Now, let me just say, I’m not totally in love with poetry, except for that written for grade schoolers. Give me Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, and Jack Prelutzky any day. 250 pages of talk about modern poetry, with discussion of rhyming versus free verse poems and iambic pentameter versus the four beat line? Wow, that sounds boring.

Except, it wasn’t.

Paul Chowder was a seriously bizarre character. I must have stopped and said, “huh?” 10 times in the first four pages.  Not to mention the fact that he couldn’t seem to tell his story without going off on strange tangents. He was, however, very interesting and well-written and I ended up enjoying the book overall.

If you want to do something for National Poetry Month, but don’t really want to read a bunch of poetry to do it, I recommend “The Anthologist” for you to feel you’re appreciating poetry without actually doing it.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound
.*
Amazon
.*

This review was done with a book borrowed from the library.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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7 comments to The Anthologist – National Poetry Month for the Poetically Uninclined

  • I just read Where the Sidewalk Ends and I think I liked even better when I wasn’t reading it with a kid in my lap. But I do miss reading Silverstein, Seuss and Prelutzky! The plot of this book definitely isn’t going to sell it–but it’s getting good reveiws. I’ll have to give it a go. Even if there are no great sketches to go along with it.

  • “I’m not totally in love with poetry, except for that written for grade schoolers.” I am so glad it’s not just me. “Poetically uninclined” is me in a nutshell, and with all the hoopla about National Poetry Month, I feel a little guilty about that during April!

    I haven’t read any Nicholson Baker since The Mezzanine, but I’ve heard good things about this one. I may have to give it a shot.

  • I’m with you! That’s why I’m reviewing a kids’ poetry book for National Poetry Month.

  • I should have thought of suggesting kids poetry for THIB! You make a good point bout liking that but not liking some of the other stuff. Though David Levithan wrote a YA poetry novel that I really enjoyed.

  • I am so with you when it comes to poetry, so I might have to give this one a go!

  • Sounds like an interesting book. I hope you’ll at least stop by some of the National Poetry Month Blog Tour stops this month. I’ve got the schedule up on my blog if you are interested. Here’s the link: http://www.savvyverseandwit.com/2010/03/welcome-to-national-poetry-month.html

  • Okay, I ended up buying this yesterday, and it’s all your fault! 😀