The Anthologist, is narrated by Paul Chowder, a poet of some little rek who is sitting in his barn most of the time trying to write the introduction to a new anthology of poetry called Only Rhyme. He’s having a hard time getting started because his career is falling apart, his girlfriend Roz has recently left him, and he is thinking about the poets throughout history who have suffered far worse and actually deserve to feel sorry for themselves. He has also promised his readers that he will 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, among other things; Paul tells us about all of the great poets, from Tennyson, Swinburne, and Yeats to the moderns (Roethke, Bogan, Merwin) to the contemporary scene as well as the editorial staff of The New Yorker’s editorial department. And what he reveals about the rhythm and music of poetry itself is astonishing and makes you realize how incredibly important poetry is to our lives. At the same time, Paul manages just barely to realize all of this himself and what results is a tender, wonderfully romantic, often hilarious, and inspired novel.
My Rating: 4/5*
So this isn’t really something I would normally read but alas, the joys of studying English at university landed this book on my lap.
Given this was not your usual fiction/story type book, I really enjoyed this. The Anthologist is about a poet’s trouble to actually write poetry. It’s entertaining for its humour and definitely a book writers can connect with. I think anybody going through something similar would definitely enjoy the story. It’s quite useful in terms of advice but I think what really drew me into this book was how the author was able to make not writing seem a part of the writing process. It’s okay to stop; it’s okay to struggle- you’re never going to be the best writer of poetry or prose 24/7. Something will happen that will knock you down. But you will get up eventually.
This book was really almost like talking to a friend. The way it’s written is great; funny and has advice on how to write poetry which was actually useful!. I can’t really fault the author or book anywhere. Definitely something for any writer out there to read!