Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker~★★

Author: Nicholson Baker
Title: The Anthologist
Release Date:
September 8th, 2009
Simon & Schuster
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "The Anthologist is narrated by 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 incredibly 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."

Taryn's Review: I'm not a huge fan of poetry, at least not yet in my daily life ,and there were moments I really struggled through the writing. Honestly, iambic pentameters and such are of no interest to me, but they meant a lot to Paul Chowder, the narrator of the book.

Paul was someone who would drive me crazy in real life. He's someone who almost knows too much about his passion (poetry) and tended to ramble on and on and on about the subject. Although, I did feel sad for Paul when he admitted he did't have a talent for rhyme, something that he truly loved.

I wish the book would have focused more on Paul and Roz's relationship. The author of the book really didn't take us deep into the shared life between the two, When they did interact after the breakup, they acted so formal and polite with one another. It was  rather odd, but in the same sense, it could be attributed to the fact that Paul was odd, too.

I think anyone who really loves poetry or has a desire to learn more about poetry would really enjoy this book. Poetry is really the focus of the book and Paul's life was merely a backdrop against the poetry and poets who invaded his mind. I learned a little bit, but in the end, it wasn't my kind of book.

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