There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
In an age of giant publishers who make big bucks on insta-books, the university press holds a scholarly but sacred place. And, often, an influential one, as The Wesleyan Tradition: Four Decades of American Poetry (Wesleyan University Press) demonstrates. Editor Michael Collier—the director of U.Md.’s creative writing program, the director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a poet himself—says that “no other university or commercial press list can provide as wide a view or as broad a history of contemporary American poetry.” A mighty claim, but one borne out by the anthology’s 1950s- through-’90s roster, which includes Joy Harjo, David Ignatow, and James Wright. Fans of the beat poets may be disappointed in the offerings—Wesleyan has never been “a pioneer of the avant-garde,” Collier admits—but Pulitzer Prize- winners James Tate, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Philip Levine are represented in these pages.