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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

“Baker pulls off an original and touching story, demonstrating his remarkable writing ability while putting it under a microscope.” (Publishers Weekly)

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Because I Read Traveling Sprinkler First...

this felt like a prequel, but it is still wonderful stuff. I pity the people who gave this negative reviews: to be so tragically far from the ordinary and everyday and the minuscule that they cannot see the aching beauty in every atom of thought and breath and table cloth.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Ramblings of a narcissist

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.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Barbara
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • 12-12-14

Wonderful Insights into Poetry and Poetic Form

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • MG
  • Albuquerque, NM, United States
  • 06-04-10

I enjoyed this book and the author's narration

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.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

quirky but wonderful

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Take an interest in why someone seeks to be poetic

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.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Teresa
  • Dillsboro, NC, USA
  • 04-19-10

Too Introspective

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!!!

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Deleted it after about 10 minutes

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.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful