The Anthologist follows Paul Chowder - a once-in-a-while-published kind of poet who is writing the introduction to a new anthology of poetry. He's having a hard time getting started, because his career is floundering; his girlfriend, Roz, has recently left him; and he is thinking about the great poets throughout history who have suffered far worse and deserve to feel sorry for themselves. He has also promised to reveal many wonderful secrets and tips and tricks about poetry, and it looks like the introduction will be a little longer than he'd thought.
What unfolds is a wholly entertaining and beguiling love story about poetry: from Tennyson, Swinburne, and Yeats to the moderns (Roethke, Bogan, Merwin) to the staff of the New Yorker, what Paul reveals is astonishing and makes one realize how incredible important poetry is to our lives. At the same time, Paul barely manages to realize all of this himself, and the result is a tenderly romantic, hilarious, and inspired novel.
©2009 Nicholson Baker (P)2010 Tantor
“Baker pulls off an original and touching story, demonstrating his remarkable writing ability while putting it under a microscope.” (Publishers Weekly)
Alas, while there are some nuggets of good ideas, they are buried in the omphaloskepsis of a writer who finds every thought that occurs to him equally fascinating, a belief in which he is sadly mistaken. The nuggets are thus rare and, in my view, not worth the effort of waiting for them to roll around. If you ran into this guy at a party, you'd quickly find an excuse to go talk to the cat.
I can imagine that this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was mine. Really delightful. Slow pace, but involving and thoughtful.
This is quirky book, but it is fresh and engaging. At the end when the Audible host, says, "We hope you enjoyed the program," I said, "I did. I enjoyed this program very much." I won't be for everyone, but if you are looking for something new and different, try this book.
Since taking my first creative writing class in 2008 the pleasure I used to get from reading has been greatly reduced. I notice things I never noticed before. That said, I think I rate books pretty generously. Anyone who actually manages to write a whole book and then get it published deserves an extra star.
An unemployed poet explains why he can't write the introduction to an anthology of rhyming verse, much to the dismay of his now ex-girlfriend who believes this is a symptom of his much bigger problems with avoidance and denial. Wonderful insights into poetic form and context.
Fictional characters in narrative
A good deal of wordplay and some humour as guy with free time plays at using words to say something in a way that will catch attention.
This book is very confusing, takes a very long time to get going and is ,so difficult I could not finish listening to it: and I can listen to just about anything!!!
Unfortunately, the reading was so slow and tedious I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes. Maybe it's a good book, but I won't know unless I pick it up in paper form.
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