The Modern Poets' World

In 1957, James Reeves wrote an Introduction for a slim and relatively open-minded anthology of British and American modern poetry, published by Heinemann (London), The Modern Poets' World. Among the poets included are Lynette Roberts, FT Prince, George Barker, Hardy, Dickinson, Lawrence, ee cummings, Gascoyne, Heath-Stubbs, Empson, but also Frost, Eliot and Yeats. Notably, Whitman, Wallace Stevens and Hart Crane are absent, though Ransom makes it in. Lowell is not yet in - nor any of the future confessionals. Dylan Thomas is there, Hopkins and Edith Sitwell, but not WS Graham. The sense of what was modern is jostled, often pleasingly. Blunden gets a large inclusion. He has not aged well, nor has Roy Campbell. Enright is in, but not Larkin. A lot of this might be down to acquiring rights and space limitations. It is still a good and surprising collection, only 100 or so pages of poetry. His Introduction says a lot, that was then no doubt new if perennial - it sure hasn't dated yet: "To the poet, life is meaningless without poetry; he [sic] is dismayed to find that most people can live without it". Too true, brother, too true.
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