The Anthologist: Book summary and reviews of The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker

The Anthologist

by Nicholson Baker

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2009
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Baker pulls off an original and touching story, demonstrating his remarkable writing ability while putting it under a microscope." - Publishers Weekly

"The author's characteristic obsessiveness and attention to minutiae will appeal mainly to those who know and care as much about poetry as Paul." - Kirkus Reviews

The novel's subtle sense of humor comes through ...Recommended especially for readers who appreciate—or would like better to appreciate—poetry." - Library Journal

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Nicholson Baker was born in 1957 and attended the Eastman School of Music and Haverford College. He is the author of seven novels, including Vox and The Mezzanine, and three previous works of nonfiction, including Double Fold, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2001. He lives in Maine with his family.

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