The Ploughshares Poetry Reader

The Ploughshares Poetry Reader

Begun in 1971, Boston's outstanding little magazine, Ploughshares, has become one of the most important literary forums in the country. The Ploughshares Poetry Reader celebreates the best of the poetry published in Ploughshares' first eleven volumes, and reflects, given Ploughshares' unique concept of "rotating editors," the editorial commitment to many of our finest writers. 

Among the 153 poems from 104 poets selected by Joyce Peseroff are those by acknowledged masters, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, Donald Hall, Seamus Heaney, Anthony Hecht, Richard Hugo, Denise Levertov, Philip Levine, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, Kenneth Rexroth, George Starbuck, Mona Van Duyn, Richard Wilbur; those in midcareer who will be celebrated as their peers, Frank Bidart, Madeline DeFrees, Jorie Graham, Michael S. Harper, Phyllis Janowitz, Bill Knott, Maxine Kumin, Thomas Lux, Alice Mattison, Gail Mazur, Carole Oles, Linda Pastan, Robert Pinsky, Jane Short, Charles Simic, James Tate, Richard Tillinghast, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Charles Wright; and those who have not yet published a book. As Peseroff puts it, "Our aim has been to open readers' eyes with unexpected news."

The poems represent an exciting diversity in content and style, and speak in unmistakeable contemporary accents yet the preoccupations of poets are said to be changeless: love and death; parents and children; sickness and old age; imprisonment, dispossession and exile; public political passion and fear of ultimate war; memory, grief, desire, and joy; estrangement of spirit from flesh, body from mind, and God from the world; metaphorical visions of reality, as well as songs to a loved, particular place. Ultimately, of course, language is the poet's true subject, and each poetry in The Ploughshares Poetry Reader makes a different claim on it, shaping a voice through which the mute world might speak.